Meg Langslow has a problem—well, actually, several problems. She wants to get decades of accumulated junk cleaned out of the dilapidated mansion she bought with her boyfriend Michael. She wants to help Michael get tenure at the local college where all the faculty politics seem to be working against him. And she wants to stop her mother from taking over her life.
The answer to the first problem is, of course, a yard sale! However, things quickly get out of hand as her assortment of peculiar relatives want to chip in and add their junk. It does not help matters when on the day of this 30-family-plus yard sale, a very unpopular local book dealer turns up dead in the barn, his head bashed in by one of a set of owl book ends.
But Meg is no stranger to chaos, and she handles the whole mess with admirable calm. The police are not going to allow her to get on with the yard sale until the murder is solved, so why not solve it herself?
Anyone who has ever hosted a yard sale will chuckle over Andrews’ spot-on descriptions of overeager buyers showing up at dawn, haggling to reduce the price of a $1.00 china plate to $.50, and squirreling their “maybes” aside in hopes of taking advantage of the late-in-the-day price slash. Add the shenanigans of Meg’s dad’s owl preservation group dressed up as owls and singing “Owl Be There” on the front porch, and you have a small taste of what the ever-resourceful Meg is up against.
The connection with owls (a pair of which is nesting in the barn) seems a bit contrived, but who cares? This is a delightfully clever, satisfying, and funny little mystery where “owl” really does end well. Though this is the sixth in the series of Meg Langslow mysteries and my first, I felt right at home with Meg, Michael, the various Langslow relations, and the small town of Caerphilly. And since Donna Andrews has an apparently inexhaustible supply of bird puns, next I can read We’ll Always Have Parrots!
Meet the Mystery Writers! Authors Donna Andrews, Jane Cleland, and Frankie Y. Bailey, are on tour visiting North Regional Library on Monday, November 18, 2013 at 2:30 p.m. Mystery maven and local blogger Molly Weston will facilitate the panel discussion and audience Q&A. Registration requested.