Peacocks and weddings and some not-so-cold crime…
The Meg Langslow series is one of a very few series that I have to read by myself, because I end up unexpectedly laughing out loud at least a couple of times in every book – and often more than a couple! And in Round Up the Usual Peacocks, author Donna Andrews does, as usual, a wonderful job of weaving together Meg’s offbeat family and friends, their odd assortment of jobs and hobbies, and their even odder collection of animals – including the titular peacocks (who happen to be cranky because they are molting), multiple llamas (also cranky from time to time), several chickens (who knows if they are cranky, but they sure can sound like it)…well, you get the idea. And she also manages to work in a murder mystery – or actually, three murder mysteries – along the way.
As I mentioned in my review of the previous book in the series, Meg’s role in all this drama is as the “sane one”, and in Round Up, she’s sane enough to want to avoid getting roped into the ever-expanding preparations for her brother’s fast approaching wedding. Luckily, her nephew, Kevin, and his friend, Casey, give her an excuse when they confide their fears that the weekly podcast of unsolved cold cases they have been producing may have revived a case that’s not cold at all – and, in fact, may still be pretty hot. Or at least that’s their suspicion when someone tries to run over Casey at 2 am one morning on an otherwise deserted street. Complete with making a U-turn in the middle of the street for a second try when the first try wasn’t successful. (Minor spoiler: the second try fails too…) But the Caerphilly Chief of Police doesn’t seem to be taking the hit-and-run attempt very seriously, so Meg starts checking out the most likely of Kevin and Casey’s cases – thereby avoiding most (but not all) of her wedding related tasks.
Sometimes by the time a series hits its thirty-first title, it can be hard to keep things feeling fresh and entertaining, but Andrews pulls it off, even while she gives a nod back to the very first book in the series, Murder with Peacocks, which also had more than a few peafowl and weddings for Meg to deal with. (Note, however, that you don’t need to have read the previous books in the series to enjoy this one…) All-in-all, Round Up the Usual Peacocks is just a lot of fun, and I am very much looking forward to the next book in the series. And my thanks to the publisher, Minotaur Books, and to NetGalley for the review copy.