Monday, September 28, 2015

This week's book review

I've read a bunch of books this month, so rather than trying to pick a favorite, I'm going with the last adult book I read*, Lord of the Wings, by Donna Andrews.

It's one of a long series of madcap village mysteries featuring Meg Langslow, whose family well needs a series to keep track of all their adventures. I enjoyed it very much. It takes place during a long (long!) Hallowe'en weekend which is celebrated in her beloved town of Caerphilly, VA by competing views of the holiday: the wealthier inhabitants, and many upscale or prudish business owners would prefer it to be marked by "tasteful" autumn decorations and good behavior by all. They're a minority.

Everyone else goes full-scale nutso for Hallowe'en and really, this is one of those fictional "villages" that surprisingly support a lot of stuff that attracts tourists from all over the region: a haunted mansion, a giant farmer's market, a fair complete with games of skill, crazy rides, scary clowns, and a year-round, professional-level ZOO, for crying out loud. Families host kids's Hallowe'en parties. The village also boasts a retired world-class rock'n'roll heavy metal drummer who's looking to benefit the community, and a local-history museum that includes (unbeknownst to anyone) one item worth a quarter of a million dollars, and other things that may or may not have triggered a murder spree. Or, that may be due to the nefarious unknown person behind a scavenger hunt that seems bent on ruining the fun in the most grotesque ways.

Ms. Andrews does a very good job of keeping her heroine's life realistic: she's got a college prof husband and three (I think; maybe two) lively sons, and the sons' grandparents who lend color and excitement all of their very own. Her brother is the CEO of an extremely successful computer games company that figures largely in the sleuthing. All of these people each have their own interests and schedules and Meg is shown to have to do the kind of time-juggling that any busy working mom has to do. (Though her role here is as a volunteer working with the group who coordinate all the festivities.)

If the police procedures and the criminals' goings-on aren't, maybe, the most realistic, this is definitely a good romp for when you're in the mood for a "zany" mystery. I'm going to go back to the beginning of the series and read them all. I gave it a 4 in my reading log, meaning it's very good even though I may not read it again.

*(I'm re-reading a couple of my favorites from grade school, from The Weekly Reader Book Club now)

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