"The person, be it gentleman or lady, who has not pleasure in a good novel, must be intolerably stupid." — Jane Austen, Northanger Abbey

Thursday, March 17, 2011

Stork Raving Mad by Donna Andrews

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Summary: Just before her due date with twins, Meg must solve the mystery of a murdered dean since her house is the crime scene.

I've read mysteries where caterers, dry cleaners, realtors, teachers, stay-at-home moms, librarians, reporters and private detectives solve mysteries. But this was my first with an eight-and-a-half pregnant woman solving a mystery. I simply loved the title, too. To make it even rarer, Meg Langslow Waterston is also a blacksmith. Wha, what? Not only pregnant, but a blacksmith, too? This is part of a series, but my first time experiencing this author and her characters.

At 38 weeks pregnant with twins, Meg takes the arrival of notorious avant-garde Spanish playwright Señor Mendoza in stride. What's one more guest in a house overflowing with displaced drama students, her eccentric cousin Rose Noire, her wealthy grandfather and frequent visits from her physician father and busy-body mother? The two academic deans who appear in her front door not only will be the ones to decide her husband's tenure, but they are threatening to cancel the performance of Señor Mendoza's play, which is the dissertation of one of her husband's students.

When Jean Wright, the academic dean and malicious head of the department, is found murdered in Meg's library, Meg is determined to solve the mystery, if only to be able to come home to a police-free house after the birth of her twins. The entire book, including the solving of the case, takes place in one day.

It's almost a locked-room mystery, and the murderer wasn't who I suspected. I am new to this series, and found the flood of characters almost overwhelming. Context helped a bit in determining exactly who was who, but I felt like the people overshadowed a decent-but-not-great mystery. I would read the next in this series by Donna Andrews, but won't go back and read past books.

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