"Some Like It Hawk" by Donna Andrews
Reviewed by David Marshall James
When in the course of human events ... a Jeffersonially bucolic Virginia county, complete with Colonial-era courthouse (updated and added on to through the years), must do battle with the Evil Lender that threatens to claim residents' prime properties and convert them into a golf-course resort.
Let the Revolution begin! Again!
Well, if the mayor of Caerphilly, Virginia, hadn't absconded with that borrowed money, the town and county probably wouldn't be up in arms.
The gentlefolk are making the most of it, though, selling crafts and concessions in the town square, and supplying round-the-clock entertainment in the grandstand, the better to accommodate the influx of tourists who have come to gaze and gawk at the besieged town.
However, the county clerk has been squatting on (well, amidst) all the records in the courthouse basement, able to hold out with provisions transported via a tunnel that opens in the crawlspace under the grandstand.
The tunnel has remained a well-kept secret among the county revolutionaries, including Meg Langslow, her husband Michael, and Meg's vast cousinage. Meg and Michael reside in a house on acreage ripe for the picking by the Evil Lender.
The plot comes to a boil a few days prior to July Fourth, when one of the Evil Lender's reps is gunned down in the courthouse, and the county clerk is set up as the perp by the real murderer.
All the more reason for the clerk to remain holed up. He's in a nasty mood anyway, seeing as how the Evil Lender's courthouse guards have brought in a hawk to consume his pet pigeons. Yes, a mild-mannered clerk cooed become quite upset over that.
Virginia author Donna Andrews rounds up her usual Langslowian cast of thousands-- well, dozens-- for this fun, folksy yarn with a grassroots patriotic appeal and a town-square festival feeling.
The mystery doesn't overtax the reader, yet Andrews's sense of dramatic construction allows for a generous sampling of entertaining scenes and escapades.
It comes as no surprise that Meg's husband teaches in the Caerphilly College theater department, and that Andrews employs the well-stamped-theatrical-trunk premise of a gorilla suit so effectively.
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