"The Real Macaw" by Donna Andrews: Book Review

"The Real Macaw" by Donna Andrews
Minotaur/Thomas Dunne, 309 pp., $24.99
Reviewed by David Marshall James

All heck's busting loose in Meg Langslow's house, barn, and outbuildings.

Then, there's the llama pasture. The llamas are so mad they could spit.

And it ain't stoppin' there. Pretty soon, the heck's spreading throughout Caerphilly County, Virginia.

Government. Budgeting. Sound familiar?

Yet, it's Meg's Grandfather, Father, and brother Rob to the rescue, along with a group determined to save the occupants of the local animal shelter (furry, feathered, great, and small) before the poor creatures are put down for the sake of fiscal convenience.

Meg's barn may not be The Ark, but it'll float as a temp zoo.

However, the underfunded animal shelter is but the tip of Caerphilly's iceberg. The mayor of the county seat, the county manager, and two rival families in the county are pulling fiercely in a dire financial tug-of-war.

So dire, indeed, that one of the animal rescuers is found shot in the front seat of his truck's cab, parked behind his furniture store.

As the deceased was a much-discussed lothario, the murder is at first thought to be the result of romance gone afoul.

Or, did the unfortunate fellow find out too much about the mismanagement of county public-works funds?

Meg, usually rip-roarin' and rarin' to gallop into the midst of a mystery (be it novel or real), is now saddled with twin boys.

Her husband Michael, an almost-tenured professor of drama at Caerphilly College (as if his wife's life weren't drama aplenty), may be a dream spouse in the helping-out department, but those two babies have appetites that only Meg can address.

Memo to Meg: Darned good thing that your cousin Rose Noire likes to make piles of sandwiches, as those boys' appetites aren't going anywhere, anytime soon.

This thirteenth Meg Langslow mystery is well-designed to accommodate the new mother, with much of the action advancing and enhancing the mystery plot. Humorous characters (notably Rose Noire and Meg's Mother), incidents, and dialogue abound.

To be sure, of the past five MLM's (Meg Langslow Mysteries), this one rates as PBT (Probably The Best).

PS: Love the PTC (People Taking Charge) theme.

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