Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Murder with Peacocks by Donna Andrews

I picked up Murder with Peacocks at a used book store. It was published in 1999 but it's held up well (although I kept wondering why main character Meg had to wait around the house for phone calls instead of just carrying her cell).

Meg Langslow is maid of honor for three upcoming weddings--her best friend's, her brother's, and her mother's remarriage--and as if that weren't enough, she's also promised to coordinate the weddings. That means spending the summer in her old hometown while fielding the brides' increasingly maddening ideas (peacocks!) and fending off well-meaning relatives' attempts to play matchmaker. All goes reasonably well until an unpleasant guest shows up and starts making nasty accusations. When the guest turns up dead, Meg has something else to add to her long to-do list: find the murderer.

The book is fun and often extremely funny. The mystery tends to take backseat to the craziness surrounding the weddings, but there are plenty of clues, danger, and murders too. The writing is solid and the plot devious, and the murderer came as a surprise to me. I liked that the eccentricities of Meg's large extended family were treated with a sort of matter-of-fact wit; quirky characters aren't easy to do well, but Andrews does a good job with most of them. Meg herself might have come across as drab in comparison, but her saving grace is that she's a blacksmith by trade. It doesn't come up in this book except in passing, but I'm hoping there'll be more about her occupation in sequels.

This is probably the perfect beach read, incidentally. Not only is it funny, fluffy, mildly romantic, and action-packed, it's actually quite long for a mystery. And it's reminded me just how much I enjoy a good mystery.

B&N link

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