Monday, December 20, 2010

Murder with Puffins by Donna Andrews

I've got a cold and last night I couldn't sleep, so I just grabbed the fluffiest, brainless-est book on my to-be-read shelves and read it. Murder with Puffins was a good choice. I read the first book in this series about six weeks ago but I wasn't sure the sequel would be any good, but it was a lot of fun.

The book takes place several weeks after the events in the first book, Murder with Peacocks. It's September, but Meg Langslow--who took the summer off to coordinate three weddings--hasn't yet gone back to her work as a decorative ironworker. Her relationship with her new boyfriend, Michael, has progressed to the point where they want more private time together than they can get with Meg's family around. Meg decides to take advantage of an aunt's standing invitation to use her cabin on a tiny island off the coast of Maine--but when she and Michael arrive at the cabin, they discover it's already full. Of her family. And storms prevent them from leaving again. That's not so bad until a body turns up, and all the evidence seems to implicate Meg's father as the murderer.

Meg is concerned about her father, but she's also worries about her mother's reputation when some strange allegations surface about her mother's childhood summers spent on the island. And she's worried too about her growing relationship with Michael, since their romantic getaway is anything but romantic.

I wasn't all that thrilled that the setting was so different from the first book, but it works. The fun in these mysteries comes from the eccentric characters (which Donna Andrews does very well, without getting corny or stupid) more than the mystery itself. The mystery was interesting, but I never felt that final jolt of "aha! Of course" when the murderer was revealed. It just wasn't the center of the book. Still, the story is fun and often very funny.

B&N link

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