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Murder with Peacocks (Meg Langslow Mysteries) Mass Market Paperback – 1 Jan 2000


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Product details

  • Mass Market Paperback: 311 pages
  • Publisher: St. Martin's Press (Jan 2000)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0312970633
  • ISBN-13: 978-0312970635
  • Product Dimensions: 2.1 x 10.7 x 17.4 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (4 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 883,602 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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9 of 9 people found the following review helpful By Mark Baker TOP 500 REVIEWER on 21 Jan 2003
Format: Hardcover
Meg Langslow has agreed to be the maid of honor at three separate weddings. All three of the brides place the planning in her capable hands, leaving her running around trying to make sure all three weddings go smoothly. Which isn't easy when one wants a theme wedding but won't decide on dresses, and another wants peacocks. Then, an out-of-town visitor turns up dead under mysterious circumstances. Meg's father is convinced it's murder and drags her into his investigation. Soon, mysterious accidents convince Meg that her dad is right. But can she find the murderer before anyone else dies and still make sure the weddings go as planned?
This is a fun book. It's filled with eccentric characters that make it a pleasure to read. I often found myself chuckling or laughing at their behavior. However, as a mystery it leaves a little to be desired since solving the murder often takes a back seat to the antics of the brides and Meg trying to deal with them. Still, I found the book a pleasure to read. The characters come off as believable and not caricatures. The romantic sub-plot with Michael is amusing because we as the reader know what's going on, even if Meg has no clue. By the end of the book, the mystery has been solved and all the plots tied up, leaving me anxious for more.
An interesting note is that instead of chapters, the author breaks the action down by day. It makes for rather uneven breaks in the narrative, but it's also easier to keep track of the passing time since the plot takes place over two months.
In lesser hands, this book would have fallen flat, but in her debut, Donna Andrews proves what a superb writer she is. I'm looking forward to reading the next book in the Meg Langslow series.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Graceann Macleod on 13 April 2009
Format: Mass Market Paperback
I found this light, funny novel to be such a treat. Meg is helping three brides put together their weddings (and, much like many Maids of Honor, getting no appreciation whatsoever for doing so), when things start to go horribly wrong in her sleepy little Southern town. As she, her father and her new friend Michael (delightful characters in their own right) get closer to answers regarding a mysterious death, they also become targets.

Laugh-out-loud funny in the style of Janet Evanovich, Mary Kay Andrews and Jane Heller, with a bit of romance, a wacky family and a nifty little mystery, this story kept me turning the pages and, I am delighted to say, guessing as to the identity of the murderer. That's a rarity, and a pleasant surprise.

I only reduced it from five stars to four because of some repetition in the writing style. A little tighter editing would have been welcome, and I feel confident that the style will get smoother as Donna Andrews gains experience at her craft.
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By Clare O'Beara TOP 1000 REVIEWER on 19 Jun 2012
Format: Mass Market Paperback
First of a mystery series with birds in the titles, and a wicked sense of humour. Meg Langslow is a blacksmith with a family - and cousins, uncles and friends galore - who drive her crazy, but she's used to them, by now. In this tale she has agreed to be maid of honour for three different weddings so she has a huge amount of organising to do, including providing peacocks, and she doesn't have time to focus on the new handsome young man in town, Michael. Other girls assure her Michael must be gay because he wasn't interested when they flirted, showing, I thought, his uncommonly good sense. By the end of course it turns out Meg was the only one whom Michael fancied.
Meanwhile we've had a dead body in the sea, an electrocution, several poisonings, a bomb.... Several wedding guests are now turning up each introducing a 'cousin' who is a beefy man in a suit with a bulge under the armpit and suspicious eyes, as one would.
Meg's father, a doctor, is delighted to apply his knowledge to each case and checks tide tables, rows around the coast and has Meg tossing heavy bags over cliffs to see how far a body could have drifted. He lectures the sheriff who of course is invited to some of the weddings and turns up with food. Meg's autocratic mother is one of the brides and her ex-husband is generously applying himself to making her wedding day perfect, in between investigating how foxglove extract got into the food. Confused? You haven't met Cousin Horace in the gorilla suit yet.
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Format: Mass Market Paperback
This is the sort of comfortable mystery which doesn't make many demands on the reader: the murder victim is sufficiently unknown and unlikeable that the death isn't distressing; the plot unfolds gently without any dramatic turns; and the solution, while not obvious, is easy enough to work out, even for someone like myself who doesn't read many mysteries. However, just because it was uncomplicated does not mean it was a bad read, and I thoroughly enjoyed the relaxation of reading this book.

Because the weddings serve as the backdrop for this novel rather than its raison d'etre, I found that it avoided the usual trap of losing plot and characters beneath enormous white dresses. The story, while simple, was good fun and the characters were well-drawn and enjoyable. Narrator Meg Langslow's array of eccentric family and neighbours added a levity and humour to the standard mystery plot. I was continually amused and how unfazed these residents of small-town Virginia are by the initial murder and continuing attempts on the lives of and her family and friends. Her father is positively delighted at the chance for some amateur sleuthing, Meg's mother seems oblivious, and Meg herself is more concerned with organising three increasingly demanding weddings.

In Meg herself, Donna Andrews has created a character with a very pleasant narrative voice. She is wry and intelligent and her observations made me chuckle on numerous occasions. Unlike the heroines of many chick lit books, she manages to be single without being either bitter or desperate. She is exasperated by the various brides' indecisions, demands and dithering without being scathing or dismissive, and the same is true of her attitude towards her family. It makes a welcome change to read a book narrated by someone who is mocking and funny without being sarcastic and unkind.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)

Amazon.com: 132 reviews
38 of 41 people found the following review helpful
If Weddings were Wishes 29 May 2002
By Marc Ruby™ - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Mass Market Paperback Verified Purchase
I am not a frequent reader of the 'cozy' mystery genre. Not that I haven't enjoyed them over the years, but I normally go for a suspense story, with a dash of horror and a cup or two of pure detection. So notwithstanding the large number of Lilian Braun's and Elizabeth Peter's in my library, I tend to heavier fare. Inevitably, though, one needs a bit of light relief, based on several reviews and recommendations I decided to try Donna Andrews. Equally unusual for me, I began with the first in the series, not the last.
'Murder with Peacocks' introduces a new 'investigator,' Meg Langslow. No Miss Marple is Meg, she a young craftswoman specializing in ironmongery. In short, she is a blacksmith. Meg has returned home for a short time period to play wedding coordinator for three ceremonies, her best friend Eileen's, her brother Rob's, and her mother's. These are due to take place in Yorktown, a small town in Virginia, which seems to be occupied primarily by Meg's eccentric relatives, or by those who are shortly to become her relatives. All three brides seem determined to dump the work on Meg. It speaks a great deal for her temperament that it is not she who commits murder.
The victim, when she finally arrives is the extremely unpleasant sister-in-law of Jake, Meg's future stepfather. In the short time we get to know her, she manages to offend most of the Langslow brood, browbeat Jake, and terrorize the local children. It is not really a surprise when she shows up dead. It is a surprise though when Meg's father takes an interest in the case and suddenly is narrowly escaping being blown up and poisoned. Meg's own interest is piqued when she also faces several attempts on her life. The Langslow's eccentricity keeps saving their lives, but it us a near thing, and there are innocent bystanders to consider.
Into this already heady mix come Duck, an avian with a taste for devilled eggs, a flock of peacocks who step in as the alarm system, and the incredibly handsome Michael Waterston, a university professor who is taking care of his mother's dressmaking business while she is getting a facelift. Michael is the romantic interest, for Meg any, and is one of those rare people who has both looks and smarts. And, lest we forget, there's Samantha, the potential sister-in-law from hell.
This is a true comic mystery, where even the victims are a cause for hysteric. Andrews manages the difficult task of being delightful and grim, and manages to keep this confection of a plot spinning in the air right up to the end. This kind of material is tough to write, since it is always in danger of interminable cuteness. Meg has won me over, and I will be keeping a lookout for the rest of the series.
12 of 12 people found the following review helpful
Light on the Mystery, Heavy on the Fun 4 Jan 2002
By Mark Baker - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Mass Market Paperback
Meg Langslow has agreed to be the maid of honor at three separate weddings. All three of the brides place the planning in her capable hands, leaving her running around trying to make sure all three weddings go smoothly. Which isn't easy when one wants a theme wedding but won't decide on dresses, and another wants peacocks. Then, an out-of-town visitor turns up dead under mysterious circumstances. Meg's father is convinced it's murder and drags her into his investigation. Soon, mysterious accidents convince Meg that her dad is right. But can she find the murderer before anyone else dies and still make sure the weddings go as planned?
This is a fun book. It's filled with eccentric characters that make it a pleasure to read. I often found myself chuckling or laughing at their behavior. However, as a mystery it leaves a little to be desired since solving the murder often takes a back seat to the antics of the brides and Meg trying to deal with them. Still, I found the book a pleasure to read. The characters come off as believable and not caricatures. The romantic sub-plot with Michael is amusing because we as the reader know what's going on, even if Meg has no clue. By the end of the book, the mystery has been solved and all the plots tied up, leaving me anxious for more.
An interesting note is that instead of chapters, the author breaks the action down by day. It makes for rather uneven breaks in the narrative, but it's also easier to keep track of the passing time since the plot takes place over two months.
In lesser hands, this book would have fallen flat, but in her debut, Donna Andrews proves what a superb writer she is. I'm looking forward to reading the next book in the Meg Langslow series.
21 of 25 people found the following review helpful
Really Funny! 10 Aug 1999
By A Customer - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Hardcover
Move over, Janet Evanovich and Jennifer Crusie! Here comes another terrific author who writes hilarious mysteries! MURDER WITH PEACOCKS is a great read - very funny and very entertaining! The main character is Meg, a bridesmaid in three weddings this summer. Then a murder occurs. In between writing invitations, booking peacocks and other sundry bridesmaid duties, she attempts to solve the mystery.Add other fun characters, hilarious situations and a dropdeadgorgeous leading man (who I imagined to look like Greg Montgomery from Dharma and Greg), and you will have finished this book in no time! Bravo, newcomer Donna Andrews! Write some more - you're GOOOOOD!!
14 of 16 people found the following review helpful
A comedy of manners with peacocks(brides)- and a mystery 5 July 1999
By A Customer - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Hardcover
A delightful heroine, Meg, overworked, has amazing energy to organize three weddings for difficult brides-to-be, one of whom is her mother. In spite of a murder here and there and near-fatal ``accidents," Meg tries to organize everything from fittings for gowns to addressing hundreds of invitations and even ``renting`` peacocks for her brother's wedding. In between her hectuc schedule, she tries to solve the murders as well, all the while hampered by demanding brides-to-be, relatives, an eccentric father and fatuous mother, and a host of zany characters.
A fun book to read, as a mystery, and as a comedy and good natured farce on weddings, their rituals, and the entanglements of a small town where almost everyone is related.. Even the animals are fun... Duck, the Dog Spike, and of course, the peacocks.
The unraveling of the mystery leaves some questions unanswered, but it's fun getting all the way to the end.
7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
Very entertaining, not very challenging 24 Jan 2001
By jen-marie - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Hardcover
I'll just start out by saying that I really liked this book. If you've ever had friends that got really hyper about their weddings, and/or if you've ever promised to do something and then regretted it, but stuck with it anyway, you'll probably identify with the main character of the book. If you like stories with basically happy endings, go for it. I found a lot of the characters likeable, and even the ones that weren't, at least reminded me (albeit in an exaggerated fashion) of people I have known.
On the other hand, there is not really a lot of psychological tension. Also, if you like books that have a lot of people swearing and grisly descriptions of corpses, this is not the book for you.
The plot is not particularly intricate, but the writing is good and the characters are engaging. Also, unlike some books I've read recently, the method of solving the crime depended on people actually figuring out what happened, rather than having the solution accidentally fall in their laps.
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