The Good, the Bad, and the Emus: A Meg Langslow Mystery (Meg Langslow Mysteries)
“This volume, like its predecessors, can be read for sheer joy of the prose. Andrews’s smooth and erudite style, realistic snappy dialogue, and subtle humor create an intriguing and entertaining romp independent of the mystery.”
When a new volume of a favorite series comes out, it’s like getting together with an old friend and catching up on his or her adventures.
This holds true for The Good, the Bad, and The Emus, book 17 of Meg Langslow’s amateur-sleuth adventures in Caerphilly, Virginia. As in previous volumes, Meg is struggling to continue her work as a blacksmith while raising twin sons and managing her large, lively, and eccentric family—only to be pulled into solving a crime that’s somehow associated with her clan or community. Or both.
This time the victim is Meg’s missing grandmother. In a previous volume Meg found a missing grandfather, and in this book he is searching for his lost love, Cordelia, for whom Meg is a near clone.
Problem is, Cordelia is already dead—murdered, or so her recluse cousin and housemate Annabel believes, by their dastardly next-door neighbor. The police believe otherwise, since the evidence points to a sorry accident.
Until somebody murders the neighbor as well, and the plot thickens.
Meg and her grandfather agree to help Annabel find the truth about Cordelia’s demise under the cover of an emu roundup. It happens that Annabel and Cordelia’s home backs up to property that once was a wildlife sanctuary (and previously owned by Cordelia’s family), from which the emus escaped when the place closed down. The birds are now running loose through the township.
Meg’s grandfather is a wildlife-cause celebrity so he arranges for his followers to round up the birds and ship them to another sanctuary. The strange and nutty gathering both covers the investigation and supplies a plethora of suspects for Meg to choose from, since one of them tries to poison her grandfather.
Sixteen similar escapades have made Meg phlegmatic about people’s antics, so she takes them at face value and always manages to look between the distractions for facts and get the job done. She takes rational absurdity so evenly in stride that it’s easy for the reader to accept it as normal. By the time the story gets to the emu chase in the middle of a horse vs. motorcycle jousting match, everything makes sense.
Andrews has a gift for working a mystery into the antics of an oddball circus, writing with a kind and smiling attitude toward weirdness. This distracts readers just enough from the murder plot to allow surprise developments and endings. In this case, astute readers might anticipate the plot twist near the ending, but anyone caught up in the mayhem might miss the clues. The murderer, however, is pretty obvious from early in the book.
Doesn’t matter. This volume, like its predecessors, can be read for sheer joy of the prose. Andrews’s smooth and erudite style, realistic snappy dialogue, and subtle humor create an intriguing and entertaining romp independent of the mystery.