Fun Christmas mystery story

The Gift of the Magpie: A Meg Langslow Mystery

By: Donna Andrews

Rating: 4 of 5

I am a long-time fan of this series. I have always enjoyed the zany humor of the author. That being said, the just prior book was not nearly as funny as those that went before. This book shows a gentle humor and has promises of some craziness in the future.

In this story, Meg and crew are getting ready for Christmas and Michael’s one-man show of “A Christmas Carol”. Meg is also tasked with coordinating many Helping Hands for the Holidays projects. Since these projects have expanded beyond the needy and throughout the year, the task has grown exponentially greater. Just what Meg needs at the busy holiday season – more work!

This year, Meg and crew are helping an elderly hoarder, Harvey, to clear up his house so he can continue to live in it. Things go awry when Harvey is murdered. Is there any truth to the tales that there may be something of great value hidden in all of his junk?

Harvey’s unlovable second cousins, the praying mantises, are pretty funny as well as just downright unpleasant. They, as well as another, show up to claim the property and to seize those valuable assets. Meg and the others are equally determined to keep them out until the murder is solved.

I think that the introduction of one-time characters who are funny and new continuing zanies may solve the humor issue. The problem, I believe, is that so many of those who had you laughing and shaking your head have gone mainstream in the stories. No more vampires, no more gorilla suits, and Meg’s brother and mother are more bit players than before.

While the stories are not as funny as before, they are still very good cozy mystery novels and I look forward to reading more in the future.

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