Revenge of the Wrought-Iron Flamingos
Donna Andrews - Meg Langslow

This is definitely a case where you want to read the first two books before you take on this one. The family members, friends, and even pets are all well developed in those first books so that when you encounter them here you already understand their quirks and strengths.

I greatly enjoyed this book as the best one yet. The previous two books had vastly bizarre situations and a cavalcade of murders which made it hard to suspend your disbelief. On the other hand, the characters were great and three dimensional. This book puts you in a situation which is "unusual" but very believable - a reenactment of colonial America. It has the great odd characters, now well known to the audience. It also has a more realistic murder situation.

I loved the details of costume, environment and accessory in the colonial world and, as always, liked the slightly zany but believable characters that were involved. There wasn't a need to go into explicit detail with many of the characters - you'd already established a connection with them in the previous two books - but the new characters added a nice texture.

I was happy to see that Michael was no longer just a "pretty face" and that Meg was becoming more independent. Details were filled in about both characters to help explain their personalities. Michael is exposed as a preener who, aware of his good looks, likes to play them up, and to find new outlets for his acting talents. Meg is taking on weapons creation and worries about minimizing her reputation by creating kitschy pink flamingos, even though it could mean a good income.

I still was annoyed that Meg and others continually judged Michael on being a "good looking accessory" as a primary trait. It's just as bad to do that to guys as it is to girls. He also seemed, like in the previous book, to be a rather passive partner. He spends much of the book wanting to look pretty and whining about Meg not committing enough to him. He ends up being a damsel in distress.

I also was annoyed that - still- Meg seems to show no empathy or care when she finds dead bodies. In this book she even comments that she hopes it's someone she knows and likes, so that she won't be likely as a suspect. Jeez, nice thought!

Still, you can look at these as further evidence that the characters are not "shiny perfect" cardboard heroes. We know Meg has temper issues. Michael is rather spoiled, with his mom simpering when he snaps and women falling over each other for his good looks. Even with their foibles, they find a way to make their relationship work and to navigate the difficult issues of an eccentric extended family. It gives hope that the rest of us who are imperfect can still find ways to live happy lives and persue our dreams.

Recommended!

Donna Andrews - Meg Langslow

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