No Nest for the Wicket
Donna Andrews - Meg Langslow

I had really begun to believe that Donna could write about anything under the sun - a wait at a doctor's office, an afternoon of painting the walls - and have it end up hilarious. I was just SO pleased with the last three books she created, and the environment and characters she had populated them with.

With this book, Donna comes down to earth. That's not to say I disliked the book. It was quite interesting, set in a tournament of eXtreme croquet in her back yard. You get the fun family members as well as a collection of newcomers to interact. Still, the previous books were just so amazing, with numerous laugh out loud moments and great insights. With this book, things were "fine". It's almost as if Donna had gotten so used to her great successes that she put things on cruise control a bit.

One thing which bugs me about these books is that Meg has been dealing with dead bodies repeately over the years - but every time she encounters a new one it's as if she's never seen one before at all. The cop in this one - a cop who knows her from previous stories - even makes a comment that she shouldn't be squeamish because she has a doctor for a father. How about she shouldn't be squeamish because bodies fall dead around her at a regular rate! I'm not sure I understand why this is an issue for the writer. When we read about other mystery series, we know the main characters have seen death. We know it's a series. There's no need to pretend in every book of Nancy Drew that she has just become a detective and has never faced danger before. I don't see a need here to treat Meg as an innocent every time out.

I also found the plot here a little repetitive compared with previous plots. I knew right away who the killer was and then simply had to wait for the story to unfold to find that out. As usual, Meg doesn't realize the truth until the last possible moment. I suppose you could say her charm is that she 1) feels grumpy about finding bodies and 2) blunders Clouseau-like around until the killer prepares to take her out. I just wish she'd do a little better with her investigation. She is, after all, an intelligent woman. Some of the clues she misses are pretty obvious.

Still, it's nice to see the progression of some of the characters, and the flaws in others. These aren't perfect people by any stretch of the imagination - but they still get along and love each other. It gives hope to the rest of us!

Donna Andrews - Meg Langslow

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