Owls Well That Ends Well
By Donna Andrews
(Minotaur Books, Hardcover, 9780312329389, 304pp.)
Publication Date: March 10, 2005
Other Editions of This Title: Mass Market Paperback
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Ever since Murder with Peacocks won the Malice Domestic Contest (not to mention the Agatha and Anthony awards for best first novel), Donna Andrews has kept readers laughing. As Publishers Weekly says of Crouching Buzzard, Leaping Loon, "There's a smile on every page and at least one chuckle per chapter."
But the secret of Andrews's humor isn't sharp gags and one-liners. From Meg Langslow and her boyfriend, Michael, to the minor characters who cross the stage and disappear, Andrews writes about real people, and invites the reader to join in the fun.
In Owls Well That Ends Well, Meg and Michael have bought a very elderly house from the estate of the uncrowned Queen of the Packrats. She bought everything and kept it all. When the house became overcrowded, she moved the overflow into the barn. When the barn was crammed, she began filling the property's sheds. When she died, her "holdings" left the various grandnieces and grandnephews with decades of junk. They avoid the job of cleaning it up by selling the place "as is" to Meg and Michael, sticking them with the lot. Their solution: a yard sale.
As always, Meg's large family flocks in to offer their dubious help. Many even come with junk of their own to add to the sale. Meg's mother, sure that Meg has taken care of all the "treasures," turns to drawing up elaborate redecorating plans. Meg's dad, newly elected president of SPOOR (Stop Poisoning Our Owls and Raptors) shoulders the cause of the endangered baby owls and their mother that live in the barn. His further contribution is the announcement that anyone who arrives in costume earns a ten percent discount.
Meg is coping (barely) with all this until the body of a local antique dealer is discovered in an old trunk. She and her dad have a further shock: the trunk is in the barn, in reckless disregard of Dad's beloved newborn owls.
The police temporarily close the sale down to investigate. When the professor who can swing the vote in favor of Michael's tenure becomes a suspect, Meg decides that the only way to prove his innocence, and avoid being stuck with several tons of unsold junk, is to find the killer herself, and quickly.
Andrews's amusing signature spin on mystery and a new assortment of feathery friends make this a priceless addition to the series.
Donna Andrews is the author of five previous mysteries featuring Meg Langslow and has won numerous awards for her books. She lives in Reston, Virginia, near Washington.
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