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The Penguin Who Knew Too Much [Large Print] [Hardcover]

Donna Andrews

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Book Description

November 2007 Thorndike Mystery
Hold on to your hats, everybody!  Donna Andrews is taking us on another ride into the wonderful world of Meg Langslow, a world filled with laughter as well as the knotty problems Meg always seems to encounter and---somehow---solve. 
Okay, maybe there are people in Antarctica with penguins in their basements, but in Virginia?  Only Meg's dad could manage that one. A body down there---well, that's somewhat more likely.
It turns out that explaining the penguins' presence is easy---Meg's dad volunteered to take care of the birds until the future of the bankrupt local zoo could be determined. But identifying the body in the basement proves a harder task---could it be, as Meg fears, that of the vanished zoo owner?
In the small southern town of Caerphilly, rumors fly quickly, and all the other well-meaning citizens who have agreed to take in zoo animals are now worried that they might be stuck with their guests indefinitely. So when Meg's dad generously offers to help out anyone who can no longer care for their four-legged charges, a parade of wild creatures begins to make Meg and Michael's newly renovated house look more like Noah's ark.
Meg and Michael have been planning to elope in order to avoid the elaborate wedding their mothers have begun to organize---a plan that's threatened by both the murder investigation and the carnival of animals. The only way to set things right, Meg decides, is to identify both their uninvited visitor and the killer who put him in their basement.
The award-winning Donna Andrews has demonstrated her immense talent by creating and nurturing a series that continues to delight and surprise with each new book.
--This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 389 pages
  • Publisher: Thorndike Press; Lrg edition (November 2007)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0786298618
  • ISBN-13: 978-0786298617
  • Product Dimensions: 22.2 x 15.1 x 3.1 cm
  • Shipping Weight: 590 g

Product Description

From Publishers Weekly

Starred Review. In Agatha-winner Andrews's deliciously daffy eighth Meg Langslow mystery (after 2006's No Nest for the Wicket), blacksmith Meg and her fiancé, Michael, are at last moving into their new house in Caerphilly, Va., assisted (and occasionally hindered) by Meg's vast clan of maternal relations. Then Meg's dad announces that, while digging a pool in the new house's basement for penguins fostered from a bankrupt local zoo, he has discovered a dead body. As the police investigate, more fostered animals arrive at Meg's place, and when the zoo's missing owner turns out to be the corpse, Meg has to sort out the mystery, along with her plans to elope and the problems relating to various animals roaming around her property. As usual, Meg takes the familial eccentricities in stride while coping with one crisis after another. Andrews demonstrates her absolute mastery of the comedic mystery, deftly balancing outrageously funny scenes with well-paced suspense. Author tour. (Aug.)
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

From Booklist

Meg Langslow and her fiancé, Michael, are finally moving into their newly renovated house, assisted by numerous members of Meg's extended family. Unfortunately, Meg's father finds a body in her basement while he is digging a hole for a pool for some penguins he is fostering. The body is identified as that of Patrick Lanahan, owner of Caerphilly's bankrupt zoo. More chaos follows—and the Langslow menagerie quickly grows—after Meg's father's tells all those fostering the zoo animals to drop them off at Meg's place if fostering gets to be too much for them. Soon llamas, wolves, and hyenas are frolicking in the backyard. Meg investigates the murder and tries to save the zoo (so her many house guests can return home), all while planning her secret wedding. The levelheaded, unflappable Meg takes it all in stride: the parade of wild animals, her quirky relatives, an irate police chief, and a father who loves a mystery. This eighth cozy in the series makes the most of humorous situations, zany relatives, and lovable characters. O'Brien, Sue --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

Customer Reviews

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on (beta) 4.3 out of 5 stars  38 reviews
12 of 12 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Donna Andrews has done it again. Aug. 27 2007
By Barbara J. Carges - Published on
Once again Donna Andrews has given us a wild and wacky mystery.
This book starts off with Meg's father joyfully asking her to guess what he's found in the basement. She jokingly answers "A body?" and he replies "Oh, rats---you already knew? Well, how soon will the police get here? I need to move the penguins---we don't want them any more upset then they already are."
Meg is off and running from there. With the dubious help of family and friends Meg and Michael are moving into their renovated house, throwing an over the top house warming party and planning to elope in the middle of it all. Now Meg has to add solving the murder to her list of things to do.
Like the other books in this series, this is a well written mystery that is also highly amusing. Anyone who has read the rest of the series will be glad to attend another Hollingsworth get-together with a little murder on-the-side. For those who are new to Meg's world, get ready to enjoy the ride.
6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Much better effort! Aug. 29 2007
By Cozymysterycrazy - Published on
This is much better than her last one (No Rest for the Wicket) and it's a promising return to form for Ms Andrews.

The plot is excellent and the funny lines are back again, as well as the expected rich and colourful cast of characters.

If I have a quibble, it's that Meg's Dad has finally lost his charm and become selfishly oblivious to anything but his own interests. He's happy to abuse Meg's good nature for his own ends. Not only that - he's become stupid. Why on earth would a supposedly intelligent man dig a pond for penguins in Meg's unsuitable basement when there was already a real, outdoor pond available just across the road? The 'Virginia heat' explanation doesn't wash, since the penguins are re-located to the pond almost immediately, and Dr Langslow doesn't give a damn about the heat or the animals' welfare by then... It's a plot device, but with a little more effort there could have been any number of more logical ways to reveal the body.(Ok, it's fiction and I'm picky, but these inconsistencies do jar...)

Apart from that, I really enjoyed the strong story and hope Ms Andrews carries on raising her game. Not as good as 'Crouching Buzzard, Leaping Loon' but it does give me hope for the next one in the series...
5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Laughs, Murder, and Zoo Animals Sept. 3 2007
By Mark Baker - Published on
Meg and Michael are finally moving into their new house. All of Meg's relatives are coming to help. And in the middle of the house warming party to follow, Meg and Michael plan to slip away to elope.

Everyone is just beginning to work when Meg's dad appears, announces he found a body in the basement while digging a swimming pit for the penguins, and disappears again.

Dead body? Penguins? Unfortunately, both prove to be true.

The penguins are refugees from the local zoo which has closed temporarily due to poor financial management. And they are just the beginning of the animals that begin to show up since Meg's dad has volunteered to take care of any animals that need to be watched.

Even worse, the body turns out to be the zoo's owner. Now Meg has a few days to find the killer and solve her sudden animal problem or risk watching her carefully planned elopement fall apart. Can she do it?

The books in this series are always funny, and this book is no exception. I chuckled and laugh the entire way through. There are some great new characters that provide some of the best laughs of the book. And, of course, there are the antics of the animals as well.

The plot suffered a little at the expense of the comedy. It starts out strong and develops pretty evenly. But the ending seems rushed to me.

Frankly, fans of the series won't care. They'll be laughing so hard at the antics of animal and human alike. This is another treat from a master of humor.
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars HILARIOUS COZY MYSTERY March 2 2010
By D. Blankenship - Published on
Format:Mass Market Paperback
This is the eighth offering in this particular series of cozy mysteries, `A Meg Langslow Mystery.' It has also been my introduction to the series for the simple reason that our library does not have the first seven books. I must say though, that I was able to pick up on the story line perfectly within a few pages and must also admit to have enjoyed every word of this little mystery.

The cozy mystery is one of my favorite genre...they are my relaxing books and I have several series which I follow. This will be added to those. First and foremost, these books are simply funny. I found something to smile about and indeed chuckle at on almost every page. The author has a delightful sense of humor.

Meg and her soon to be husband have purchase an old Victorian home and are in the process of moving in after extensive renovation. While taking a trip to the basement on moving day, Meg stumbles upon a practically buried body in the middle of the pool her father has been digging so the penguins will have a place to swim. It seems that a local zoo had gone financially under and the man animals have had to be placed in foster homes until a more permanent facility can be found, ergo the penguins. Of course the house and grounds are absolutely packed with dozens upon dozens of Meg's eccentric relatives which makes for quite a confusing mess.

Murder though, and murder it was, is almost a distraction when reading this work. The actual fun comes from reading about Meg's eccentric (to put it mildly) and very, very large extended family on her mother's side. This along with profiles and the entering and exiting of various local characters make this a perfect foil to showcase the author's wit. I found myself almost completely ignoring the plot, which was not bad at all, by the way, and simply looking forward to the next off beat actions of the characters.

This tale takes place in a semi-rural area in Virginia; not city certainly, but not in the wilderness either...sort of country.

Meg by the way is a blacksmith and her boyfriend and husband to be is a teacher at a local college. Meg's father is a physician. I must agree with another reviewer here in that the only character in the entire book that sort of annoyed me was Meg's father. While he was indeed funny, it was difficult to picture an obviously intelligent and well educated man pulling some of the things this man pulled. Hey, it was no big deal though.

For a nice, short and fast moving read that will certainly give you some giggles and laughs, I cannot thing of a better book to have by your bedside. Recommend this one highly.

Don Blankenship
The Ozarks
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Meg Langslow is no birdbrain Feb. 7 2010
By L. L. Ramsey - Published on
Format:Mass Market Paperback|Verified Purchase
Donna Andrews keeps on taking a wonderful idea and making it better. Meg and her serious boyfriend, Michael are continuing to renovate their ramshackle mansion. When the head of the local zoo disappears Meg's dad offers their home as a place to bring the rescued zoo stock. A body turns up in the basement (where dad is digging a penguin pond). Wacky and witty- it is a keeper!

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