The Penguin Who Knew Too Much Hardcover – Large Print, Nov 2007
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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.
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 followsand the Langslow menagerie quickly growsafter 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.See all Product Description
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)
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.
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...
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.
As always, Andrews surrounds Meg with a gaggle of eccentrics who bring hilarity to murder. Even though there's definitely a lot going on, Andrews succeeds in tying everything together in the end.. Meg's superhumanly patient fiancé Michael steadfastly remains a ballast of sanity in the midst of her family's bizzarro world. That Andrews maintains the reader's focus with her numerous characters and plotlines is a tribute to her talent and skill. This is a series that continues to entertain with its reliably comic and likeable characters.