Monday, April 14, 2014

Hen of the Baskervilles by Donna Andrews

Hen of the Baskervilles
by Donna Andrews

Published:  St. Martin's Press
Format: paperback
Copyright: 2013
Pages: 308
Genre: Mystery
Source: personal copy  

From the back cover ...
Meg Langslow is helping Mayor Randall Shiffley organize the Virginia Un-fair, Caerphilly's entry into the race to replace the old bankrupt state fair. Before a line can even form outside the ticket booth, however, a pair of bantam Russian Orloff chickens are stolen from their coop in the chicken tent. Soon, a rash of vandalism crops up at the fair, showing no heritage farm animal, prize vegetable, or artisanal craft to be safe.  

As if patrolling the fairgrounds for the perp weren't enough, Meg runs into her cheesemonger friend Molly, who has another pressing matter: her husband, Brett, has taken up with another woman and is now demanding half their farm. But before Meg can find her the best divorce lawyer in the land, Brett turns up dead - and Molly becomes the prime suspect. When it comes to Meg's crime-solving in Caerphilly, nothing is ever elementary ...

This is the 15th Meg Langslow mystery and I whipped though it in a day (admittedly a day with a long car ride). I thought this one was much more fun than the last one, Some Like it Hawk. I found the last book somewhat pedestrian and confined. Not bad, just not that interesting either. This time there is a better setting, a larger cast of characters and more interesting happenings. The Un-fair is specializing in heritage species, so we get introduced to some interesting types of chickens, hogs, and cows.

A Russian Orloff bantam, for example, looks like this ...
And a Sumatra looks like this ...
It is kinda cool reading a bit about the different breeds, though it never feels like an info dump. As usual, the mystery takes rather a backseat to the setting and the characters, but it was a fun read and entertained me. The Hen of the Baskervilles still isn't up to par with the earlier books in terms of laughs but a solid entry in the series. I will keep reading. This one was four claws for me.

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