Tuesday, September 05, 2006

Mystery Book Review: No Nest for the Wicket by Donna Andrews

Mysterious ReviewsMysterious Reviews, mysteries reviewed by the Hidden Staircase Mystery Books, has written our review of No Nest for the Wicket by Donna Andrews. For our blog readers, we are printing it first here in advance of its publication on our website.No Nest for the Wicket by Donna Andrews

No Nest for the Wicket by Donna Andrews
A Meg Langslow Mystery
St. Martin's Press (Hardcover)
ISBN-10: 0-312-32940-7 (0312329407)
ISBN-13: 978-0-312-32940-2 (9780312329402)
Publication Date: August 2006
List Price: $23.95

Synopsis (from the publisher): eXtreme croquet is the current rage in Caerphilly, where Meg and her fiancĂ©, Michael, have bought a house. While this society game can get quite warm, it hasn’t reached the stage of actual homicide---at least not until Meg knocks her ball down a small cliff and encounters the body of a dead woman. Her head has been bashed in, illustrating, perhaps, one of the many uses of a croquet mallet. It turns out that Michael knew the woman from years before. Meg finds herself further drawn in when it’s discovered that the woman was seeking to expose the bad dealings of a certain local society lady’s ancestors.

In the meantime, the old house needs many basic improvements and swarms with an entire family of working men, including countless second cousins, sawing and pounding away. Meg’s father is the overseer but is easily distracted since he has a tendency to become wrapped up in his current animal charges---this time it’s ducks.

Review: The mystery and mayhem continue in Caerphilly with Donna Andrews's 7th entry in the Meg Langslow series, No Nest for the Wicket. Credit must be given for the clever title, but this latest book from Andrews simply isn't up to par (to mix sports metaphors).

Reading No Nest for the Wicket is like watching a one-act play. Meg sits onstage in front of a backdrop that represents her farm. Scene changes are unnecessary as the entire story is essentially played out from this venue. Various family members, neighbors, friends, and visitors drop in, have a conversation with Meg, and then wander off to do whatever they do. Meg ponders the current situation between chats, coming up with a plan to move forward in the investigative process. All this is well and good, but about two thirds of the way through the play (er ... book), the audience asks, What’s all the fuss about? A murder? Oh, that’s right, someone was found with their head bashed in by a croquet mallet. What was her name? Are you sure? And that’s the underlying problem with this book: the reason for its very being ceases to be important, or even interesting.

No Nest for the Wicket is definitely not one of the better Meg Langslow mysteries, but will undoubtedly appeal to readers who have enjoyed previous books in the series. Despite the large cast of eccentric though admittedly interesting characters, the ever-present menagerie of animals, and the novel idea of incorporating eXtreme croquet into the story, in the end this one-act play is all rather monotonous.

Special thanks to St. Martin's Press for providing a copy of No Nest for the Wicket for this review.

Review Copyright © 2006 Hidden Staircase Mystery Books

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