Meg Lanslow - wife, mother of young twins, blacksmith, and amateur sleuth - gets pulled into a murder inquiry when she sets out to learn about the grandmother she never knew. Many years ago Granny Cordelia, an unwed mom, gave up Meg's dad for adoption. Now Meg's grandfather, Dr. Montgomery Blake (the unwed dad), has hired detective Stanley Denton to find Cordelia.
While assisting Stanley with the search Meg meets Cordelia's agoraphobic sister Annabel, who says Cordelia was killed in a generator explosion. The authorities say this was an accident but Annabel believes that Cordelia was murdered by an ornery neighbor who lives across the fence. Annabel convinces Meg and Stanley to investigate the crime - promising to tell Meg all about Cordelia if she finds the killer.
It also happens that Annabel and Cordelia were actively involved in trying to rescue a flock of emus released from a failed emu farm. Meg gets her grandfather, Dr. Blake - an avid wildlife enthusiast - interested in the project and he soon arrives with a small army of volunteers and helpers. The emu rescuers and Meg's family all camp out on Annabel's property. The do-gooders plan to round up the emus and deliver them to a sanctuary while Meg plans to look into Cordelia's death. All this creates a kind of humorous madhouse atmosphere.
Soon enough a mysterious flagon of scotch and box of chocolates - both laced with deadly poison - make an appearance, apparently targeting Dr. Blake and Annabel. The need to guard and protect these two elderly people adds to the mayhem.
As the story unfolds the reader is treated to vivid descriptions of the Virginia countryside, the emu hunt, delicious meals in the mess tent, and spy activity on both sides of the fence. Much of the hectic goings on in the book are extraneous to the central mystery - which is eventually solved in a believable enough fashion. A fun light mystery to spend a few hours with.
Rating: 3 stars