Monday, October 17, 2016

Review of "Die Like An Eagle" by Donna Andrews


 


In this 20th book in the series Meg Lanslow - blacksmith, wife, mother, amateur sleuth, and assistant to the mayor of Caerphilly - is the team mom for her twin sons' baseball team, the Eagles. The President of the Caerphilly Summerball League is local builder Biff Brown, a dictatorial bully who makes up and enforces his own rules. Moreover Biff's company is contracted to maintain the baseball field, but he does almost nothing. Thus the field is all weeds and potholes with bleachers and dugouts that are falling apart and one small smelly porta-potty. And wouldn't you know it, on Summerall League opening day the cramped porta-potty contains the body of a dead man.

First identified as Biff Brown, the body turns out to be his lookalike brother Shep. Is Biff the intended victim or is it really Shep - an umpire notorious for making calls that favor Biff's teams? Another attempt on Biff's life seems to answer the question. Police Chief Burke investigates the crimes with a little unofficial help from Meg.

As it happens Biff has been hired to remodel Caerphilly town square and - as aide to the mayor - Meg has to track his progress.....which is zero. Biff has also been ignoring Meg's phone calls and texts for weeks. So the amateur detective decides to visit Biff's estranged wife and previous clients, to find out more about him. Meg soon gets an earful: Biff's jobs are shoddy or incomplete; he has a bad temper; he extorts money from clients for the baseball league; and so on.

Besides the mystery there's plenty going on in the story: kids are practicing and playing baseball; there's a picnic for the Caerphilly Eagles and their families (the 'Biff alert' during the party is funny); the Summerball League has an important meeting; Shep's drunken ex-wife totters over to the police station and fires a gun; and so on.

LIke other books in the series, Meg's extended family is on hand to help out as needed. Meg's mom is truly a magician, able to conjure up a party for 100 people (with an enormous amount of food) in an hour and to produce volunteers for the Summerball League's snack stand at a moment's notice.

This is an enjoyable light mystery that would appeal to readers who like cozies, especailly Meg Lanslow fans.

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