Wednesday, June 28, 2017
Review of "No Nest for the Wicket" by Donna Andrews
In this 7th book in the cozy series, blacksmith Meg Langslow is participating in an 'extreme croquet' tournament near her home in Caerphilly, Virginia. The contest has attracted a wide array of players, including college students from surrounding states, members of the Caerphilly historical society, real estate agents, and others. Meg is tracking her ball through a rugged field - filled with bumpy ground, water hazards, cows, and sheep - when she literally falls on the body of a dead woman. The victim, whose head has been bashed in (probably with a croquet mallet) has no identification.
When Police Chief Burke questions people in the area, no one admits to knowing the deceased. Later, Meg's fiancé Michael shows up and identifies the woman as Lindsay Tyler, a former history professor at Caerphilly College, where he teaches. Tyler left town under a cloud several years ago - so what's she doing back? (and dead?)
Speaking of history, there's an ongoing dispute among citizens of Caerphilly that involves an outlet mall and the Civil War. Developers in Caerphilly want to build a mall on a field near the Langlslow property, while many residents oppose the idea. In fact, snooty Henrietta Pruitt claims that her ancestor won a Civil War battle on that very field, which should therefore be preserved. Meg speculates that Professor Tyler may have had historical information that impacted one side or the other.
Meg, who's renovating a family home close to the proposed mall, has an obvious horse in this race. The blacksmith is also an amateur sleuth, who's solved homicide cases in the past. So Meg jumps right into the investigation and - with the help of her fiancé and father - uncovers clues that lead to the killer. As in many light mysteries, the amateurs solve the case quicker than the cops.
The characters in this humorous series always get up to amusing hijinks, and in this story their shenanigans include: Morris dancing with bells on their shins; arguments over the rules of extreme croquet (What happens if a player is a murder victim? or a killer?); faking historical evidence; teaching a duck and a dog to herd sheep; etc. I laughed when a character suggested that some refined ladies in the 'extreme croquet' tournament might have thought they were signing up for 'extreme crochet.' LOL
I liked the story and enjoyed visiting with the recurring characters in the series. I have to say, though, that Meg seems overly self-satisfied and snarky this time around, which put me off.
This is an enjoyable cozy mystery, recommended to fans of the genre.
Rating: 3 stars