Wednesday, July 28, 2021

ARC Review: Murder Most Fowl by Donna Andrews

Murder Most Fowl

Donna Andrews
Series: Meg Langslow Mystery (Book 29)
Publication: Minotaur Books (August 3, 2021)

Description: A Shakespearean twist on the long-running Meg Langslow mystery series in Murder Most Fowl, the next installment from Donna Andrews, award-winning, New York Times bestselling author of The Falcon Always Wings Twice.

Meg Langslow’s in for a busy summer. Her husband is directing a production of Macbeth, and most of the cast and crew are occupying spare bedrooms in their house. She also has to keep an eye on Camp Birnam, where a group of medieval reenactors are commemorating the real-life Macbeth by setting up what they fondly believe is an authentic medieval Scottish military camp.

And then there’s Damien Goodwin, a filmmaker who has been hanging around, trying to document the production. When Goodwin hosts a showing of some of the footage he’s taken, he manages to embarrass or offend just about everyone. The next morning Meg isn’t exactly surprised to find that someone has murdered him.

But who? Some people’s motives were obvious from the footage: the couple whose affair was revealed . . . the bombastic leader of the reenactors, who could be facing years in prison if the evidence from the video helps convict him of sheep stealing . . . the actress who’s desperately trying to downplay a health issue that could cost her the role of her life. Other motives are only hinted at―did the filmmaker have other footage that would reveal why one of the actors is behaving so furtively?

Unfortunately, whoever murdered Goodwin also destroyed all the electronic devices on which his video was stored. So Caerphilly’s chief of police―and Meg―must rediscover the same secrets the filmmaker did if they want to catch a killer.

My Thoughts: Meg Langslow is having a busy summer. Her husband is directing a production of Macbeth and, because of politics at the local college, the actors and crew are staying with them at their home either in their guest bedrooms or in tents on their grounds. There have been a series of vandalisms ranging from red paint on a copy of a script to underwear strung up in their library to obscene graffiti painted on a hallway's walls. 

Besides that, Meg is dealing with reenactors who are camping next door in her parents' woods and who are stealing local livestock and requiring daily visits from the fire marshal and the health department. Throw in a documentary filmmaker who is constantly underfoot and Meg is almost at her wit's end.

Add in a lead actress's gastrointestinal issues which could be stress or could be poison and potential evil witchcraft being done in the bone-dry woods and Meg barely has time to craft a spooky dagger for the production at her forge.

When, after previewing his film and angering just about everyone he used as a subject, the filmmaker is found dead, Meg and the police chief have more than enough suspects to his murder. 

This is the 29th episode in this series but worked perfectly well as an entry point for this new reader of the series. Yes, I wanted to know more about Meg's very large family who have a variety of walk-on parts in this story, but I learned enough to be intrigued rather than confused. I liked Meg who is an organized and phlegmatic character who isn't going to let all the chaos around her disturb her equanimity. This was a great introduction to a series I'm adding to my wishlist.

Favorite Quote:
The bagpiper was drawing near, playing either "Scotland the Brave" or a slow-tempo version of the theme from Gilligan's Island. I could tell the chief was as relieved as I was when MacLeod shooed him away.
I received this one in exchange for an honest review from NetGalley. You can buy your copy here.

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