Donna Andrews






7th in the Meg Langslow/Michael Waterston series
Thomas Dunne Books, Aug 2006
Reviewed by Sunnie Gill

Meg and her fiancee Mike are restoring an old house. At least they are trying to. Things aren't going smoothly. First off there's the workforce, the Shifleys. They are a series of brothers, cousins, uncles, etc. Actually no one is quite sure who is who except the Shifleys. They tend to be a law unto themselves when it comes to working hours and coffee breaks. Then Dad keeps diverting them because he thinks Meg and Mike need a duck pond to house Meg's nephew's duck, named, strangely enough, Duck.

As if that's not enough, her mother's best friend, Mrs Fenniman, has organised a croquet tournament. Not just any croquet tournament either. An "x-treme" croquet tournament. It's while playing in this competition that Meg's croquet ball is belted over the edge of a cliff. Scrambling down to play the ball (this is x-treme croquet, remember) Meg slips and finds herself eyeball to eyeball with a dead woman with her head bashed in. At first Meg thinks that perhaps the woman has fallen victim to slipping but she quickly realises that the head wound doesn't match such a fall. The wound suspiciously matches the head of a croquet mallet. And the Sheriff is called in.

Donna Andrews has created a large following with her Mike and Meg books featuring a large cast of Meg's delightfully dotty family and assorted nutty friends. Sometimes with writers of humourous crime novels, eccentric, recurring characters can wear a little thin after a while and what seems funny in book one becomes stale by book three or four. Andrews has managed to avoid this by having different relatives play a prominent role in each book. The humour in NO NEST FOR THE WICKET seems a little more restrained than some of her previous novels, especially in comparison to her fifth book, WE'LL ALWAYS HAVE PARROTS, which I found to be completely over the top.

NO NEST FOR THE WICKET is a great book if you are looking for some light relief and want to stay within the crime genre.

Oct 2006

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