Thursday, September 25, 2014

Murder with peacocks by Donna Andrews

Meg Langslow is heading home for a very busy summer, because she is maid of honour for not one, not two, but three weddings!  Her best friend Eileen is getting married to the lovely Steve, and while Meg loves her dearly Eileen is all over the place about the wedding plans and is having trouble keeping promises about sorting out the small number of things Meg left in her hands.  Wedding number two is for her brother Rob and the not so lovely Samantha, she with the expensive taste and grand ambitions.  Wedding number three is her mothers own marriage, to the rather quiet and unassuming neighbour, and her mother is not going to be out done by her daughters best friend or future daughter in law - no way no how.

The one highlight of the season spent at home running from pillar to post is that Meg gets to spend time with the charming Michael - who is busy running the bridal shop while his mother recovers from an accident in Florida.  Too bad the local gossips have declared Michael is gay, but who cares when he can hold a decent conversation and makes lovely eye candy.  As if running around solving last minute problems and dealing with last minute problems isn't bad enough, it soon becomes clear that there is something nasty going around - a case of the murder attempts and not everyone seems to be immune.  As the weeks leading to the weddings rapidly become days, Meg and her family find themselves caught up in a mystery most fowl.

I picked up Murder with peacocks because it was recommended to me as being something out of the ordinary in the murder mystery genre, a book with more than the average in terms of romance and humour, and I was not disappointed   It took me a little while to get used to the idea that the book doesn't have chapters in the traditional sense, instead Andrews breaks up the action by days - some days are longer and more action filled than others, which makes the "chapters" uneven but more believable.  It is an interesting concept and one that appealed to me more and more as I got deeper and deeper into the mystery  after all one of the biggest failings I find with murder mysteries is that they seem to happen so fast.  You get a real sense of time with Murder with peacocks, and it is a realistic time frame rather than the rapid crime solving that usually seems to happen.

The story here is really well crafted, there are plenty of suspects and it takes a while to figure out all the clues which means it is a well written story that keeps you hooked until the end.  Meg is a wonderful character and her family is just delightful with the full cast of characters representing an entire society - the charmers, the fakers, and the occasional nut bar.  While some of the characters could be seen as cliches, they are so well rendered that they become their own characters rather than just an example of a type, and there are some characters that are beyond charming in their ability to carry off their part of the story.  Not quite your traditional murder mystery and not quite your traditional thriller/mystery, Murder with peacocks happily straddles both genre and brings the two together in a unique and interesting blend.  I hope to visit more of the series in the future to see what happens next for Meg, her family, and the hangers on.

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Reviewed by Brilla

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