Monday, December 30, 2013

Audiobook Review: Duck the Halls

 photo duck_zpscc20ad94.jpg Duck the Halls 

by Donna Andrews
Series: Meg Lanslow #16
Publication date: 22 October 2013
Genre: Cozy Mystery
Source: my own copy
Date Read: 09 December 2013
Narrator: Bernadette Dunne
Length: 8 hours 17 minutes

A new side-splitting Meg Langslow mystery from award–winning, New York Times bestselling author of Six Geese A Slaying, just in time for the holidays

The brilliantly funny and talented Donna Andrews delivers another winner in the acclaimed avian-themed series that mystery readers have come to love. A few nights before Christmas, Meg is awakened when Michael is summoned to the New Life Baptist Church, where someone has rigged a cage full of skunks in the choir loft. The lengthy process of de-skunking the church requires its annual pre-Christmas concert to relocate to Trinity Episcopal, where Mother insists the show must go on, despite the budget-related protests of Mr. Otis, an elderly vestryman. Meanwhile, when Meg helps her grandfather take the skunks to the zoo, they discover that his boa has been stolen—only to turn up later during the concert slithering out from the ribbon-bedecked evergreens.

It’s clear that some serious holiday pranksters are on the loose, and Meg is determined to find them. But before she can, a fire breaks out at Trinity, and Mr. Otis is discovered dead. Could this be a bit of nasty revenge from the now deposed Pruitt family? Or harassment from the Evil Lender? As Meg searches for answers she also races to finish all of her Christmas shopping, wrapping, cooking, caroling, and decorating in time to make the season jolly for Michael and the twins.

Guaranteed to put the "ho ho hos" into the holidays of cozy lovers everywhere, Duck the Halls is a gut-bustingly funny mystery, the latest from the award-winning Donna Andrews.

My thoughts: I generally enjoy cozy mysteries. They have a kind of fantasy, over-the-top feeling as I am sure these situations just do not creep up on you in real life. And more often than not, some of these situations make you want to laugh out loud. I love that!

Unfortunately I chose book 16 to enter into this chaotic Christmas mess that is the Langslow family. I wish I started at the beginning . . . I am usually very particular about starting a series at the first book but this time, this one just crept up on me and I wanted to enjoy the Christmas setting. This was a mistake. I am sure that I would have enjoyed it all much more if I had come to know the family and their friends and felt invested in what happened in their lives.

There is no time wasted introducing the family characters as I am sure everyone is loved by regular readers already. This unfortunately made me feel like an outsider looking in and not part of the story at all. I am not sure if this is the way that a small town act but it did seem a bit far fetched at times.

There is a big religious feel to the book as well. I felt some of the church activities was a bit of a clique and I could not imagine that it bore any resemblance to reality but then again this is fiction. And maybe if you live in a small town . . .

The main character, Meg, did not endear herself to me either. In fact I thought she was overly protective of her husband who is a volunteer firefighter. I am sure my husband would not have appreciated it if I acted like Meg at some of the crime scenes.

Having said all of the above, I still enjoyed the light hearted sillyness of this book but I would recommend starting at the first book . . . 


  1. Wow - 16th in the series? I love it when a series goes on that long. It lets you get really into the characters.
    It is a pitty you only jumped in now though. I hate it when I don't feel like I know the characters well or really what is going on. It sounds like it could be really fun though if you catch it from the start.

    Great (and fair) review.

  2. I love a good cozy, you are so right that they very often leave you laughing out loud and that makes the story so much fun. I am a little OCD about starting a series at the beginning for the very reason you stated above. These stories often while being an independent book, if you don't have that history and familiarity with the characters it just takes some of the shine off. One my favorite series, not a cozy, I picked up as a freebie for kindle and it was crazy and really made very little sense. I went back because this bugged me and read book one and now am so hooked on the author I cannot wait for each new read from her. Definitely starting at the beginning makes a difference. Thank you for sharing your thoughts - I have not read this series and wow going back eighteen books to begin is a little daunting LOL but who knows it does sound like fun :)