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by Donna Andrews
Minotaur, October 2022
295 pages
ISBN: 1250760224

Buy in the UK | Buy in Canada

Meg Langslow has a large extended family, and she is deeply involved in much of their lives. Not always willingly, mind you, but involved nonetheless. Her mother is decorating Caerphilly for the holidays; Meg's mother makes Martha Stewart look like a piker when it comes to decorating. Her father is building a (highly secret, except to Meg) skating rink in the back yard. Grandmother Cordelia is bird watching around the thickets of greenery that Mother has placed well-nigh everywhere. The cousins of Mutant Wizards are, as always, in the basement; Rob and Co. are working with some Canadians on some kind of DNA/Ancestry program. For reasons unknown to just about anyone, Ian Meredith has decided to accompany his employees to Caerphilly. Ian Meredith is a boor: an annoying, inconsiderate, rude boor of the first water. Nobody is really upset when he is killed with a hockey stick on the now not-so-secret rink. People are more upset that the hockey stick is no longer a Christmas gift but a pretty solid piece of evidence in someone's upcoming murder trial. Meg just has to figure out whose trial it will be. Add that to her list of things to do between now and whenever. That list never, ever ends.

As always, Andrews knows her stuff. The plot is sufficiently intricate, and the story line involved enough for just about any reader of the genre. Andrews creates marvelous characters and puts them in situations that vary from almost slap-stick to Wodehouse-esque (is that a word?) contrivances to incredibly subtle bon-mots. Christmas is a wonderful time to set any mystery, as many other authors have demonstrated over the years. SNOWBIRDS is the sixth book that, based on the title alone, is set during the holidays. Virginia as a place gives Andrews so many options in terms of weather and terrain; she makes the best of her choices. While all of her books can be read as stand-alones, reading them in series will give the reader so much more knowledge of the characters as they grow and change over the years. Reading them in order will also keep most readers busy for quite some time. Go for it!

P.J Coldren: I have been reading and reviewing mystery fiction for over a quarter of a century and read broadly within just about all genres and sub-genres. I live in Northern lower Michigan with my spousal unit, one large cat, and 2 fairly small dogs.

Reviewed by P.J. Coldren, October 2022

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Contact: Yvonne Klein (ymk@reviewingtheevidence.com)

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