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Murder Most Fowl
Meg Langslow Mystery #29
by Donna Andrews
St Martin's Press,$26.99,320pp
Published: August 2021

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.

Meg Langslow is once again up to her ears in organized chaos - her husband Michael is directing Macbeth and much of the cast and crew is staying in their house, their barn or camped out on their lawn.  A group of historical reenactors is camped out in the forest nearby but tend to wander in around meal times to mingle with the crowd for free food. A large group of visiting relatives, while staying with Meg’s parents, show up each day to help cook as well as join in for meals. As if that wasn’t enough there is a vandal causing trouble at Meg’s home, the reenactors seem to have a habit of “borrowing” local livestock, someone is in the woods practicing black magic over a campfire, and the man hired to film the play’s production screens a rough cut of his video so far which shows everyone at their worst and embarrassing moments. And then he turns up dead.  Meg contends with finding the murderer, finding a poisoner who may or may not also be the murderer, locating a missing dagger, and dealing with a bunch of puppies. Pretty much a typical week in Meg’s life.

The books in this series are light, quick reads with a satisfying cast of characters. I look forward to each new entry. Highly recommended. ~~ Stephanie L Bannon

For more titles by Donna Andrews click here

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