Some Like it Hawk (Meg Langslow Mysteries)
by Donna Andrews
Review by Paul Haggerty
St. Martin's Mass Market Paperback ISBN/ITEM#: 9781250008176
Date: 30 April 2013 List Price $7.99 Amazon US / Amazon UK
The town of Caerphilly, Virginia, has certainly seen better days. But despite the fact that the town's public buildings have been foreclosed on by what they townsfolk affectionately call The Evil Lender, moral in town is actually riding fairly high. The lawsuit challenging the takeover is still going strong, and Phineas Throckmorton, the town clerk, is still barricaded in the basement of the town hall, causing the Evil Lender no end of headaches.
Still, the Evil Lender has brought in a new security team, known amongst the townsfolk as The Flying Monkeys, and people are worried that things could get a bit twitchy. For example, when one of the Evil Lender's executives is shot to death just outside Phineas' barricade. Sure, everyone can see that it's an attempt to frame the town clerk, but that doesn't mean it won't work. Would the Evil Lender murder one of their own, just to expedite Phineas' removal?
Phineas has been in the cellar for over a year now. And considering it had been a fairly hastily arranged barricade, there's no way he could have brought in enough supplies. The Evil Lender knows that he must be getting supplies from somewhere; they just haven't been able to figure out how. Which is part of the reason for the Flying Monkeys, named after a curious similarity of uniform to those worn by the servants of the Wicked Witch of the West. The Flying Monkeys have been searching every inch of the town hall, convinced that they'll eventually find the secret door. And, of course, keeping an eye on all the townsfolk, sure that someone will eventually give away the secret.
The secret, naturally, is right under their noses, and hidden in plain sight. A secret tunnel, dating back to the Civil War, leads from the basement to the bandstand in the town green. And the Caerphilly Days Festival, billed as a way for the town to earn money from tourism to buy back the public buildings, is the perfect cover for people to go in and out. It's not a situation that can last indefinitely, but they're game to try.
Of course the plotline is going to get much more complicated. While it's not that difficult to figure out what is going on, even before Meg and company, figuring out what to do about it is another problem entirely. Add in a private investigator, fraud, murder, conspiracy, explosions, and a killer hawk, and Some Like it Hawk will be a fun romp and a clever mystery that will leave you looking forward to the next installment.
Donna Andrews' Meg Langslow series of mysteries is still going strong, primarily because the times change. Meg has gone from a single woman to a married woman, to a married woman with two children. She herself is still the same core individual, but circumstances have changed how she behaves. From a couple of outsiders, Meg and Michael are now One-Of-Us as far as the town is concerned, and they're dedicated to the town's survival as well. However, a mother of two young children has other priorities as well, and can't go haring off on adventures just because she wants to. Meg has had to come to terms with her inability to do everything herself and to allow others to do their share as well. It's made her a stronger person, which adds depth, not to mention a lot of other neat characters, to an already highly enjoyable setting.