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Duck the Halls: A Meg Langslow Mystery by Donna Andrews
Cover Artist: Maggie Parr
Review by Paul Haggerty
Minotaur Books Hardcover  ISBN/ITEM#: 9781250028778
Date: 22 October 2013 List Price $24.99 Amazon US / Amazon UK

Links: Author's Website / Show Article /

Something stinks in Caerphilly, Virginia. Someone is targeting the churches of town for mischief. There are skunks, snakes, and ducks, oh my. At first the pranks are nasty (especially the skunks in the choir loft), but not physically harmful ... well, nothing that a bathtub of tomato juice won't fix. Being a week before Christmas, the town comes together to help out, and Meg Langslow is called upon to do her scheduling magic. But then a fire is the next big step up, as is the body that comes with it. Now Meg is caught up in lethal mystery, but still needs to keep all the holiday events on schedule, as well as still provide a magical Christmas for her husband and two young boys.

From official release/information:

Product Description: A few nights before Christmas, Meg is awakened when volunteer fireman 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. Vess, 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.  The next morning is Sunday, and the congregation of St. Byblig's, the local Catholic church, arrive to find it completely filled with several hundred ducks.

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. Vess is discovered dead. Who would have murdered such a harmless -- if slightly cranky -- old man? Who has the time during the busy holiday season to herd all of these animals into the town's churches?  And will Meg ever be able to finish all of her shopping, wrapping, cooking, caroling, and decorating in time for Christmas Eve? A Yuletide treasure for the ages, Duck the Halls is guaranteed to put the "ho ho hos" into readers' holidays.

(Source: Minotaur Books)

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