cover image The Twelve Jays of Christmas: A Meg Langslow Mystery

The Twelve Jays of Christmas: A Meg Langslow Mystery

Donna Andrews. Minotaur, $26.99 (320p) ISBN 978-1-250-76018-0

Agatha Award–winner Andrews’s fast-moving, high-spirited 30th Meg Langslow mystery (after Murder Most Fowl) finds witty Meg preparing to host her large extended family at her home in Caerphilly, Va., for the Christmas holidays. Unfortunately, she’s hampered by a sprained ankle, two wombats in the basement, and flocks of birds in the library. The birds were released from their cages by an unwanted houseguest, wildlife artist and “misogynistic jerk” Roderick Castlemayne, who’s in Caerphilly to illustrate the new book by Meg’s grandfather, an eminent naturalist and the owner of the zoo from which the furry and feathered guests have been brought to serve as models for the artist’s illustrations. When someone plunges a Swiss army knife into Castlemayne’s throat, the only people who are sorry to see him go seem to be the legions to whom he owes money. Ex-wives, bill collectors, and process servers are just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to suspects. This Christmas romp, complete with a litter of adorable puppies, will certainly please fans and newcomers alike. Andrews consistently entertains. Agent: Ellen Geiger, Frances Goldin Literary. (Oct.)