No Nest for the Wicket (Meg Langslow Series #7)

( 17 )

Overview

"Croquet is a genteel game, usually played on a summer afternoon on a tranquil green lawn. Extreme croquet is a whole other story. That's what Meg Langslow and her new friends (whether she wants to call them friends or not) are playing on the several-acre farm of her new neighbor. It's a countryside studded with rocks, steep hills, and placid, seemingly immovable cows." "Extreme croquet is the current rage in Caerphilly, where Meg and her fiance, Michael, have bought a house. While this society game can get quite warm, it hasn't reached the stage ...
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No Nest for the Wicket (Meg Langslow Series #7)

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Overview

"Croquet is a genteel game, usually played on a summer afternoon on a tranquil green lawn. Extreme croquet is a whole other story. That's what Meg Langslow and her new friends (whether she wants to call them friends or not) are playing on the several-acre farm of her new neighbor. It's a countryside studded with rocks, steep hills, and placid, seemingly immovable cows." "Extreme croquet is the current rage in Caerphilly, where Meg and her fiance, Michael, have bought a house. While this society game can get quite warm, it hasn't reached the stage of actual homicide - at least not until Meg knocks her ball down a small cliff and encounters the body of a dead woman. Her head has been bashed in, illustrating, perhaps, one of the many uses of a croquet mallet. Meg finds herself further drawn in when it's discovered that the woman was seeking to expose the bad dealings of a certain local society lady's ancestors." In the meantime, the old house needs many basic improvements and swarms with an entire family of working men, including countless second cousins, sawing and pounding away. Meg's father is the overseer but is easily distracted since he has a tendency to become wrapped up in his current animal charges - this time it's ducks.
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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
"Fun, lively, charming."

Publishers Weekly

"If you long for more 'fun' mysteries, a la Janet Evanovich, you'll love Donna Andrews's Meg Langslow series."

The Charlotte Observer

"Andrews strikes just the right balance between comedy and suspense to keep the reader laughing and on the edge of one's seat....Fans of this series will no doubt enjoy this installment, while new readers...will be headed to the bookstore for the earlier books."

Romantic Times BOOKreviews (4 stars)

"Any day when I start reading about Meg is cause for delight. Ending the book makes me yearn for more than one per year. Hint."

Deadly Pleasures

"As usual, Andrews is a reliable source for those who like their murder with plenty of mayhem."

Kirkus Reviews

Publishers Weekly
An all-too-competitive game of "eXtreme croquet" set in an obstacle-ridden cow and sheep pasture in Caerphilly, Va., leads to murder in Agatha-winner Andrews's goofy seventh Meg Langslow mystery (after 2005's Owls Well That Ends Well). When Meg chases an errant shot into a gully, she discovers the fresh corpse of a woman with her head bashed in. The victim appears to have been done in with a croquet mallet-or was it a sledgehammer? Meg starts with a long list of suspects involved in a local campaign against developers who hope to transform the bucolic pasture area into an outlet mall. When the body is identified as Lindsay Tyler, a beautiful, manipulative former history professor with a checkered career and erstwhile romantic ties to Meg's fianc , Michael, the connections and motives multiply, bogging down the action. Still, the author's sense of fun and a lively, charming cast will please most cozy fans. (Aug.) Copyright 2006 Reed Business Information.
Kirkus Reviews
A small-town croquet tournament turns into a blood sport with mallets for all. Blacksmith Meg Langslow (Owl's Well That Ends Well, 2005, etc.) thought that hosting a weekend of eXtreme croquet would provide a pleasant diversion while workmen-all nephews of a local dairy farmer named Shiffley-demolished the damaged parts of the farmhouse she and fiance Michael Waterston hope to restore. But after dislodging a cow from a wicket set conveniently in the middle of a bog, Meg stumbles across a chic blonde corpse. So Caerphilly's Chief of Police Burke, accompanied by his wife and driver Minerva, brings the tourney to a screeching halt by crime-scene-taping the whole playing area. As shift after shift of Shiffleys pound on the roof, Meg's team captain, Mrs. Fenniman, cousin Rose Noire and their opponents Henrietta Pruitt, Claire Wentworth and Lacie Butler, along with May Briggs-whose developer husband is threatening to build an outlet mall on Shiffley's adjacent farm-two realtors named Suzie and three Morris dancers, all repair to Meg's house to consume scandalous amounts of breakfast meats and ponder how Lindsay Tyler, whose career as history professor at Caerphilly College was almost as short as her stint at the Caerphilly Historical Society, managed to get herself brained with a croquet mallet. As usual, Andrews is a reliable source for those who like their murder with plenty of mayhem.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780312997915
  • Publisher: St. Martin's Press
  • Publication date: 6/28/2007
  • Series: Meg Langslow Series , #7
  • Format: Mass Market Paperback
  • Edition description: REV
  • Pages: 320
  • Sales rank: 307,262
  • Product dimensions: 4.06 (w) x 6.74 (h) x 0.83 (d)

Meet the Author

Donna Andrews

Donna Andrews's first mystery, Murder with Peacocks, won the Agatha, Anthony, and Barry wards, a Romantic Times award for best first novel, and a Lefty for funniest mystery. She spends her free time gardening at her home in Reston, Virginia.

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Read an Excerpt

No Nest for the Wicket


By Andrews, Donna

St. Martin's Paperbacks

Copyright © 2007 Andrews, Donna
All right reserved.

ISBN: 9780312997915

Chapter One “Move,” I said. “You’re blocking my shot.” The cow chewed her cud and gazed at me with placid bovine calm. “Go away!” I ran toward her, waving my arms wildly, only to pull up short before I ran into her. She was bigger than I was. Half a ton at least. Maybe three-quarters. I turned my croquet mallet around and prodded her black-and-white flank with the handle. Not hard—I didn’t want to hurt her; I just wanted her to move. She turned her head slightly to see what I was doing. I prodded harder. She watched with mild interest. “Hamburger!” I shouted. “Flank steak! Filet mignon!” She ignored me. Of course, those words held no menace for her. Mr. Shiffley, her owner, was a dairy farmer. I walked a few yards away, feet squelching in the mud. I could see why the cow insisted on lounging where she was. The evergreen tree overhead protected her from the March drizzle, and she’d claimed the only high ground in sight. I glanced down. My croquet ball was sinking into the mud. Did the rules of eXtreme croquet allow me to pull it out? Probably not. The little two-way radio in my pocket crackled. “Meg—turn!” my brother, Rob, said. “Roger,” I said. The cow still lay in front of—or possibly on—the wicket, but I had tomove before the mud ate my ball. Didn’t mud that ate things count as quicksand? I set down the radio and whacked my ball. It bounced off the cow’s flank. She didn’t seem to mind. She had closed her eyes and was chewing more slowly, with an expression of vacuous ecstasy. “Done,” I said, grabbing the radio before it sank. “I need a cow removal here at wicket nine.” “Which one is that?” Rob asked. “The one by the bog.” “Which bog?” “The one just beside the brier patch. Near the steep hill with the icy stream at the bottom.” “Oh, that bog,” Rob said. “Be right over.” I pocketed the radio and smiled menacingly at  the cow. “Be afraid,” I said. “Be very afraid.” She ignored me. I leaned against a tree and waited. The radio crackled occasionally as Rob notified the scattered players of their turns and they reported when they’d finished. In the distance, I heard a high-pitched cackle of laughter, which meant my team captain, Mrs. Fenniman, had made a difficult shot. Or, more likely, had just roqueted some unlucky opponent, which she told me was the technical term for whacking someone’s ball into the next county. Annoying in any croquet game, but downright maddening in eXtreme croquet, where the whole point was to make the playing field as rugged as possible. On this field, being roqueted could mean half an hour’s detour through even boggier portions of the cow pasture. I pulled the cell phone out of my other pocket. Time to see what was happening back at the house—the construction site that would eventually be a house again, if all went well. Today we’d begun demolition of the unrepairable parts, and it was driving me crazy, not being there. I’d left detailed instructions with the workmen, but I didn’t have much confidence that they’d follow them. They were all Shiffleys, nephews of Mr. Shiffley the dairy farmer. Everyone in Caerphilly knew that if you wanted some manual labor done, you hired a Shiffley or two—or a dozen, if you liked; there was never a shortage. They were cheerful, honest, hardworking, and reliable, as long as you didn’t need anything done during hunting season. Everyone in Caerphilly also knew that when you had Shiffleys on the job, you needed someone else in charge. Not that they were stupid—some were and some weren’t, same as any other family—but they were stubborn and opinionated, every one of them, and you needed someone equally stubborn and opinionated telling them what to do. Me, for instance. Not only was I stubborn enough but, thanks to my work as a blacksmith, they halfway respected my opinions about related crafts like carpentry and plumbing. Michael, my fiancé, would do in a pinch, as long as he remembered to suppress his innate niceness. Unfortunately, Michael was in town, attending the dreaded all-day Caerphilly College faculty meeting. We had Dad in charge. I was worried. “Come on, Dad, pick up,” I muttered as his phone rang on unanswered. I heard rustling in the shrubbery—either another competitor approaching or Rob arriving for cow removal. Either would cut short my time for talking. “Meg!” Dad exclaimed when he finally answered. “How’s the game?” “I’m stuck in a bog with a cow sitting on my wicket,” I said. “How’s the demolition going?” “Fine the last time I looked.” “The last time you—Dad, aren’t you at the house?” “I’m up at the duck pond.” I closed my eyes and sighed. Two weeks ago, when I’d left Dad in charge of another crew of Shiffleys to install the new septic field, he’d talked them into excavating a duck pond. Apparently, Duck, my nephew’s pet duck, needed a place to paddle while visiting us. Or perhaps Dad thought Michael and I would soon acquire ducks of our own. Anyway, he’d sited the pond uphill from the septic field, but in a spot with exceptionally good drainage—so good that the pond didn’t hold water. Which hadn’t stopped Dad from trying to keep it full. “Let’s talk about the pond later,” I said. “I need you to keep an eye on the demolition crew. See that they don’t get carried away with the sledgehammers.” “Roger,” he said. “I’ll run right down. Oh, about those boxes in the front hall—the Shiffleys can work around them today, but next week—” “The boxes will be long gone by next week,” I said. “The professor from UVa should come by before five to haul them off; keep an eye out for her, will you?” “Roger. By the way, speaking of the duck pond—” “Gotta go,” I said. “Rob’s here for the cow.” I had spotted Rob peering through some shrubbery. “Man, I thought last month’s course was tough,” Rob said. “Who set this one up?” “Mrs. Fenniman,” I said. “Possibly with diabolical assistance. Did you bring Spike?” “Right here,” Rob said. He pushed through the thicket and set down a plastic dog carrier. He’d gouged a small notch in its door opening so he could put Spike inside without detaching the leash. Smart. I peered in through the mesh. “Cow, Spike,” I said. He growled in anticipation. I could see he’d already done cow duty elsewhere—his fluffy white coat had disappeared under a thick layer of mud. “Here we go,” Rob said, grabbing the leash. “Go get her, Spike!” A small brown blur shot toward the cow, barking and snarling. The cow must have met Spike before. She lurched to her feet with surprising agility and trotted off. Annoying that an eight-and-a-half-pound fur ball could strike fear in the heart of a cow when I couldn’t even keep her awake. “I’ll just move her a little farther while we’re at it,” Rob said. He grabbed the dog carrier and ambled off. “Not too far,” I said. “And remember, you’re supposed to get the milk out of the cow before churning it.” “Don’t worry,” Rob called over his shoulder. I hadn’t been worrying, only hoping Spike wouldn’t chase the cow quite so far off. Cows were welcome as long as they refrained from lying on the stakes and wickets—the rules of eXtreme croquet defined any livestock on the course as walking wickets. Hitting the ball between the legs of a standing cow would give me a much-needed extra shot. I didn’t want Spike chasing her toward a rival player. Yes, the cow had been lying on the wicket. I bent the battered wire into an approximation of its original shape, pounded it into the ground, and leaned against a tree to await my turn. But before it came, another player arrived. Henrietta Pruitt. I smiled and hoped it looked sincere. Mrs. Pruitt was captain of the Dames of Caerphilly, a team whose members were all big wheels in local society. I had no idea why they were here. When the Caerphilly Clarion ran the article announcing that Mrs. Fenniman had planned an eXtreme croquet tournament, I thought the townspeople would either laugh themselves silly or ignore the whole thing. Instead, we’d had to make room for two local teams. Either they were too embarrassed to withdraw when they learned this wasn’t a normal croquet tournament or they really wanted to play eXtreme croquet. All day, they’d slogged through the mud as if born to it. Maybe I’d misjudged them. “Well, fancy meeting you here,” Mrs. Pruitt said. “After you passed me a few wickets ago, I thought you’d be at the finishing stake by now.” Damn. Apparently, I’d had the lead for several wickets and never noticed. Of course, someone else could have passed both of us while we were stuck in various bogs. “This wicket’s tough,” I said. Not for her. Her ball sailed through on the first try, avoided the roots, and rolled down to tap my ball with a firm but gentle click. “Good shot,” I said. “All that golf and tennis pays off.” Maybe if I flattered her, she wouldn’t roquet me. “Yes,” she said. She looked left, down the hill toward the icy stream, then right, toward the brier patch. “It’s important to keep in shape, isn’t it?” She raised her mallet. I closed my eyes and tried not to wince at the sharp crack that sent my ball flying. I plunged into the thornbushes to find it while Mrs. Pruitt played on. I dodged poison ivy, cow pies, protruding roots, and the bleached and scattered bones of a sheep. Suddenly, I found myself perched on the edge of a steep bank, looking down at a gulley filled with more thornbushes and, by way of a change, lots of sharp, pointy rocks. “I think I’ll take a detour,” I muttered. But before I could retreat, the bank crumbled, and I found myself sliding down toward the thorns and pointy rocks. My mallet hit me in the stomach when I landed. For long seconds, I lay with my eyes closed, fighting to breathe. “Meg! Turn!” my radio said. I opened my eyes to answer and found myself staring into a pair of blue eyes. Strands of long blond hair fell around them, partly obscuring the woman’s face but not the eyes, which stared at me with unnerving intensity. “Are you all right?” I wheezed, shoving myself upright. No, she wasn’t. Someone had bashed in the back of her head. Copyright © 2006 by Donna Andrews. All rights reserved. 
 

Continues...

Excerpted from No Nest for the Wicket by Andrews, Donna Copyright © 2007 by Andrews, Donna. Excerpted by permission.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.
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Customer Reviews

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Sort by: Showing all of 18 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted February 2, 2013

    Love Meg!

    Meg and her friends and family are up to all sorts of "games." THis one is a little crazier that most and highly enjoyable!

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted October 12, 2012

    Very enjoyable,fun read love all the Meg Langslow mysteries

    Am reading all Langsglow mysteries. Trying to do it in order. Love my nook, allows me to have my entire library with me at all times.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted November 9, 2011

    Fun read,though not the authors best work.

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  • Posted July 25, 2011

    One of the funniest in the series!

    One of the funniest in the series. I really look forward to seeing what Megs crazy family are gonna do next.

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  • Posted February 14, 2011

    Not the best. Still Donna

    Not as good and drawn out as the pervious.
    The war story being a hoax made up by the librarian was
    a bit of a let down.

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  • Posted August 12, 2009

    the duckings

    i enjoyed the story line I have read other stories and it is very hard to quess who killed the victim

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  • Anonymous

    Posted August 28, 2006

    eXtreme Croquet Makes a Murderous Debut

    Meg Langslow¿s family never does anything by halves, and neither does she. She and her fiance Michael, have purchased a ¿fixer upper,¿ and are living in the barn while the house is being repaired. The Shiffleys are still in the demolition stage with mallets and hammers. Actually, Meg has a mallet in her hand too, a croquet mallet. The latest craze to entrance Caerphilly is eXtreme croquet played on her and Michael¿s and Mr. Shiffley¿s pastures. There are four teams in a tournament when Meg falls off a crumbling hill and lands next to a beautiful dead blonde. While no one says they knew the blonde, it turns out that almost everyone knew the blonde a disgraced, disgruntled, and blackmailing former Caerphilly College professor, Lindsay Tyler. Nothing is ever quite what it seems. For example, Rob, Meg¿s brother, is a computer game company¿s ceo, and you would think that he would be adept around computers, but, while he is the creative spark of his company, he is not a computer genius. Meg does better than he on the computer, and it¿s Kevin, their teen nephew, who is the computer geek. There¿s a Civil War battle that turns out to be a teenage prank, and a Shiffley uncle who contemplated selling his farm to a developer because none of his children or nephews wanted to farm. Through all the twists and plot turns, Meg is able to catch the killer, much to Chief Burke¿s disgust, and a good time is had by most, but especially the reader.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted June 2, 2006

    humorous whodunit

    During one particular weekend in Caerphilly blacksmith Meg Langslow and her fiancé Marley college drama professor Michael share a weekend that would drive a saint to sin. In addition to living in a stall while their house is undergoing major renovations, her land is being used as the playing field for eXtreme croquet. Meg is participating in the tournament where the field contains difficult obstacles including bogs, quicksand, briar patches, and poison ivy to name a few. --- When she falls down the gully while looking for a ball, Meg finds the body of a woman. After the police circulate a picture of the deceased, no one comes forth admitting they knew her. That is until Michael identifies the victim as Lindsay Tyler, a teacher at the nearby college. A host of suspects surface amongst the historical society, the college faculty, and even college students from out of town. Meg makes her inquiries as she now realizes the murdered woman misrepresented herself to gain access to historical documents. --- There are no words to adequately describe how amusing this novel is. Meg¿s interactions with people including her quirky relatives and the situations she ends up in will leave the audience laughing in delight. Her ability to juggle several crises while sleuthing will have readers admire her spirit and determination. Donna Andrews is one of the best authors at providing a humorous whodunit. --- Harriet Klausner

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  • Anonymous

    Posted July 28, 2011

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    Posted June 12, 2009

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    Posted August 12, 2010

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    Posted January 14, 2012

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    Posted September 3, 2012

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    Posted March 23, 2009

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    Posted January 27, 2009

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