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The Penguin Who Knew Too Much (Meg Langslow Series #8)

The Penguin Who Knew Too Much (Meg Langslow Series #8)

4.0 31
by Donna Andrews

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Hold on to your hats, everybody! Donna Andrews is taking us on another ride into the wonderful world of Meg Langslow, a world filled with laughter as well as the knotty problems Meg always seems to encounter and---somehow---solve.
Okay, maybe there are people in Antarctica with penguins in their basements, but in Virginia? Only Meg's dad could manage that


Hold on to your hats, everybody! Donna Andrews is taking us on another ride into the wonderful world of Meg Langslow, a world filled with laughter as well as the knotty problems Meg always seems to encounter and---somehow---solve.
Okay, maybe there are people in Antarctica with penguins in their basements, but in Virginia? Only Meg's dad could manage that one. A body down there---well, that's somewhat more likely.

It turns out that explaining the penguins' presence is easy---Meg's dad volunteered to take care of the birds until the future of the bankrupt local zoo could be determined. But identifying the body in the basement proves a harder task---could it be, as Meg fears, that of the vanished zoo owner?

In the small southern town of Caerphilly, rumors fly quickly, and all the other well-meaning citizens who have agreed to take in zoo animals are now worried that they might be stuck with their guests indefinitely. So when Meg's dad generously offers to help out anyone who can no longer care for their four-legged charges, a parade of wild creatures begins to make Meg and Michael's newly renovated house look more like Noah's ark.

Meg and Michael have been planning to elope in order to avoid the elaborate wedding their mothers have begun to organize---a plan that's threatened by both the murder investigation and the carnival of animals. The only way to set things right, Meg decides, is to identify both their uninvited visitor and the killer who put him in their basement.

The award-winning Donna Andrews has demonstrated her immense talent by creating and nurturing a series that continues to delight and surprise with each new book.

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly

In Agatha-winner Andrews's deliciously daffy eighth Meg Langslow mystery (after 2006's No Nest for the Wicket), blacksmith Meg and her fiancé, Michael, are at last moving into their new house in Caerphilly, Va., assisted (and occasionally hindered) by Meg's vast clan of maternal relations. Then Meg's dad announces that, while digging a pool in the new house's basement for penguins fostered from a bankrupt local zoo, he has discovered a dead body. As the police investigate, more fostered animals arrive at Meg's place, and when the zoo's missing owner turns out to be the corpse, Meg has to sort out the mystery, along with her plans to elope and the problems relating to various animals roaming around her property. As usual, Meg takes the familial eccentricities in stride while coping with one crisis after another. Andrews demonstrates her absolute mastery of the comedic mystery, deftly balancing outrageously funny scenes with well-paced suspense. Author tour. (Aug.)

Copyright 2007 Reed Business Information
Kirkus Reviews
Not just penguins, but llamas, camels, hyenas, snakes, lemurs, wolves, sheep, Lola the bobcat and some passing strange human fauna disrupt Meg Langslow's housewarming. What would make you even less happy than finding a flock of penguins in the basement of the farmhouse you and your fiance had expensively restored? Finding a dead body-especially if it's the body of J. Patrick Lanahan, the improvident zookeeper who'd pressed Meg's endlessly obliging father to babysit the Caerphilly (Va.) Zoo's tenants until the zoo emerged from bankruptcy. Now someone armed with a crossbow has ended Lanahan's financial woes and brought Meg (No Nest for the Wicket, 2006, etc.) a Noah's Arkload of troubles. Quite apart from all the problems her instant zoo poses, Meg has to deal with an acting Medical Examiner who's too claustrophobic to go down to her basement; a world-famous naturalist who won't stop sniffing around her family; a pair of spade-toting brothers convinced their great-uncle's buried on her farm; an animal-rights activist whose group, Save Our Beasts, still pickets the Caerphilly Zoo even though no one's there; and a farm-goods saleswoman determined to harvest Meg's copious new supply of manure for her ZooperPoop! It's no wonder that when the hard-used heroine finally confronts the killer, he responds testily, "There's no need to snap at me."Andrews continues her mission to turn all Meg's most memorable life-cycle events into bedlam-laced farce. Agent: Ellen Geiger/Frances Goldin Literary Agency
From the Publisher

“Deliciously daffy.” —Publishers Weekly (starred review)

“Andrews always leavens the mayhem with laughs. So march yourself down to the bookstore or library and check out The Penguin Who Knew Too Much.” —Richmond Times-Dispatch (Virginia)

“Andrews' eighth Meg-centric mystery moves along like the best beach reads.” —Entertainment Weekly

“If you long for more ‘fun' mysteries, à la Janet Evanovich, you'll love Donna Andrews's Meg Langslow series.” —The Charlotte Observer

“The levelheaded, unflappable Meg takes it all in stride…This eighth cozy in the series makes the most of humorous situations, zany relatives, and lovable characters.” —Booklist

“A classic whodunit…wraps suspense, humor, and a screwball cast of characters into a mystery novel with stand-up quality.” —About.com

“Always a treat.” —Romantic Times BOOKreviews

“Andrews has mastered the art of writing farce with style and wit, although she sometimes goes over the top--literally, in a scene with sloths swinging from chandeliers.” —Mystery Scene

Product Details

St. Martin's Press
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Meg Langslow Series , #8
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The Penguin Who Knew Too Much
Chapter 1"Meg! Guess what I found in your basement?"I looked up from the box I was unpacking to see Dad standing in the basement doorway, his round face shining with excitement."A body?" An unlikely guess, but Dad was a big mystery buff--perhaps if I amused him, he'd stop playing guessing games on moving day."Oh, rats--you already knew? Well, how soon will the police get here? I need to move the penguins--we don't want them any more upset than they already are."He disappeared down the basement stairs without waiting for an answer. I abandoned my unpacking to call after him."Dad? I was joking. Did you really find a body? And why are there penguins in our basement? Dad!"No answer. Should I go down to see what was happening, or call the police? Damn! I closed my eyes and counted to ten. Normally counting to ten calmed me, but today it just gave me time to realize how much more could go wrong elsewhere in the house. On cue, I heard the crash of something breaking, followed by a sheepish "Oops!" from my brother, Rob, in the front hall. In the living room, Mother ordered a brace of cousins to move the sofa to yet another location. She'd been at it for an hour, and so far only three pieces of furniture had made it from the truck to the house.In the dining room, Mrs. Fenniman, Mother's distant cousin and closest ally, was singing an Italian aria, changing pitch every dozen notes, which meant she'd had a few martinis already and we'd have to redo the walls after she'd painted them.I'd only reached seven when Rob interrupted me."Meg? You know that big cut-glass punch bowl? Is that a particular favorite of yours?""Don't you mean was it a particular favorite?" I asked as I pulled my cell phone out of my pocket. "And no, but Mother was quite fond of it, so see if you can sweep up the pieces before she notices. Broom's over there.""Right-o."I dialed 911. I wasn't sure the situation quite warranted 911, but I hadn't memorized the nonemergency number for the Caerphilly Police Department and I had no idea which box contained the phone book."Hello--Debbie Anne?" I said when the dispatcher answered. "This is Meg Langslow.""Meg! How's the move-in going? And what's the problem?""Slowly. And the problem is that Dad says he's found a body in the basement.""Oh, Lord," Rob said. He stopped in the doorway, broom and dustpan in hand, the better to eavesdrop."Is he serious?" Debbie Anne asked after a moment. "I mean, if it's just some kind of practical joke--""He sounded serious," I said. "And I thought I should call you first instead of wasting time going to look myself, and possibly disturbing a crime scene.""I'll tell Chief Burke you said so. If it turns out to be some kind of mix-up ..."Her voice trailed off. I knew what she was thinking. Quiteapart from the major-league practical jokers in my family, there was Dad, with his well-known mystery obsession."If it's a mix-up, I'll call back right away," I said, and hung up."Did he really find a body?" Rob asked."So he says.""Don't you think you should have checked before calling the cops?""If he was pulling my leg, I'll let him explain it to Chief Burke.""I still think you should check for yourself.""I'm going to--want to come?"Rob, who fainted at the mere idea of blood, shook his head and hurried back to the hall.I took the stairs to the basement.The smell hit me first.Not the rank smell of a decaying body or the tang of newly spilled blood, both of which I'd had a chance to experience while tagging along after Dad--less while he pursued his medical practice, of course, than during his repeated attempts to involve himself in murder investigations, like the protagonists of the mystery books he read by the dozen.No, this smell was a cross between a barn in dire need of cleaning and a fish market that had lost power for a few days. I deduced that I was smelling penguins. The stench wafted from the unfinished, far end of the basement, the part under the library wing, where the concrete floor gave way to packed dirt.I also heard muted honking and trilling noises. I followed my nose and ears.I should have brought a flashlight. This side of the basement was not only unfinished, it was unelectrified. And to get to the far end, where Dad was, I had to traverse a part near the stairsthat the pack rat former owner had turned into a perfect warren of ramshackle storage rooms."Chief Burke? Is that you?" Dad appeared around a corner, carrying a flashlight."He's on his way," I said. "Where's the body?""This way!" Dad was grinning with obvious delight at showing off the house's exciting new feature.Not a feature that had been there when my fiancé, Michael, and I bought the place, I suspected. The rambling three-story Victorian house had been so packed with junk by the previous owner that we hadn't initially realized quite how badly in need of repair it was. But I'd spent several months crawling over every inch of the place, getting rid of decades of clutter, and then several more months supervising the repairs--at least the ones we'd decided we had to do before moving in. For that matter, we'd been living on-site for months--camping out first in the ramshackle house and more recently in the barn while the house was repaired. Surely by now I'd have noticed a body lying around, even in this remote and as-yet unrenovated corner of the basement.Dad and I emerged from the maze of storage rooms into the larger, dirt-floored open area. A couple of battery-powered Coleman lanterns hung from the ceiling, casting enough light for me to see the room. I didn't spot any penguins, though I could hear and smell them nearby. And I could see an excavation near the center of the room."Oh, wonderful," I said. "You didn't just find a body. You dug one up."THE PENGUIN WHO KNEW TOO MUCH. Copyright © 2007 by Donna Andrews. All rights reserved. No part of this book may be used or reproduced in any manner whatsoever without written permission except in the case of brief quotations embodied in critical articles or reviews. For information, address St. Martin's Press, 175 Fifth Avenue, New York, N.Y. 10010.

Meet the Author

Donna Andrews is the author of the Meg Langslow mysteries, including Stork Raving Mad and Swan for the Money. She has won the Agatha, Anthony, and Barry awards, a Romantic Times award for best first novel, and two Lefty and two Toby Bromberg Awards for funniest mystery. When not writing fiction, Andrews is a self-confessed nerd, rarely found away from her computer, unless she's messing in the garden. She lives in Reston, Virginia.

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The Penguin Who Knew Too Much (Meg Langslow Series #8) 4 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 31 reviews.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Is an unexpected development when they stayed in old neighborhood all seemed wacky southern family but cute titles dont have to include multibirds and enough is enough have remained faithful but should have started borrowing three books back
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Meg Langslow continues to teach us about birds of all sorts, as well as writing an enjoyable and interesting mystery. The Penguin Who Knew Too Much was fun to read and it was interesting for me to learn a bit about Penguins.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
TexasBonnieBelle More than 1 year ago
I have loved all her books up to this one (I am reading in order from #1). This book deals with a topic I can't personally tolerate and that is a form of animal cruelty. I won't go in to the details - suffice it to say I skipped over the parts that dealt with realities of that subject matter - you can tell it's coming and you can skip ahead a page or two and get by it. The rest of the book is typical lunacy abetted by the entire small zoo population being dropped off at Meg & Michael's new home in the Country. If you're waiting for Michael & Meg to get married and think this is the book where they finally tie the knot - it isn't. Close but no cigar - but then again maybe we aren't invited to the wedding.........
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Penguin39 More than 1 year ago
This is the first one of the Meg Lanslow series I read--bought it as a bargain book because I'm a penguin lover. After I read this one I went back and bought all the books in this series and started with #1, going right through to #13---am now waiting for #14 that I pre-ordered. I have since passed them on to my daughter since I was able to purchase them again for my Nook--if that had not been possible I would not have passed them on.
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Stoff More than 1 year ago
Wickets was a let down. Andrews picks back up with Penguin.
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kar66 More than 1 year ago
This was a fun book to read.. It was informational about zoos and zoo animals...It is a humorous mystery....Unusual format...
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jonikw More than 1 year ago
I've read one or two other books by Ms. Andrews, and have enjoyed each of them for their offbeat characters and situations. Love the extended family on the scene! Even laughed out loud while reading several sections.
jjamros More than 1 year ago
Silly, funny, weird characters -- good escape reading. With a huge cast of offbeat relatives, there is total confusion, and some good laughs-out-loud.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago