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    Review of WE'LL ALWAYS HAVE PARROTS by Donna Andrews


    Thomas Dunne, St. Martin's Minotaur, February 2004

    It's an ordinary fan convention, celebrating the stars of a 'B' grade television show, Porfira, Queen of the Jungle. Meg Langslow accompanies her actor-boyfriend Michael and hopes to sell some of her swords (Meg is a blacksmith). But ordinary SF conventions are anything but ordinary. Parrots and monkeys escape and run wild in the hotel, space-suit clad fans mingle with angry writers and actors, and everyone is angry with leading lady Wynncliffe-Jones. But when the actress ends up killed, her dying words echoed by an African Gray parrot, Meg knows she needs to get to the bottom of the mystery. Because if she doesn't, her boyfriend is likely to be a chief suspect.

    With occasional assistance from her nerotic doctor-father, Meg explores the world of comic books (graphic novels) on which Porfira was based, the 1960s culture that spawned some pretty good art and bad story-telling, and the web of contracts and bad will that Wynncliffe-Jones used to maintain control over the Porfira franchise.

    This was a very funny book. Author Donna Andrews (see more reviews of mysteries by Andrews) has an eye for the zany world of fantasy fans, prima-donna actors, and ambivalent family relations. Protagonist Meg Langslow makes a good and sympathetic character with real personality and skills.

    I picked up my first Meg Langslow mystery (see review of Crouching Buzzard, Leaping Loon) because of the title and WE'LL ALWAYS HAVE PARROTS is another great title. What's great, though, is finding a book that can live up to a title like this. And Andrews delivers exactly that book. Anyone who enjoys a slightly zany approach to mystery, kick-ass female protagonists, and a tongue-in-cheek look at American culture will want to get their hands on this one. Highly recommended.

    Four Stars

    Reviewed 4/17/04

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