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    Review of SWAN FOR THE MONEY by Donna Andrews (see her blog)


    Minotaur, July 2009

    Meg Langslow isn't looking forward to presiding over a rose show--but once again, her mother didn't take no for an answer. Meg didn't realize, however, how bad it could get. Deer are eating her father's contenders for darkest rose and they've obviously been artificially attracted. Then someone absconds with the dog owned by the woman who owns the barns where the show is being held, leaving a threatening note behind. Actually, Meg soon learns that any threats are justified. Mrs. Winkleson has called the rose club members, telling them only white and black roses are allowed, terrorizes her household staff, and instantly sells (or worse) any animals born on her farm lacking a pure black-and-white appearance. It's not a huge surprise when Meg finds the woman's body stabbed...with Meg's own special garden shears. Unfortunately, it's the wrong woman.

    Author Donna Andrews (see more reviews of mysteries by Andrews) continues her Meg Langslow mystery series with a charming story of love, roses, mistaken identity and murder. As always in this series, animals steal a good part of the show, with angry swans and fainting goats joining hungry deer on center stage. Meg's odd family all show up to add eccentricity. Meg's grandfather is plotting some daring animal rescue, her parents have gotten into rose breeding in a serious way, her brother Rob continues to be incompetent, and her cousin, Rose Noire continues to attract all of the men. Meg's own husband is largely missing, but he's at a musical about Millard Filmore...unlikely to survive its opening night.

    I found SWAN FOR THE MONEY to be funny, informative (I now know more about rose breeding than I'd ever imagined), and offering an easy and breezy style that kept me turning the pages. The mystery itself might have been a little obvious, but Meg's assortment of friends, family and animals make for enjoyable reading.

    Four Stars

    Reviewed 12/14/09

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