Review: The Nightingale Before Christmas by Donna Andrews

January 15, 2016 Reviews 0 Comments

Review: The Nightingale Before Christmas by Donna AndrewsThe Nightingale Before Christmas by Donna Andrews
Series: Meg Langslow #18
Genres: Cozy Mystery
Published by Minotaur on 6 October 2015
Pages: 320
Reading Challenges: 2016 TBR Pile Reading Challenge
Goodreads
One StarOne StarOne Star

 

Meg is supervising a group of interior designers who have been commissioned to decorate a room in a derelict house before it is auctioned off.  The winning designer gets money donated to their chosen charity. It is basically a variation of Australian reality tv show ‘The Block’ (minus the camera crew). The house is plagued with problems courtesy of one obnoxious designer who seems to go out of his way to rile up the others. When he is murdered, Meg pops on her investigating hat and gets stuck in.

I can’t believe that we are up to 18 books. I started reading these when I was a moody, cozy mystery book loving teen and although I’ve missed a few I keep coming back because they are fun, quick reads.

The good bits

Andrews has her formula down pat by now – Meg is involved in organising something even though she doesn’t really want to, her crazy family intervenes, a nasty person is bumped off, Meg investigates etc. Sure there is a bit of variation but essentially that is it. This works out well for a Christmas book as it is a comforting escape from the hustle and bustle of the holiday season.

In this genre, it is often the protagonist, engaging world and the denouement that are paramount. I felt that Andrews got the first two just right and did okay with the last one.  Meg is super busy as usual trying to wrangle the designers into some sort of order and much like herding cats she has limited success. She fares much better when it comes to the cute family moments with her husband and twins.

The not so good bits

There isn’t much in the way of real investigating as suspects fall over themselves to give Meg their alibis and the red herrings are a little too sparse. I worked out who was guilty in the first couple of chapters and waited for Meg to catch up. Given that this is meant to be a holiday read when people are really distracted, this isn’t as much of a problem as it would be for any other time of the year.

I really missed Meg’s father helping her solve the case. His enthusiasm is infectious and a stark contrast to his often cold and bossy wife.

Verdict

A solid holiday cozy mystery that is heavy on the Christmas cheer.

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