The unflappable ornamental blacksmith-turned-detective Meg Langslow returns in this latest bird mystery by award-winning author Donna Andrews. Aficionados of MURDER WITH PEACOCKS and REVENGE OF THE WROUGHT-IRON FLAMINGOS will revel in Andrews’s trademark dry humor, offbeat characters, and disastrous events unfolding at another classic American setting. —Minotaur Books; 2004
After sustaining a blacksmith related injury, Meg works as a switchboard receptionist at her brother Rob’s computer gaming company, Mutant Wizards. In addition to answering calls, keeping frenzied fans away, and caring for the one-winged buzzard that sits in the reception area, Meg is also supposed to investigate “something fishy” going on in the office. The “something fishy” ends up being the murder of the office practical joker, Ted. Who was strangled and left to ride around the automated office mail cart until his body was discovered.
Despite the victim being an employee and the murder taking place in the office, none of the surviving employees suspect their coworkers could be the murderer or that they could be killed next. Having formerly close-knit co-workers accuse one another of murder or fear they could be murdered next, would have been a great way to infuse humor. Instead, the humor comes from sight gags from the supporting cast of overbearing in-laws, intrusive therapists, and overly passionate animal rights activists.
Meg learns through her investigation, that everyone at Mutant Wizards had a motive to kill Ted. Despite the large pool of suspects, Meg has no problems going out to pizza and flirting with her possibly murderous coworkers. The investigating police are utterly incompetent. They jump to wild conclusions and don’t even secure important locations, like the victim’s home. Allowing Meg and half the staff of Mutant Wizard to snoop uninterrupted. Well except for that falling moose head. Thank goodness the killer- for no real reason at all- confesses to the murder, because neither Meg nor the police would have solved the murder otherwise.
Crouching Buzzard, Leaping Loon definitely has all the loony-ness it’s title suggest. Unfortunately, it’s silliness sucked any tension or sense right out of the mystery.–Burn it!