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Gone Gull: A Meg Langslow Mystery by Donna…
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Gone Gull: A Meg Langslow Mystery (edition 2018)

by Donna Andrews (Author)

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Member:tardis
Title:Gone Gull: A Meg Langslow Mystery
Authors:Donna Andrews (Author)
Info:St. Martin's Paperbacks (2018), Edition: Reprint, 320 pages
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Tags:mystery

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Gone Gull by Donna Andrews

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Meg Lanslow and her husband Michael Waterson are teaching blacksmithing and theater respectfully at Meg's grandmother Cordelia's art center in the mountains of Virginia called the Biscuit Mountain Craft Center. Her grandfather with his photographer assistant is teaching nature photography. But nowhere Meg goes that murder doesn't follow and soon the despised art teacher Edward Prine is found by Meg with a knife in the back.

They were already dealing with a vandal who turned up the kiln and messed up the pottery, left the windows open on a rainy day and got the watercolors class's pictures destroyed, as well as poured paint on the art classes paintings, and then messed up the photography for the nature class, That was all last week. They had hoped the vandal left with those students. Then someone put S & M lingerie on the clotheslines in the children's theater class. Some of the teachers are new, but some are the same. The same with the students, which makes it hard to figure out who is doing the vandalism.

Cordelia suspects that the Jazz Hands Company which holds a summer program is possibly behind the vandalism because they are threatening to sue her for opening a summer craft program in the area. The other suspect is Smith Corporation who wants to buy her land and develop it. They could be getting someone, either a student or teacher, to sabotage the Craft Center. Some of the teachers worked at the Jazz Hands Company at one point or another including Prine.

Also, a few of the teachers were involved in a venture with Prine where they put in what money they could and worked if they couldn't contribute as much money. The idea was to open a craft store and cut out the middleman and make more profit for themselves. But Prine, who put the most money in cut out early, taking his money with him and the venture failed. Some are still in debt and haven't recovered from it and one lost his marriage to it.

A student is killed in the pottery room and found by Meg. Then there's also the case of the picture Prine took of some gull's thought to be extinct that her grandfather wants her to figure out where they are. Between that and the vandalism and the murders, Meg's got her work cut out for her in this delightful mystery that will keep you guessing right up till the end. I give this book four out of five stars. ( )
  nicolewbrown | Nov 7, 2018 |
For Gone Gull, book 21 in her Meg Langslow mystery series, Ms. Andrews has returned to the scene of book 17, The Good, the Bad, and the Emus.

When we met Meg in book one, Murder With Peacocks, Meg felt like the odd one. Her older sister, Pam, and younger brother, Rob, took after their mother, the lovely and gracious Margaret, whose extensive Hollingsworth family includes a number of useful members. Meg looks nothing like the Hollingsworths. Nor does she look like her father, Dr. James Langslow, who was an adopted foundling. Meg is the organized one. From whom did she inherit her looks and that skill? (By the way, although several characters have 'Doctor' in front of their names, they're PhDs. James is the only medical doctor.)

It wasn't from Dr. Montgomery Blake, James' famous biological father, whom we met in book 8, The Penguin Who Knew Too Much. Blake is eccentric enough to be a Hollingsworth. He's been a regular part of the cast ever since. He did let Meg know that she was the spitting image of Cordelia, his long-lost love.

We finally met Cordelia Lee Mason in book 17 and Meg very obviously takes after her. Cordelia has bought the old abandoned Biscuit Mountain Pottery Factory that had belonged to her family and turned it into a craft center. Her blacksmith granddaughter has helped her sign on some teachers for the first classes. One of them is Amanda Walker, Meg's friend from one of my personal favorites in the series: book 3, Revenge of the Wrought-Iron Flamingos. She's teaching weaving.

Dr. Blake, assisted by his staff nature photographer, Baptiste Deshommes, and his son, is teaching nature photography. His old friend, the delightful Dr. Caroline Willner, is also helping Monty. Meg's cousin, Rose Noire, is teaching a class on herbs. Meg's husband. Dr. Michael Waterston,. is teaching acting to children, including their eight-year-old twins, Josh and Jamie.

Meg's nephew, Eric McReady, who used to be the little kid to enjoy and worry about, is helping to mind the twins. His older brother, Kevin, the cyber whiz, plays an important role, if only through phone calls and texts/email. A phone call is all we get to 'see' of Rob in this book, though I can assure fans that Mrs. Langslow does put in an actual appearance. So does Spike, who has been a part of this series since book one. (Spike was originally Meg's mother-in-law's dog, but Ms. Andrews found a way to stick Meg and Michael with him.)

We open with the second week of classes, where one of Meg's students, Victor 'The Klutz' Winter, is being his annoying self. How annoying? Meg shares a few of her homicidal fantasies with us. There's been a problem with vandalism. Is Victor the vandal? Or is it the student they call 'The Slacker'? (We don't learn his name until the last chapter). Mrs. Venable, the older student whom Dr. Blake dislikes intensely -- with good reason -- is another suspicious character. Jenni Santo is a student known to wander. Could any of them be working for the two men who want to put the craft center out of business? Calvin Whiffletree, owner of the rival Jazz Hands Art Academy, is one. (Kevin refers to it as Jazz Hands Craft Academy in chapter 4, but that's probably just a mistake.) Developer Charles Rahn, owner of Smith Enterprises, is the other.

There are other teachers at the center. Edward Prine, the painter, has the worst personality. Marty, the fabulous cook, is in the running for the worst temper. Of course mere vandalism soon turns to murder. Aside from being an excuse to bring in cousin Horace Hollingsworth for his forensic expertise a bit earlier than his planned classes, it solves one of the center's problems.

The gull in the title will be explained in chapter 5. Those gulls will be a running subplot.

Chapter notes (name dropping, in order of appearance, will be at the end of each chapter's notes):

Chapter 2:

a. Don't miss Cordelia's suggested announcement about the unexpected display in the children's rehearsal room., not to mention Meg's thoughts about her paternal grandparents' relations.

b. The Marquis de Sade is mentioned.

Chapter 3:

a. Look here for a short recap of the history of The Biscuit Mountain Art Pottery and a description of what it looks like as a craft center.

b. Amanda's story about how her church dealt with their vandalism problem is entertaining.

c. Look here for Meg's description of Marty the gourmet cook's disposition and the garbage problem.

Chapter 4:

a. We get the scoop on what Jazz Hands is like as a workplace.

b. Look here for which twin will be playing Peter Pan and which Captain Hook.

c. The Trojan horse and Arthur Rackham's fairy paintings are mentioned.

Chapter 5:

a. We learn what Dr. Blake has against Mrs. Irma Venable.

b. Moses, the Disney movie 'Swiss Family Robinson,' and Agatha Christie are mentioned..

Chapter 6:

a. Baptiste regularly does photo shoots for 'Nature', and 'National Geographic'.

b. Dr. Blake explains about George Ord, who was a real 19th century naturalist. Ord's gull appears to be fictional, though.

Chapter 7: 'People' and 'The Washington Post' are mentioned.

Chapter 9:

a. Rose Noire's studio is described.

b. Tchaikovsky's 'Dance of the Sugar Plum Fairy,' George Carlin's 'Seven Words You Can Never Say on Television', Fort Knox, and Victoria's Secret.are mentioned.

Chapter 10:

a. See book 4, We'll Always Have Parrots for Michael's acting on the fictional cult TV show. (That one's another personal favorite of mine. I've attended science fiction and media conventions. They didn't have a murder, but some of the fans attending were types you'll see in the book.)

b. Dr. Langslow tends to get his fingers in the way when he takes photos.

c. King Kong and Barbie the fashion doll are used for comparisons.

Chapter 11: We learn about the defunct Dock Street Craft Collective.

Chapter 12:

a. Baptiste is reading a copy of Des Chauve-souris, des singes, et des hommes. His childhood was spent in one of Haiti's most dangerous communes.

b. Etsy.com is mentioned.

Chapter 14:

a. Baptiste is very loyal to Dr. Blake and has saved his life many times.

b. The twins sing 'A Spoonful of Sugar,' 'Supercalifragilisticexpialidocious,' and 'Feed the Birds' from 'Mary Poppins'.

c. The Leucophaeus modestus or grey gull of the Atacama Desert is mentioned. (I learned about the Atacama Desert in episode five of 'Planet Earth,' a TV series well worth watching.) Also mentioned are Sherlock Holmes, Inspector Clouseau of the Pink Panther movies, 'Mary Poppins,' and '101 Dalmatians'.

Chapter 16: Dr. Blake has named the search for Ord's Gull 'Operation Gull Quest'.

Chapter 18:

a. We learn what Cordelia did so the craft center has cell phone reception.

b. Rob Langslow's phone call cameo is here.

c. Agatha Christie's Miss Marple is mentioned.

Chapter 20:

a. We learn why Biscuit Mountain is part of Riverton, not the county.

b. Eeyore, the depressed donkey from A. A. Milne's Winnie-the-Pooh stories, 'Star Wars: a New Hope,' and 'Deep Throat' (the 1972 porno film) are mentioned.

Chapter 21

a. Jazz Hands Art Academy is in Charlottesville. Crozet is nearby.

b. The old mystery show 'Columbo' is mentioned.

Chapter 22:

a. We learn more about Cousin Mary Margaret.

b. Agatha Christie's And Then There Were None (a very good mystery and movie) is mentioned.

Chapter 23:

a. Caerphilly (pronounced 'car--FIL-ly'), Police Chief Burke has sent a couple of his deputies to help out. One of them is series regular Vern Shiffley.

b. Biscuit Mountain Craft Center has a 'Storytelling Glade'. It's described.

Chapter 24:

a. This is the spot where Meg complains about the local birds' calls. She also has a nightmare involving Dr. Blake and Hitchcock's famous film, 'The Birds'.

b. Jamie's paintings are more precise and detailed, but Josh has more dramatic flair for color. One of Josh's paintings is described.

Chapter 25:

a. Mrs. Langslow's reaction to Meg's phone call made me laugh aloud.

b. Mrs. Langslow is going to recruit Cousin Lydia's son, Jason (the Navy SEAL, home on leave), and Cousin Lance (the retired Marine who has a combination gym and mixed martial arts studio) to help out.

c. There are several Teds among the Hollingsworths. The fiercest is an IRS auditor.

d. Lance and Jason are 20 years apart in age.

Chapter 26:

a. Three employees from Rob's company, Mutant Wizards, (a company we got to meet in book 4, Crouching Buzzard, Leaping Loon), arrive.

b. Attorney cousin Festus Hollingsworth gets a phone cameo here. (He's representing Cordelia in the problem with Jazz Hands. Loved his opinion on their attorney, E. Willis Jasperson. Cousin Festus was introduced in book 13, The Real Macaw).

Chapter 27: Cordelia's Biscuit Mountain property is surrounded by Park Service land.

Chapter 28.

a. Sergeant Hampton of the State Police is allergic to sage. (So much for Rose Noire's amusing cleansing efforts in chapters 22-23.)

b. The Pixar Animation Studios movie 'Toy Story' is mentioned.

Chapter 29: Cordelia and Mrs. Langslow have been known to stay up talking until dawn.

Chapter 30: Look here for a couple of incidents where Spike's growl wasn't his normal one.

Chapter 32:

a. See chapter 16 of The Good, the Bad, and the Emus for when Meg had the same thought when she was at Pudding Mountain.

b. Personally, I'm shocked that Mrs. Langslow hasn't already called her best friend Mrs. Fenniman to help.

This is my favorite cozy mystery series that's still ongoing (thank goodness!). There's plenty of the humor that makes these books such a delight to read. I'm glad to see so many of the usual gang, even if a couple get only cameos. I'm particularly happy to see more of Cordelia. While there's enough information that a new reader should be able to follow the story, I really recommend reading the entire series, especially in order.

Dog lovers in general, and definitely fans of Spike, also known as the "Small Evil One', rejoice! The fluffy fiend has more than a mere cameo this time! ( )
  JalenV | Oct 2, 2017 |
Author Donna Andrews has outdone herself yet again! It's another delightful mystery romp for hammer wielding, blacksmithing, mother of twins Meg Langslow. This time it all centers around her great-grandmother's craft retreat center. No rest for this crafty heroine!

This is the 21st installment in the Meg Langslow mystery series and there's not a bad one in the bunch.

Synopsis (from book's dust jacket):
Meg Langslow is spending the summer at the Biscuit Mountain Craft Center, helping her grandmother Cordelia run the studios. But someone is committing acts of vandalism, threatening to ruin the reputation of the newly-opened center. Is it the work of a rival center? Have the developers who want to build a resort atop Biscuit Mountain found a new tactic to pressure Cordelia into selling? Or is the real target Meg's grandfather, who points out that any number of environmentally irresponsible people and organizations could have it in for him?

While Meg is trying to track down the vandal, her grandfather is more interested in locating a rare gull. Their missions collide when a body is found in one of the classrooms. Can Meg identify the vandal and the murderer in time to save the center's name--while helping her grandfather track down and rescue his beloved gull?

Gone Gull brings readers yet another knee-slapping adventure filled with Andrews' cast of wacky characters. ( )
  KateBaxter | Sep 4, 2017 |
Murder has never been funnier than it is in the hands of Donna Andrews and her creation Meg Langslow. Andrews is as reliable as they come when you are looking for a fun cozy mystery to settle down with. Gone Gull is another winner!

Gone Gull sees Meg Langslow out of Caerphilly and up on Biscuit Mountain helping grandmother Cordelia get her craft center studios running. Acts of vandalism are upsetting the students and the teachers. As Meg begins to compile a list of suspects, the case becomes more serious when a body is discovered. Are the crimes related or coincidental? The list of suspects and targets is dizzying. A rival center? A greedy developer? Personal rivalries and vendettas? In the midst of all this, Meg’s grandfather is hot on the trail of a breed of gull long thought extinct. But is her grandfather a target, or a suspect? And can Meg unravel it all in time to save Cordelia’s studio from bankruptcy and keep her family safe?

The seemingly endless clan of Langslow relatives are both a tremendous resource and an incredible distraction. It is spending time with these looney and resourceful people that makes these books fly by and keep a smile on your face the whole time. Half of Meg’s time is spent trying to solve the crime and the other half corralling her wayward family, particularly her irascible, curmudgeonly grandfather.

Andrews keeps the pages turning with suspects, new motives and theories, red herrings and dead ends before ultimately arriving at the solution. She juggles a large and familiar cast while introducing a fair share of new and interesting characters, both enjoyable and despicable. Chapters end on mini cliff-hangers that defy you to put the book down.

Gone Gull will satisfy long-time fans and win legions of new ones. There is satisfaction in following Meg’s adventures from the beginning, but there is enough exposition in each book that new readers can jump in at any point. Either way you choose to experience it, you are in for a treat. Highly recommended!

I was fortunate to receive an advance copy of this book ( )
  tottman | Jul 31, 2017 |
The newly minted Biscuit Mountain Craft Center has been experiencing a raft of vandalism. Meg Langslow is there to teach blacksmithing and support her grandmother, who owns Biscuit Mountain. When Meg discovers the body of one of the other instructors, she adds sleuthing to her list of duties.

After twenty previous entries in the series, there aren't a lot of surprises here. Quirky, well-drawn characters--including much of the Langslow family--and deft plotting makes for a satisfying read.

A lot of the charm is spending more time with Meg and company, but newcomers could definitely start here without being lost--and then go hunt up the rest of the series. ( )
  readinggeek451 | Jun 8, 2017 |
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Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Donna Andrewsprimary authorall editionscalculated
Henson, JoeAuthor photosecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Parr, MaggieCover artistsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Rotstein, David BaldeosinghCover designersecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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[Cordelia, talking about the painting teacher, Edward Prine]

'Don't object to nudes, ' she told me afterward. 'Or scantily clad women. But some of our students don't have my broadminded approach, and besides, that man could make a fully clad portrait of Mamie Eisenhower look smutty and suggestive'. (chapter 3)
[Meg has called her mother]

'Meg, dear,' Mother said. 'You haven't had another murder have you? I know your father would be excited by it, but really, this is getting out of hand.' (chapter 25)
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Gone Gull brings readers yet another knee-slapping adventure filled with New York Times bestselling author Donna Andrews’ cast of wacky characters.

Meg is spending the summer at the Biscuit Mountain Craft Center, helping her grandmother Cordelia run the studios. But someone is committing acts of vandalism, threatening to ruin the newly-opened center’s reputation. Is it the work of a rival center? Have the developers who want to build a resort atop Biscuit Mountain found a new tactic to pressure Cordelia into selling? Or is the real target Meg’s grandfather, who points out that any number of environmentally irresponsible people and organizations could have it in for him?

While Meg is trying to track down the vandal, her grandfather is more interested in locating a rare gull. Their missions collide when a body is found in one of the classrooms. Can Meg identify the vandal and the murderer in time to save the center’s name—while helping her grandfather track down and rescue his beloved gulls? [retrieved 8/3/17 from Amazon.com]
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"Gone Gull brings readers yet another knee-slapping adventure filled with New York Times bestselling author Donna Andrews' cast of wacky characters. Meg Langslow is spending the summer at the Biscuit Mountain Craft Center, helping her grandmother Cordelia run the studios. But someone is committing acts of vandalism, threatening to ruin the newly-opened center's reputation. Is it the work of a rival center? Have the developers who want to build a resort atop Biscuit Mountain found a new tactic to pressure Cordelia into selling? Or is the real target Meg's grandfather, who points out that any number of environmentally irresponsible people and organizations could have it in for him? While Meg is trying to track down the vandal, her grandfather is more interested in locating a rare gull. Their missions collide when a body is found in one of the classrooms. Can Meg identify the vandal and the murderer in time to save the center's name--while helping her grandfather track down and rescue his beloved gulls?"--… (more)

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