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Toucan Keep a Secret by Donna Andrews
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Toucan Keep a Secret

by Donna Andrews

Other authors: See the other authors section.

Series: Meg Langslow (23)

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799231,444 (3.79)5
"A new side-splitting Meg Langslow mystery from award-winning, New York Times bestselling author of Gone Gull. Meg Langslow is at Trinity Episcopal locking up after an event and checking on the toucan Meg's friend Rev. Robyn Smith is fostering in her office. After hearing a hammering in the columbarium (the small building where cremated remains are held), Meg finds an elderly parishioner lying dead on the floor of the crypt. Several niches have been chiseled open; several urns knocked out; and amid the spilled ashes is a gold ring with a huge red stone. The curmudgeonly victim had become disgruntled with the church and ranted all over town about taking back his wife's ashes. Did someone who had it in for him follow him to the columbarium? Or was the motive grave robbery? Or did he see someone breaking in and investigate? Why was the ruby left behind? While the Chief Burke investigates the murder, Robyn recruits Meg to contact the families of the people whose ashes were disturbed. During this task, Meg learns many secrets about Caerphilly's history--and finds that the toucan may play a role in unmasking the killer. Clues and events indicate that a thief broke into the church to steal the toucan the night of the murder, so Meg decides to set a trap for the would-be toucan thief--who might also be the killer. Toucan Keep a Secret is the twenty-third book in New York Times bestselling author Donna Andrews' hilarious Mag Langslow mystery series"--… (more)

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Showing 1-5 of 9 (next | show all)
This is yet another charming addition to the Meg Langslow Mystery series.

The book opens with Meg on rotation to close up the church for the night when she hears a banging out by the columbarium. Our fearless Meg investigates yet has enough sense to call 911 and keep dispatcher Debbie Ann on the line while she checks on the goings-on. Of course, what does she find but a freshly dead parishioner among the disturbed ash niches of other long since passed parishioners as well as a single ruby ring.

Chief Burke is soon on scene to take over the murder investigation. Reverend Robyn asks Meg to seek out the surviving loved ones of the parishioners whose resting places were disturbed and in some cases destroyed. In her sensitivity to the situation, Robyn advises that the church will need to re-dedicate the cremains in the columbarium and the loved ones may wish to hold special services, take the cremains elsewhere or just allow the church to proceed as they would. Meg is on it and can't resist trying to solve the mystery as she makes her house calls.

This 23rd book of the series focuses mostly on Meg's derring-do and although the other usual charming characters appear in the story and we get to visit with them from time to time throughout, there is not lots of action involving them in this particular story. I for one love the family interaction described in previous books and rather missed it in this one. Regardless, it is still an entertaining cozy mystery which is refreshing in its light banter and charming wit. Now on to Meg's next adventure, "Lark! The Herald Angel Sings"!

Synopsis (from book's dust jacket):

Meg Langslow is at Trinity Episcopal locking up after an event and checking on the toucan Meg's friend Rev. Robyn Smith is fostering in her office. After hearing a hammering in the columbarium (the small building where cremated remains are held), Meg finds an elderly parishioner lying dead on the floor of the crypt. Several niches have been chiseled open; several urns knocked out; and amid the spilled ashes is a gold ring with a huge red stone.

The curmudgeonly victim had become disgruntled with the church and ranted all over town about taking back his wife's ashes. Did someone who had it in for him follow him to the columbarium? Or was the motive grave robbery? Or did he see someone breaking in and investigate? Why was the ruby left behind?

While the Chief Burke investigates the murder, Robyn recruits Meg to contact the families of the people whose ashes were disturbed. During this task, Meg learns many secrets about Caerphilly's history--and finds that the toucan may play a role in unmasking the killer. Clues and events indicate that a thief broke into the church to steal the toucan the night of the murder, so Meg decides to set a trap for the would-be toucan thief--who might also be the killer.

Toucan Keep a Secret is the twenty-third book in New York Times bestselling author Donna Andrews' hilarious Mag Langslow mystery series. ( )
  KateBaxter | Jan 1, 2019 |
I was fortunate enough to win TOUCAN KEEP A SECRET by Donna Andrews from Laurie Ham at Kings River Life Magazine (http://KingsRiverLife.com). Thanks, Laurie.

To prepare for sleep, I re-read light hearted books (can't be kept awake by the plot). Meg Langslow series books are in rotation for my bedtime reading.

TOUCAN KEEP A SECRET is Meg Langslow #23. The church has an underground crypt from which loud noises emanate, then a body is discovered. I was much too interested in what would happen next to be willing to sleep.

Meg Langslow's family displays the best characteristics of amateur (amateuse?) mystery fiction. Some characters are certifiably nuts, others endearing, and some a mixture; I'm sure being part of such a family would be truly enervating, but for armchair travellers, it's quite entertaining. And it's satisfying to watch the development of these personalities.

Several spots have laugh-out-loud moments.

If you've never read any Meg Langslow books by Donna Andrews, start with #1. My librarian couldn't get interested in the minutiae of weddings, so I've recommended she move to #2. These books are just too amusing to pass up. ( )
  TdeV | Dec 15, 2018 |
Meg is taking charge of locking up the church at night and looking after the toucan in the pastor Robyn Smith's office. Robyn has been babysitting the toucan for a parishioner who is in the Navy and away on a tour of duty. Meg and the church have been taking over Robyn's duties since she is pregnant and on bedrest. There are those against this, but these are the same people against having a female pastor or females on the vestry council, who made decisions about the church.

One of those people, Mr. Hagley, Meg finds dead in the crypt where the cremated remains are found one night when she is locking up and she hears noises outside that lead her there and his body. She notices a crowbar as though someone was trying to remove someone from the crypt. In the process, several of the ashes of different graves were disturbed as well as some of the plaques. Also found was a gorgeous ruby ring that may or may not be real.

Mr. Hagley had been having financial difficulties and wanted to have his wife's ashes removed from the crypt in order to sell the expensive plot to someone else, but the process was taking some time and he might have decided to take matters into his own hands it seems which is why he was in the crypt that night. Then someone else came along perhaps looking to unearth the Van der Lynden jewels that went missing during the heist back in the 1980s. It was said that Mrs. Van der Lynden faked a jewel robbery at a New Year's Eve party complete with thieves hired by her son, Archie. But things went wrong and two of the thieves were shot dead and the rest were eventually captured, but the jewels were never recovered leaving some to believe that Mrs. Van der Lynden had hidden them somewhere. She had been hoping to get the insurance money but she never did. She died six years later pretty much broke. Her son Archie was sent to prison for his part in the robbery, but he denied that his mother had anything to do with it. He said that he was going to sell her jewels because he needed the money.

When Meg goes to check out the church by doing a drive-by, she notices a flashlight bobbing up and down in the rooms and so she stops and calls the cops. Then she finds her car window being shot out by a gun. She hightails it out of there, but circles back once the police have arrived at the church. Someone thinks that the toucan is a parrot and can identify them and wants to take out the bird. Only Meg took the bird home with her the night of the murder. Toucan's, by the way, cannot talk. Meg takes the bird to the zoo for safekeeping.

Meg's dad wants to do a reenactment of the robbery and Meg's for that if it will keep him out of Chief Burke's hair about the murder. Problem is he wants her to be involved with it and she's quite busy with her own stuff and with following up on leads in the investigation herself. She's supposed to be asking the families affected by the break-in how they would like things handled. If they would still like to remain at the church and if so if they would like to have a ceremony when their ashes are replaced. Could this be placing Meg in contact with a killer who hid the jewels in the crypt inside their relative's ashes, since everyone whose ashes were disturbed has something to do with the robbery? Mr. Hagley was not well liked and won't be missed by really anyone. But there's a larger mystery here to be solved. I really loved this book. The characters were great, such as Dr. Womble, the retired priest who could wander off on different topics and we got to see an old fan favorite Ragnor again and his wild house since this was the house that the robbery took place at. The plot is fun to read too. I give it four out of five stars. ( )
  nicolewbrown | Dec 10, 2018 |
just felt it was overkill. not as funny as others of hers. maybe I was having an off day or maybe she was??? ( )
  lhaines56 | Oct 17, 2018 |
Donna Andrews ability to consistently deliver funny, entertaining and heart-warming cozy mysteries is one of life’s greatest pleasures. There is no better guarantee of a great reading experience than Donna Andrews name on the cover of a Meg Langslow mystery. In Toucan Keep a Secret, Meg finds herself helping out at Trinity Episcopal for the very pregnant Rev. Robyn Smith who is home on bedrest. While checking on the Toucan that Robyn has agreed to watch, Meg hears a noise and discovers a body on the floor of the columbarium (don’t call it a crypt) next to some broken urns and a ring with a giant red stone.

Meg’s discovery kicks off a murder investigation as well as stirring up one of Caerphilly’s oldest unsolved crimes, the Van der Lynden jewel robbery. Under the helpful guise of contacting next of kin to see how they want their loved one’s remains reinterred, Meg digs into the case uncovering clues that make a murderer very nervous. Was the old robbery related to the new murder? And why was someone breaking into the columbarium in the first place? And why is someone trying to silence the Toucan? The search for all these answers is as much fun as the solution.

Meg’s immediate and extended family including her twins, her husband Michael, mother and father and all the extended clan pitch in once again, as well as the always helpful Shiffley clan. The sense of community and family that is created in these books is as much fun as the murder mystery. Meg leads the charge of helping out the church during Robyn’s pregnancy, helping Robyn get her own house ready for a baby, and taking care of her own immediate and extended family.

Several new characters appear highlighted by the very entertaining Ragnar. It’s a good thing Andrews has such a knack for creating great new characters with the rate people seem to drop dead in Caerphilly. Toucan Keep a Secret delivers another entertaining mystery (or two) filled with interesting characters, clever clues and a most intrepid amateur detective. Long-time fans will be pleased, and there’s always enough backstory for newcomers to jump in at any point in the series. A Donna Andrews book is always a recipe for fun and the recipe is as good as ever here. Highly recommended.

I was provided an advance copy of this book by the publisher. ( )
  tottman | Aug 7, 2018 |
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Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Donna Andrewsprimary authorall editionscalculated
Parr, MaggieCover artistsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Rotstein, David BaldeosinghCover designersecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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