In Cockatiels at Seven by Donna Andrews, Meg and Michael have returned from their honeymoon and back to the real world. Just as Meg is getting started again in her blacksmithing work while Michael attends orientation at Caerphilly College where he teaches in the drama department, an acquaintance she hasn’t seen in over a year, Karen, stops by with her toddler son and begs Meg to take care of Jimmy for just a short while. Then she proceeds to give Meg a whole notebook full of instructions on Jimmy’s care and numerous outfits of clothing and other supplies. But as the morning passes, Karen doesn’t show up to pick up Jimmy. As the day grows longer, Meg begins to become alarmed and starts trying to locate Karen, whose phone keeps going to voice mail. By the next next morning, with still no response from Karen, Meg decides to go to Karen’s house to try to locate the missing mother, only to learn that Karen has moved out of her previous home and into the local projects. But when Meg arrives at Karen’s new home, she finds the police there. Karen is not there, but her ex-husband is, the victim of murder.
Meg spends the next few days sleuthing to try to locate Karen, which of course includes sleuthing into the murder of Jasper. The police seem uninterested in the missing mother, so Meg feels that she must do her part to get to the bottom of things, which include figuring out what potentially criminal activity Jasper might have been into. In the midst of her own work, Meg notices her father and newly-located grandfather sneaking around, and they keep bringing new animals into her home, and Meg is less than excited about the emerald tree boa who needs help with shedding. But suddenly cages of birds start showing up too. What are they up to?
This book, as with all of the Meg Langslow books, never ceases to delight. The wild activities that all the characters get into add to the fun, and as usual, the book concludes with a madcap ending facing down the murderer. I really enjoy the characters in this series, who are drawn very creatively and with great fun. Meg’s family comes across as so lively and makes you really want to meet them. Her father and grandfather especially are a hoot, which is the perfect description for a series with puns about birds in all its titles.
The only issue I have with this book is that the speech of Jimmy, whom Meg guesses to be about two, is irregular in its levels of maturity. Sometimes he sounds too old for two and sometimes too young. But this does not get in the way of enjoyable listening.
Bernadette Dunne narrates the audio version of this book, which was just released. I really like her voice and the job that she does in her performances of these books. She really suits the role of Meg, who narrates the book. The voices she gives to each of the characters fits them well too.
I’m a big fan of Donna Andrews’s bird series, and this book did not disappoint. I had a great time listening to the book and look forward to the audio release of more of this series. I give the book five stars!
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