In The Good, the Bad, and the Emus by Donna Andrews, Meg Langslow gets approached by PI Stanley Denton, who wants to “borrow Meg’s face.” He has been hired by Dr. Montgomery Blake, Meg’s highly famous zoologist grandfather, who didn’t realize until recently that he had a long-lost son, Dr. Langslow, Meg’s father. Upon seeing Meg’s photo in the newspaper learning that her father was found in a library while as a newborn, Dr. Blake realized that his grad school girlfriend must have been pregnant when he left for two years of research on the Galapagos Islands. He never found the girlfriend upon returning to the States, but now he has hired Denton to find Meg’s grandmother. Denton has done so, but six months too late, as Cordelia has recently died, leaving behind a complete recluse cousin, Annabel. Since Annabelle refuses to see Denton, he wants to get Meg, who is the spitting image of her grandmother, to help him gain entrance.
With the help of Meg’s face, getting into Annabelle’s house is not a major problem, but getting information out of Cordelia’s cousin does not prove so easy. Annabelle believes that someone murdered her cousin by causing an explosion of their generator, which was written off by the local sheriff as an accident. But Annabelle is certain that Cordelia was murdered by her enemy neighbor and refuses to divulge more information about Cordelia’s life unless Denton provides the proof.
Presenting the case to Dr. Blake in front of the whole family to make it harder for him to say no to the request, Meg and Denton convince the biologist to act, and he reacts with characteristic enthusiasm and on the large scale. Dr. Blake recalls being notified earlier by Annabelle on behalf of Cordelia about a feral emu problem, created when the bank foreclosed upon an emu ranch a couple years earlier. So he summons the Blake’s Brigade, which consists of environmental activists who help Dr. Blake in his crusades on behalf of endangered animals that get featured on television regularly. So the next day a few dozen volunteers descend upon Annabelle’s large empty plot of land to camp out and round up the emus to take to the Wilner Animal Sanctuary, so Meg and her husband, Michael, take their 4- year- old twins, Josh and Jamie, to go camping and help look for emus, a trip fraught with danger, with a killer on the loose.
The Good, the Bad, and the Emus is another fun addition to the Meg Langslow series. As usual, I found the mystery plot, along with the book’s setting, to be highly creative. The steps they take to solve the mystery are clever, with the conclusion’s being especially of interest. I always find myself impressed by the way Andrews manages to incorporate a different type of bird into both the pun in her titles and the content of her books. I learned more about emus than I had ever known before the first time I listened to this book.
This book kept me laughing throughout the whole time I was listening. I especially enjoyed the scene where the horsemen and bikers who have come to help round up the emus have challenged each other to a joust. In the midst, Meg’s dogs start doing crazy, alerting her to the fact that someone has opened up the door to the emu pen and let the birds loose. The solution to the problem especially made me laugh.
The characters in The Good, the Bad, and the Emus are as fun as always, and I really enjoyed getting to spend more time with Dr. Blake. I missed getting to see much of Meg’s mother or her brother, though. Further, I did not find the portrayal of the 4-year-old twins to be at all realistic of boys that age, especially in their speech, which was uneven in its maturity, shifting from simple words to sentences and back.
The audio edition of this book is performed very ably by Bernadette Dunne, who makes the book seem very lively and highly enjoyable. With unique voices for each character, Dunne makes the audiobook delightful and a real pleasure to listen to.
As with all of Andrews’s books, The Good, the Bad, and the Emus is a great addition to the Meg Langslow series. I liked this book more than some of the others in the series, with its great sense of humor and amusing setting. I give this book 5 stars!
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