by Cynthia Chow
Details at the end of this post on how to enter to win a copy of Terns of Endearment. We also have a link to order it from Amazon, and from an indie bookstore where a portion goes to help support KRL.
Considering the number of extended family members around her, it would be difficult at first to realize that Meg Langslow is not actually still in her hometown of Caerphilly, Virginia. That’s because now that Meg’s famous grandfather, television naturalist Dr. J. Montgomery Blake, has decided to start giving lectures on environmental and educational cruise line ships, he also ensures that he will be accompanied by his many family members and much-abused entourage. As a result, Meg, her husband, parents, twin sons, and an assortment of cousins are all on board the Pastime Wanderer for a week-long cruise to the Bermuda Islands. The family’s experience with murder investigations, not to mention Meg’s blacksmith sword-making skills and her husband’s former acting skills, have them the center of attention for a women’s writers group on board for a retreat. Not a member, but definitely known to them, is the imperious romance writer Desiree St. Christophe, whom the authors blame for their friend’s suicide.
When all evidence – namely, the Louboutin shoes left at a railing and a rather dramatic suicide note – indicates that Desiree has plunged to her death in an apparent suicide, it quickly becomes apparent that the not-quite-sober captain is more intent on pretending that all is well than in conducting an actual investigation. As Meg rallies her family members, who include not just her medical examiner father but a crime scene investigator cousin, they discover a possible murder is but one of many disasters facing the passengers of this budget, non-frills cruise. As they broach the Bermuda Islands – not, despite cousin Rose Noire’s declarations, the actual Bermuda Triangle – they are stranded without a navigation system, power, internet, Wi-Fi, air conditioning, running water, and toilets. As the crew does their best to hide and avoid the rightfully concerned passengers, Meg’s mother demands that she “Do Something,” which is not technically a mutiny and more akin to a revolt.
This extraordinarily witty and creatively plotted mystery spreads its wings by taking Meg and her family out of Caerphilly without sacrificing the interactions that always make this series so much fun. Meg’s organizational list is instrumental in deploying relatives on various missions, while she and her father do a bit of unauthorized burglarizing. The presence of a writer’s group adds layers of Meta commentary, providing not just a glimpse into the inner workings of publishing but also on whether the artist can be separated from the art. Author Donna Andrews can always be relied upon for sharp insights and clever humor, highlighted in scenes with the now tech-deprived passengers relying on low-tech yelling over rails and child messengers. It’s impossible not to adore Meg’s practicality and competence in the face of chaos, nor can one not delight in her family’s exploits. As the awestruck author declares in wonderment to Meg, she does indeed have “the most amazing family.”
To enter to win a copy of Terns of Endearment, simply email KRL at krlcontests@gmail[dot]com by replacing the [dot] with a period, and with the subject line “terns” or comment on this article. A winner will be chosen October 5, 2019. U.S. residents only. If entering via email please include your mailing address (so if you win we can get the book sent right out to you), and if via comment please include your email address. You can read our privacy statement here if you like.
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Click on this link to purchase this book & a portion goes to help support KRL & an indie bookstore Mysterious Galaxy:
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