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Toucan keep a secret, if one of them is dead.
Meg Langslow is at Trinity Episcopal Church locking up after an event and checking on the toucan her friend Rev. Robyn Smith is fostering in her office. When she investigates the sound of hammering in the columbarium (the underground crypt where cremated remains are buried), Meg finds the murdered body of an elderly parishioner. 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 Chief Burke investigates the murder, Robyn recruits Meg to contact the families of the people whose ashes were disturbed. While doing so, 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.
Agatha-winner Andrews's lively 23rd Meg Langslow mystery (after 2017's How the Finch Stole Christmas) finds ornamental blacksmith Meg occupied with administrative duties at Trinity Episcopal Church in Caerphilly, Va., while her friend the rector, Robyn Smith, is on medical leave. In the church's place for cremated remains, Meg stumbles across the body of Junius Hagley, one of the church's more persnickety parishioners. Various remains have been disturbed, and a ring found near the body raises new questions about the long-ago van der Lynden jewel robbery. The van der Lynden son and accomplices were sent to prison, but the jewels were never recovered. Meg juggles interviews with relatives of the departed and those affected by the robbery, potential threats against a toucan present at the murder, and ways to keep her medical examiner father an enthusiastic amateur criminologist out of the hair of the harried police chief. Even if some readers might guess the perpetrator, they will surely enjoy a re-enactment of the robbery with earnest actors and ingenious substitutes for firearms. This long-running cozy series shows no signs of losing its freshness.