A dastardly murder and the kidnapping of a prize chicken threaten to ruin Caerphilly's state fair—fortunately, Meg Langslow is on the case of The Hen of the Baskervilles
The newest mystery in Donna Andrews's gut-bustingly funny, award-winning, New York Times bestselling series is anything but elementary. Meg Langslow is helping Mayor Randall Shiffley organize the Virginia Un-Fair, Caerphilly's entry in the race to replace the old state fair (which has gone bankrupt). Before a line can even form outside the ticket booth, however, a pair of Bantam Russian Orloff chickens are stolen from their coop in the chicken tent. Soon, a rash of vandalism crops up at the fair, showing no heritage farm animal, prize vegetable, or artisanal craft to be safe.
While patrolling the fairgrounds, determined to catch the perp, Meg runs into her friend Molly, who has been building a successful business making goat cheeses. Molly is terrified that she may lose her farm because her idle husband Brett has left her for Genette Sedgewick, a rich hobby winemaker, and is demanding his half of the land. Meg enlists Mother's help to find Molly a divorce lawyer, but later that night, Brett is found murdered and Molly is swiftly accused as his killer.
Meg is convinced that her friend wouldn't so much as harm a fly, but can she find the real killer before it's too late? Will she track down the vandal who has been terrorizing—however creatively—the fair's participants? And will Michael be able to convince her to add members of his new favorite heritage breed to their growing menagerie? Meg's most hilarious caper yet, the curious incident of the hen in the nighttime will have readers rolling on the floor with laughter.
At the outset of Andrews s diverting 15th Meg Langslow mystery (after 2012 s Some Like It Hawk), Meg, the deputy director of a fair in Caerphilly, Va., looks into the disappearance of two rare bantam Russian Orloffs from the fair grounds. Meanwhile, Meg s friend Molly Riordan s cheese business may be in trouble because Molly s husband, Brett, has left her for Genette Sedgewick, a hobbyist winemaker disliked by just about everyone in Caerphilly, and may demand his half of the business. On patrol that night, Meg and fair director Randall Shiffley find Brett with a bullet through his head. Unfortunately, Brett s head lies over the county line in Clay County. Deputy Plunkett of Clay County manages to contaminate every piece of evidence he touches in the ensuing investigation, with Molly as chief suspect. Fortunately, Meg and friends, with a little help from Jim-Bob, the donkey, succeed in bringing the real culprit to justice, in this enjoyable, if predictable cozy.