Duck The Halls
Minotaur, Oct 22 2013, $24.99
In Caerphilly, Virginia, merry pranksters leave angry caged skunks inside the New Life Baptist Church. The subsequent odor leads to relocating the annual Yuletide concert to Trinity Episcopal Church where a Boa joins the festivities. At St. Byblig Catholic Church someone releases a flock of ducks.
Local blacksmith Meg Langslow struggles to find new sites to host the holiday events while Police Chief Henry Burke struggles to find the culprits. However the pranks turn ugly when a fire occurs in the woods near Temple Beth-El followed by arson at the Trinity Episcopal Church. Volunteer fire chief Jim Featherstone investigates both blazes. Not long afterward, Trinity Episcopal Church Vestryman Barliman Vest is found dead in the furnace room with the pranksters considered the prime suspects. Believing they did not commit murder, Meg works the homicide to find out who did.
The sixteenth Meg Langslow mystery (see The Hen of the Baskervilles and Some Like It Hawk) is an amusing amateur sleuth that brings plenty of cheer to series fans. The brisk upbeat storyline hooks the audience with one zany prank leading to another at ironically sacred religious edifices until a clever killer uses the incidents to cover murder.