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The Penguin Who Knew Too Much

Cover of The Penguin Who Knew Too Much

The Penguin Who Knew Too Much

Meg Langslow Mystery Series, Book 8
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Hold on to your hats, everybody!  Donna Andrews is taking us on another ride into the wonderful world of Meg Langslow, a world filled with laughter as well as the knotty problems Meg always seems to encounter and---somehow---solve. 
Okay, maybe there are people in Antarctica with penguins in their basements, but in Virginia?  Only Meg's dad could manage that one. A body down there---well, that's somewhat more likely.
It turns out that explaining the penguins' presence is easy---Meg's dad volunteered to take care of the birds until the future of the bankrupt local zoo could be determined. But identifying the body in the basement proves a harder task---could it be, as Meg fears, that of the vanished zoo owner?
In the small southern town of Caerphilly, rumors fly quickly, and all the other well-meaning citizens who have agreed to take in zoo animals are now worried that they might be stuck with their guests indefinitely. So when Meg's dad generously offers to help out anyone who can no longer care for their four-legged charges, a parade of wild creatures begins to make Meg and Michael's newly renovated house look more like Noah's ark.
Meg and Michael have been planning to elope in order to avoid the elaborate wedding their mothers have begun to organize---a plan that's threatened by both the murder investigation and the carnival of animals. The only way to set things right, Meg decides, is to identify both their uninvited visitor and the killer who put him in their basement.
 The award-winning Donna Andrews has demonstrated her immense talent by creating and nurturing a series that continues to delight and surprise with each new book.
Hold on to your hats, everybody!  Donna Andrews is taking us on another ride into the wonderful world of Meg Langslow, a world filled with laughter as well as the knotty problems Meg always seems to encounter and---somehow---solve. 
Okay, maybe there are people in Antarctica with penguins in their basements, but in Virginia?  Only Meg's dad could manage that one. A body down there---well, that's somewhat more likely.
It turns out that explaining the penguins' presence is easy---Meg's dad volunteered to take care of the birds until the future of the bankrupt local zoo could be determined. But identifying the body in the basement proves a harder task---could it be, as Meg fears, that of the vanished zoo owner?
In the small southern town of Caerphilly, rumors fly quickly, and all the other well-meaning citizens who have agreed to take in zoo animals are now worried that they might be stuck with their guests indefinitely. So when Meg's dad generously offers to help out anyone who can no longer care for their four-legged charges, a parade of wild creatures begins to make Meg and Michael's newly renovated house look more like Noah's ark.
Meg and Michael have been planning to elope in order to avoid the elaborate wedding their mothers have begun to organize---a plan that's threatened by both the murder investigation and the carnival of animals. The only way to set things right, Meg decides, is to identify both their uninvited visitor and the killer who put him in their basement.
 The award-winning Donna Andrews has demonstrated her immense talent by creating and nurturing a series that continues to delight and surprise with each new book.
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  • Copyright © 2007 by Donna Andrews. All rights reserved. No part of this book may be used or reproduced in any manner whatsoever without written permission except in the case of brief...

    The Penguin Who Knew Too Much

    Chapter 1

    "Meg! Guess what I found in your basement?"

    I looked up from the box I was unpacking to see Dad standing in the basement doorway, his round face shining with excitement.

    "A body?" An unlikely guess, but Dad was a big mystery buff—perhaps if I amused him, he'd stop playing guessing games on moving day.

    "Oh, rats—you already knew? Well, how soon will the police get here? I need to move the penguins—we don't want them any more upset than they already are."

    He disappeared down the basement stairs without waiting for an answer. I abandoned my unpacking to call after him.

    "Dad? I was joking. Did you really find a body? And why are there penguins in our basement? Dad!"

    No answer. Should I go down to see what was happening, or call the police? Damn! I closed my eyes and counted to ten. Normally counting to ten calmed me, but today it just gave me time to realize how much more could go wrong elsewhere in the house. On cue, I heard the crash of something breaking, followed by a sheepish "Oops!" from my brother, Rob, in the front hall. In the living room, Mother ordered a brace of cousins to move the sofa to yet another location. She'd been at it for an hour, and so far only three pieces of furniture had made it from the truck to the house.

    In the dining room, Mrs. Fenniman, Mother's distant cousin and closest ally, was singing an Italian aria, changing pitch every dozen notes, which meant she'd had a few martinis already and we'd have to redo the walls after she'd painted them.

    I'd only reached seven when Rob interrupted me.

    "Meg? You know that big cut-glass punch bowl? Is that a particular favorite of yours?"

    "Don't you mean was it a particular favorite?" I asked as I pulled my cell phone out of my pocket. "And no, but Mother was quite fond of it, so see if you can sweep up the pieces before she notices. Broom's over there."

    "Right-o."

    I dialed 911. I wasn't sure the situation quite warranted 911, but I hadn't memorized the nonemergency number for the Caerphilly Police Department and I had no idea which box contained the phone book.

    "Hello—Debbie Anne?" I said when the dispatcher answered. "This is Meg Langslow."

    "Meg! How's the move-in going? And what's the problem?"

    "Slowly. And the problem is that Dad says he's found a body in the basement."

    "Oh, Lord," Rob said. He stopped in the doorway, broom and dustpan in hand, the better to eavesdrop.

    "Is he serious?" Debbie Anne asked after a moment. "I mean, if it's just some kind of practical joke—"

    "He sounded serious," I said. "And I thought I should call you first instead of wasting time going to look myself, and possibly disturbing a crime scene."

    "I'll tell Chief Burke you said so. If it turns out to be some kind of mix-up ..."

    Her voice trailed off. I knew what she was thinking. Quiteapart from the major-league practical jokers in my family, there was Dad, with his well-known mystery obsession.

    "If it's a mix-up, I'll call back right away," I said, and hung up.

    "Did he really find a body?" Rob asked.

    "So he says."

    "Don't you think you should have checked before calling the cops?"

    "If he was pulling my leg, I'll let him explain it to Chief Burke."

    "I still think you should check for yourself."

    "I'm going to—want to come?"

    Rob, who fainted at the mere idea of blood, shook his head and hurried back to the hall.

    I took the stairs to the basement.

    The smell hit me first.

    Not the rank smell of a decaying body or the tang of newly spilled blood, both of which I'd had a chance to experience while tagging along after Dad—less while he pursued his medical...

About the Author-
  • Donna Andrews is the author of the Meg Langslow mysteries, including Stork Raving Mad and Swan for the Money. She has won the Agatha, Anthony, and Barry awards, a Romantic Times award for best first novel, and two Lefty and two Toby Bromberg Awards for funniest mystery. When not writing fiction, Andrews is a self-confessed nerd, rarely found away from her computer, unless she's messing in the garden. She lives in Reston, Virginia.
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Meg Langslow Mystery Series, Book 8
Donna Andrews
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