Donna Andrews’ Dashing Through the Snowbirds will have readers dashing to solve the crimes alongside Meg Langslow. Christmas cheer abounds in Caerphilly, only broken up by a few grumpy guest programmers, who work for the small AcerGen company. Ian Meredith, the head programmer, seems determined to make everyone around him as miserable and uncomfortable as possible. Meg does her best to manage her constantly active family and their house guests, but thanks to Mr. Meredith she and her Mother are finding hosting more of a chore than a pleasure.
As the Lanslow family company Mutant Wizards is now bound by contract on a project with Mr. Meredith’s AcerGen Company, the whole family is forced to put on a happy face and try and make the best of the dislikable man. However, after doing some sleuthing, the family lawyer and Meg’s cousin, Festus Hollingsworth, finds that separating from AcerGen might be in their best interests. The idea of being rid of the odious Mr. Meredith fills Meg with elation, and she happily agrees to assist in digging up any dirt possible that could help them terminate their contract without harming Mutant Wizards. Said digging reveals even more heinous activity by Mr. Meredith and that AcerGen was indeed not what it represented itself to be.
Everyone’s relief to soon be rid of AcerGen is brought to a grinding halt, however, on a night of merriment as Meg’s Father reveals his big Christmas surprise. Ian Meredith is found in their back yard, unconscious and bleeding from a head wound. Despite Meg’s efforts and well timed 911 call, the police are now investigating a murder. Unsurprisingly, as Meg assists the police in their investigation she finds no shortage of potential suspects. The most suspicious is one Cyrus Runk, recently released from prison after his murder conviction was overturned due to a legal technicality and AcerGen not handling their client’s DNA profiles properly. Given that another client of AcerGen, Ms. Koenigslutter, has similar grievances with the company’s loose DNA security protocols, Meg and family become even more determined to end their association with AcerGen even without Ian Meredith at the head.
Meg does her best to salvage the Christmas spirit for her family and the remaining guests. She is busy running about town, trying to find the best ways to address the board meeting to break with AcerGen, all the while keeping an eye out for any potential killers in their midst. Meg is so busy with all of her day-to-day activities that she has plenty of opportunity to discreetly ask around about anyone’s concerns or suspicions. She displays a level head in all emergency situations and is usually the first to reach out to their local police when she feels danger is near. Due to her own good-natured attitude and ability to socialize with anyone in town, her delightfully eccentric but helpful family, and her close relationship with the police, Meg steadily puts puzzle pieces together and brings Dashing Through the Snowbirds to its exciting conclusion. Reading previous books may help give background on the various characters in the Meg Lanslow universe, but it is not necessary in order to enjoy this new Christmas addition. – Carla Schantz
Carla Schantz is a Courthouse Clerk Supervisor and has a bachelor’s degree in English as well as a master’s in legal studies. Books have been a passion of hers since she was young, and she is a firm believer in the purse book so that she is never without a book at any time.