Terns of Endearment

by Donna Andrews | Mystery & Thrillers |
ISBN: 9781250192981 Global Overview for this book
Registered by wingGoryDetailswing of Nashua, New Hampshire USA on 2/6/2021
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Journal Entry 1 by wingGoryDetailswing from Nashua, New Hampshire USA on Saturday, February 06, 2021
I got this paperback at Barnes and Noble. It's another entry in the punny mystery series featuring blacksmith Meg Langslow and her increasingly-extended family as they solve yet another murder in their oddly dangerous little town. This one follows Toucan Keep a Secret and Lark! The Herald Angels Sing, though the books stand on their own pretty well.

This one is a lot of fun, in part due to the fact that it takes place on a cruise ship - one of the rare books that's not set in Meg's little town. (There's even a nod here to the events of We'll Always Have Parrots, another "away" novel, and my favorite in the series.) It's a small ship by cruise standards, with only a few hundred passengers instead of thousands, and is from a new cruise line - you can sense trouble coming already, can't you? {wry grin}

Despite not being at home, quite a few of the usual family-and-friends cadre come along for the ride. Meg's grandfather is giving a series of lectures about wildlife, her own husband and twin sons are along, as are her parents, cousin, brother, his fiancee, and a few more as well. And it's a good thing, because when events start going pear-shaped, it's going to take a team to get everything under control again!

The other passengers include a group of four writers, with whom Meg immediately bonds - and it turns out one of the major plot threads has to do with them. They're mourning the loss of a fifth friend, while gritting their teeth at the discovery that another writer (a romance-novel diva - and mortal foe of their group) is also on board. So when the diva seems to have gone overboard, and the ship's crew seems intent on covering up the incident, the question is - did she jump, or was she pushed?

But that's not the only trouble. In a plot that rather grimly foreshadows some of the COVID-related cruise-ship debacles (though it was probably inspired by pre-COVID cases of ship-wide illness and mismanagement), there's a problem that leaves the ship stationary half way to Bermuda (cue Rose Noire busily trying to cast anti-Bermuda-triangle spells), without power or outside contact. And the crew seems to be increasingly absent, making Meg and co. ever more suspicious...

Some aspects of the story might be too real-world for some, especially the more graphic details of being trapped on a ship in mid-ocean without air-conditioning or refrigeration, but overall I enjoyed the ways in which Meg and her crew came to the rescue. Given the diverse talents of the bunch it's not surprising that they had several experimental solar recharger devices on hand - thus the springing up of a gadget-farm on the top deck, with phones and e-readers and laptops and some even more essential health-related devices getting charged. One of the writers, stuck in a mystery plot, is delighted to learn that Meg's father the medical examiner would be tickled to help her out. Another writer needs assistance choreographing a sword fight, and can't get over her glee that Meg's husband Michael (a theater director who played a famed cult-fantasy villain in his youth) would be pleased to lend a hand.

But there's a more serious side to all this, one that could have cost more lives - maybe many more - and all due to real-world reasons that may be a bit close to home. I admit it did not make me crave a cruise, however lovely other aspects of the adventure may have been!

As with the other books in the series, this one's full of snarky banter, puns, entertaining examples of mutual manipulation among Meg and co. (who all know each other's methods pretty well by this point and seem to get along anyway). Indeed, my only quibble had to do with a subplot involving Meg's grandfather's much-tried assistant Trevor; I'll just say that when a plot thread raised the question of who would take on the mantle of the lost romance-novel diva, there were clues that made me think he might have applied, and I rather wish my guess had been correct {wry grin}.

[There's a short TV Tropes page on the series, with some entertaining tidbits.]

Journal Entry 2 by wingGoryDetailswing at New Hampshire Welcome Center I-93 N in Salem, New Hampshire USA on Tuesday, February 23, 2021

Released 5 days ago (2/23/2021 UTC) at New Hampshire Welcome Center I-93 N in Salem, New Hampshire USA

WILD RELEASE NOTES:

Guidelines for safely visiting and stocking Little Free Libraries during the COVID-19 pandemic, from the LFL site here.

I plan to leave this book on a window ledge in the entrance of the welcome center; hope someone enjoys it!

[See other recent releases in NH here.]

*** Released for the 2021 Wine+Food challenge, for the cocktail on the cover. ***

*** Released for the 2021 Great Backyard Bird Count challenge (see www.birdcount.org to join the count). ***

*** Released for the 2021 Heads Shoulders Knees Toes challenge, for the embedded "ear" in the title. ***

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