Ornamental blacksmith Meg Langslow, who’s evidently never passed through a life-cycle event that wasn’t marked by farcical mishaps, gets an unexpected chance to rehearse her parenting skills.
Meg Langslow hasn’t seen her friend Karen Walker for years—long enough for Karen’s techie husband Jasper to leave her and her newborn son Timmy to grow to toddler size. How fast can Timmy toddle? Meg finds out when Karen drives up one morning, asks Meg if she can leave her son with her old friend, “just for a little while,” and drives off. As the minutes lengthen into hours and then days, Meg begins to fear for her friend, her sorely tried family circle and her own sanity (what can she do when Timmy’s beloved stuff cat Kiki goes missing?). Along the way, Meg will have to deal with the obligatory incursions of uninvited animals, from finches to Emerald Tree Boas, and her discovery of Jasper, who won’t be hassling his ex-wife any more because he’s been shot to death.
Meg’s ninth (The Penguin Who Knew Too Much, 2007, etc.) is less a mystery than another exercise in riotously extended domestic crisis that happens to include a corpse.