Not just penguins, but llamas, camels, hyenas, snakes, lemurs, wolves, sheep, Lola the bobcat and some passing strange human fauna disrupt Meg Langslow’s housewarming.
What would make you even less happy than finding a flock of penguins in the basement of the farmhouse you and your fiancé had expensively restored? Finding a dead body—especially if it’s the body of J. Patrick Lanahan, the improvident zookeeper who’d pressed Meg’s endlessly obliging father to babysit the Caerphilly (Va.) Zoo’s tenants until the zoo emerged from bankruptcy. Now someone armed with a crossbow has ended Lanahan’s financial woes and brought Meg (No Nest for the Wicket, 2006, etc.) a Noah’s Arkload of troubles. Quite apart from all the problems her instant zoo poses, Meg has to deal with an acting Medical Examiner who’s too claustrophobic to go down to her basement; a world-famous naturalist who won’t stop sniffing around her family; a pair of spade-toting brothers convinced their great-uncle’s buried on her farm; an animal-rights activist whose group, Save Our Beasts, still pickets the Caerphilly Zoo even though no one’s there; and a farm-goods saleswoman determined to harvest Meg’s copious new supply of manure for her ZooperPoop! It’s no wonder that when the hard-used heroine finally confronts the killer, he responds testily, “There’s no need to snap at me.”
Andrews continues her mission to turn all Meg’s most memorable life-cycle events into bedlam-laced farce.