Written by American mystery fiction author Donna Andrews, this cozy mystery series takes us in Yorktown, Virginia.
The story is set around Meg Langslow who is a successful decorative blacksmith and an exceptional amateur sleuth. Meg and her crazy family are always ready to help and festivities often turned bad with dead bodies and sleuthing on the menu.
How to read the Meg Langslow Series in Order?
Each entry in the Meg Langslow book series is offering a standalone story, but the lives of the different characters evolve from one book to the other.
- Murder With Peacocks – Down in her small Virginia hometown, Meg Langslow is the maid of honor at the nuptials of three loved ones–each of whom has dumped the planning in her capable hands. In the whirl of summer parties and picnics, Southern hospitality is strained to the limit by an offensive newcomer who hints at skeletons in the guests’ closets. But it seems this lady has offended one too many when she’s found dead in suspicious circumstances.
- Murder With Puffins – In an attempt to get away from her family, Meg and her boyfriend go to a tiny island off the coast of Maine. What could have been a romantic getaway slowly turns into a disaster. Once there, they are marooned by a hurricane and that is only the beginning of their problems.
- Revenge of the Wrought-Iron Flamingos – Every year, Yorktown, Virginia, relives its role in the Revolutionary War by celebrating the anniversary of the British surrender in 1781. This year, plans include a re-enactment of the original battle and a colonial craft fair. Meg Langslow has returned to her hometown for the festivities–and to sell her wrought-iron works of art.
- Crouching Buzzard, Leaping Loon – Meg Langslow is tending the switchboard of Mutant Wizards, where her brother’s computer games are created, and handling all the office management problems that no one else bothers with. The atmosphere is so consistently loony that the office mail cart makes several passes through the reception room, with the office practical joker lying on top of it pretending to be dead before Meg realizes that he’s become the victim of someone who wasn’t joking at all. He’s been murdered for real.
- We’ll Always Have Parrots – Meg Langslow travels with her fiance Michael to a fan convention for Porfiria, Queen of the Jungle–a cheesy cult TV show on which Michael has a minor role. Michael hopes the weekend will give him a chance to talk to Miss Wynncliffe-Jones, the show’s temperamental leading lady. Of course, Michael’s not the only person whose career the dictatorial star has manipulated. So when the star is found murdered, the police have plenty of suspects.
- Owls Well That Ends Well – Meg Langslow was actually looking forward to renovating the old Victorian mansion she and Michael bought. But she wasn’t thrilled by the lifetime of junk accumulated by the house’s eccentric previous owner. The easiest solution: hold the end-all and be-all of gigantic yard sales. Then an antique dealer is found stuffed in a trunk with his head bashed in-and the yard sale turns into a day’s-long media circus.
- No Nest for the Wicket – The hilly terrain next to the old Sprocket house that Meg Langslow and her fiancé, Michael, are refurbishing is the perfect location for an “extreme” croquet field. A sport traditionally reserved for genteel society, croquet has become all the rage in Caerphilly…until it appears someone in town has taken the “rage” a bit too literally.
- The Penguin Who Knew Too Much – 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. But identifying the body in the basement proves a harder task.
- Cockatiels at Seven – When her old friend Karen drops by with two-year-old son Timmy, Meg Langslow reluctantly agrees to babysit. But when nightfall comes, the toddler is still in residence and Karen isn’t answering any phone calls. Meg decides she must find out what’s happening, so she retraces her friend’s footsteps—and begins to suspect that Karen’s disappearance is tied to at least one serious crime.
- Six Geese A-Slaying – Meg has been volunteering to organize the annual Caerphilly Christmas parade, which is to proceed from her house to the local campus, where Santa will take up residence to hear the Christmas wishes of the town’s children. Then her nephew Eric, wide-eyed and ashen-faced, whispers, “Meg, something’s wrong with Santa.”
- Swan for the Money – Meg Langslow’s eccentric parents have a new hobby: growing roses and entering them in highly competitive shows. But rose growers are so competitive that they will do nearly anything to take home the show’s grand prize—making them prime suspects when Meg discovers that someone is attempting to kill the wealthy woman on whose estate the competition is being held.
- Stork Raving Mad – Meg is pregnant with twins when Michael asks if she wouldn’t mind another houseguest. One of his doctoral students is directing a play by a minor Spanish playwright, and the playwright has agreed to come to town for the production. Into this chaos arrive two prune-faced administrators, the dean of the English department and a man from the college president’s office, who say that the play must be canceled. When the dean is found murdered, Meg’s house becomes a crime scene.
- The Real Macaw – During a 2am feeding for her four-month-old twins, Meg Langslow hears an odd noise and goes downstairs to find her living room filled with dozens of animals. She soon learns that financial woes have caused the local animal shelter to repeal its no-kill policy. But the volunteer who was to transport the animals to new homes has been murdered.
- Some Like It Hawk– Meg Langslow is plying her blacksmith’s trade at “Caerphilly Days,” a festival inspired by her town’s sudden notoriety as “The Town That Mortgaged Its Jail.” The lender has foreclosed on all Caerphilly’s public buildings, and all employees have evacuated -except Phineas Throckmorton, the town clerk, who has been barricaded in the courthouse basement for over a year. The lender seems increasingly determined to evict Mr. Throckmorton-and may succeed after one of its executives is found shot, apparently from inside the basement.
- Hen of the Baskervilles – Meg Langslow runs into her friend Molly, who is terrified that she may lose her farm because her idle husband Brett has left her for Genette Sedgewick, a rich hobby winemaker, and is demanding his half of the land. Meg enlists her Mother’s help to find Molly a divorce lawyer, but later that night, Brett is found murdered and Molly is swiftly accused as his killer.
- Duck the Halls – A few nights before Christmas, Meg Langslow is awakened when volunteer fireman Michael is summoned to the New Life Baptist Church, where someone has rigged a cage full of skunks in the choir loft. The next Sunday, the congregation of St. Byblig’s, the local Catholic church, arrives to find it completely filled with several hundred ducks…
- The Good, the Bad, and the Emus – Meg’s long-lost paternal grandfather, Dr. Blake, has hired Stanley Denton to find her grandmother Cordelia. Dr. Blake was reunited with his family when he saw Meg Langslow’s picture and now Stanley has found a trail to his long-lost love in a small town less than an hour’s drive away. He convinces Meg to come with him to meet her, but unfortunately, the woman they meet is Cordelia’s cousin-Cordelia died several years ago, and the cousin suspects she was murdered by her long-time neighbor.
- The Nightingale Before Christmas – As the holidays draw near in Caerphilly, Mother volunteers to take part in a big Christmas-themed decorator show house-each room of a temporarily untenanted house is decorated to the hilt by a different decorator for the public to tour. Then the rooms start to be sabotaged, and an unfortunate designer turns up dead.
- Lord of the Wings – It’s another holiday and Mayor Randall Shiffley has turned Caerphilly, Virginia into Spooky City, USA. Meg’s grandfather is opening a new “Creatures of the Night” exhibit in the zoo. When a real body at the zoo and a suspicious fire at the Haunted House threaten to mar the town’s creepy fun, it’s up to Meg Langslow to save Halloween.
- Die Like an Eagle – Meg is Team Mom and Michael is the coach of their twin sons’ youth baseball team, the Caerphilly Eagles. Meg tangles with Biff Brown, the petty, vindictive league head. On opening day, Biff’s lookalike brother is found dead in the porta-potty at the ball field. So many people think Biff’s scum that it would be easy to blame him, but he has an alibi–and Meg suspects he may actually have been the intended victim…
- Gone Gull – Meg Langslow is spending the summer at the Biscuit Mountain Craft Center, helping her grandmother Cordelia run the studios. But someone is committing acts of vandalism, threatening to ruin the newly-opened center’s reputation. While Meg is trying to track down the vandal, her grandfather is more interested in locating a rare gull. Their missions collide when a body is found in one of the classrooms.
- How the Finch Stole Christmas! – Meg’s husband has decided to escalate his one-man show of Dickens’ A Christmas Carol into a full-scale production with a large cast including their sons Jamie and Josh as Tiny Tim and young Scrooge and Meg helping as stage manager. The show must go on, even if the famous actor who’s come to town to play the starring role of Scrooge has brought a sleigh-load of baggage and enemies with him.
- Toucan Keep a Secret – Meg Langslow is at Trinity Episcopal Church locking up after an event and checking on the toucan her friend Rev. Robyn Smith is fostering in her office. When she investigates the sound of hammering in the columbarium, Meg finds the murdered body of an elderly parishioner.
- Lark! The Herald Angels Sing – It’s Christmastime in Caerphilly and Meg, full of holiday spirit, is helping out with the town’s festivities. While directing a nativity pageant and herding the children participating in it, she finds a surprise in the manger: a live baby. A note from the mother, attached to the baby girl’s clothes, says that it’s time for her father to take care of her-and implicates Meg’s brother, Rob, as the father…
- Terns of Endearment – Meg Langslow’s grandfather has been booked by a cruise line to give lectures on birds and other environmental topics as part of their ship’s education/entertainment itinerary, and Grandfather has arranged for a passel of family members to join him. The passengers’ vacation quickly becomes a nightmare when they wake up to find themselves broken down and in need of repairs in the Bermuda Triangle.
- Owl Be Home for Christmas – It’s a few days before Christmas, and Meg’s grandfather is hosting a scientific conference on owls at the Caerphilly Inn. An unexpectedly severe snow storm traps the conference-goers in the hotel, and one of the visiting ornithologists is murdered. Even if Caerphilly is able to clear the roads in time, Chief Burke doesn’t want the various suspects to scatter to half a dozen continents before he identifies the killer.
- The Falcon Always Wings Twice – When Meg’s grandmother Cordelia hosts a Renaissance Faire at her craft center, the whole family is put to work: Meg handles the blacksmithing, Michael and the boys will be performing, and no one misses the opportunity to dress up in full regalia. More exciting to Grandfather is the pair of rare falcons he discovers breeding at the fairgrounds. Concerned for their well-being amid all the activity, he appoints himself their protector. When one of the actors performing at the fair is found dead-an actor suspected of mistreating one of the falcons, among other sins-Grandfather is a prime suspect.
- The Gift of the Magpie – Meg’s running Caerphilly’s Helping Hands for the Holidays project. Her hopes for a relatively peaceful (if busy) Christmas vanish when someone murders Harvey the Hoarder, whose house the Helping Hands were decluttering.
- Murder Most Fowl – Meg Langslow’s in for a busy summer. Her husband is directing a production of Macbeth, and most of the cast and crew are occupying spare bedrooms in their house. She also has to keep an eye on Camp Birnam. And then there’s Damien Goodwin, a filmmaker who has been hanging around, trying to document the production. When Goodwin hosts a showing of some of the footage he’s taken, he manages to embarrass or offend just about everyone. The next morning Meg isn’t exactly surprised to find that someone has murdered him.
- The Twelve Jays of Christmas – Meg’s brother Rob and his fiancé Delaney have been engaged for some time now. In fear of their mothers’ propensity for over-the-top celebrations, they decide to throw a party just before Christmas and then elope. When a blizzard traps their guests inside, the two mothers find out about the planned elopement and start trying to pull together the kind of over-the-top event the couple was trying to avoid in the first place.
- Round Up the Usual Peacocks – Kevin, Meg’s cyber-savvy nephew who lives in the basement, comes to her with a problem. He’s become involved as the techie for a true-crime podcast, one that focuses on Virginia cold cases and unsolved crimes. And he thinks their podcast has hit a nerve with someone . . . one of the podcast teams has had a brush with death that Kevin thinks was an attempted murder, not an accident.
- Dashing Through the Snowbirds – Christmas in Caerphilly is wonderful! Unless you’re a Canadian whose inconsiderate boss is forcing you to spend the holiday there, far from family and friends, with only a slim chance of a white Christmas. Meg already has her hands full, trying to make the season festive for the dozen programmers who are staying with her and Michael while working on a rush project with her brother’s software company. At least it’s an interesting project since the Canadian company is doing cutting-edge forensic genealogy and DNA analysis. When the inconsiderate boss is found murdered, there are too many suspects.
- Birder, She Wrote – Meg is relaxing in the hammock, taste-testing Michael’s latest batch of Arnold Palmers and watching the hummingbirds at their feeders when her hopes for a relaxing early summer morning are dashed. Cordelia drafts Meg to accompany her and Deacon Washington of the New Life Baptist Church – and the reporter, alas – in their search for a long-lost African-American cemetery. Unfortunately what they discover is not an ancient cemetery but a fresh corpse…
- Let It Crow! Let It Crow! Let It Crow! – Meg has been roped into participating in a blacksmithing competition, a kind of Forged in Fire wannabe organized by a blacksmith friend. Meg originally turned down his invitation to participate, but when Faulk, her blacksmithing mentor, breaks his wrist the night before filming begins, Meg agrees to step in as his replacement to keep the project from failing. It’s a high-stakes, cutthroat competition between people who wield large hammers make swords, and have forges full of fire at their disposal. What could possibly go wrong?