Owl puns notwithstanding, author Donna Andrews delivers a fun holiday read in this Meg Langslow mystery, which takes place just before Christmas at the Caerphilly Inn. Who has a convention at Christmas? Well, owl tell you. Meg’s grandfather, a renowned ornithologist, is holding his first Owl Fest conference and opposing factions of owl scientists are gearing up for the fray. Yes, the Birdman of Alcatraz has nothing on these contentious ornithologists who almost come to blows multiple times throughout the book.
Meg has to confiscate owls being smuggled in under coats against hotel policy and deal with a freak snowstorm that leaves guests grumpy and stranded. Tension comes to a head when Dr. Frogmore, a particularly loathsome college professor, drops dead at a banquet in front of two hundred guests. Was it something he ate?
With the chief of police refusing to allow anyone to leave, Meg tries to chase down anyone with a motive for murder, while trying to balance family time with owl time. A wealth of information about owl pellets will have you hooting (sorry) with laughter. Will the killer be found in time for the scientists to head home for the holidays?
With a lavishly decorated hotel as the background for murder, the plot delivers several surprises under the Christmas tree, before tying up the loose ends into a bow for a satisfactory ending.