Cockatiels at Seven by Donna Andrews is the ninth book in the “Meg Langslow” mystery series. Publisher: Minotaur Books, July 2008

When her old friend Karen drops by with her two-year-old son, Timmy, Meg Langslow reluctantly agrees to babysit ”just for a little while.”  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 the next morning, with Timmy in tow, she retraces her friend’s footsteps and begins to suspect that Karen’s disappearance is tied to at least one serious crime.  Has Karen been killed or kidnapped?  Is she on the run from the bad guys?  Or is she one of the bad guys?  The police don’t seem to care, so Meg once again plays sleuth – this time with a toddler as her sidekick.

As usual, Meg’s extended family adds to the complications in her life.  What covert animal welfare project are Dad and the curmudgeonly zoologist Dr. Montgomery Blake working on – and will Meg have to make another late-night trip to bail them out of jail?  Why does Meg’s brother keep disappearing – is he merely trying to avoid babysitting, or is he involved in something more mysterious?  Will taking care of Timmy dampen newly married Meg and Michael’s enthusiasm for starting a family of their own?  And are any of Meg’s relatives reliable enough to be trusted with a two-year-old – especially a two-year-old whose whereabouts might be of interests to some very dangerous people?

Donna Andrews once again proves her skill as one of the funniest, most entertaining mystery authors around.

This was a fun book which I liked a lot and I especially love her quirky family especially her father.   My rating: 4 stars

*new-to-me author

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