Mayor Shiffley and the Halloween Memo by Donna Andrews

Lord of the Wings“Meg, you were right.”

I looked up to see Randall Shiffley standing in the barn doorway. He was wearing a suit but his snazzy black and orange pumpkin tie was loosened, suggesting that he was relaxing after hard day of “mayoring.”

“I often am,” I said. “What am I right about today?”

“About that memo to the town about stuff they should and shouldn’t do during the Halloween festival,” he said. “I thought sane, rational human beings could figure out that stuff on their own, but that’s not what we’re blessed with in Caerphilly. Can I run my draft by you?”

“Sure,” I said.

“This won’t take long.” He took the same pose he’d use if addressing a public meeting, unfolded a paper he held in his hand, and began.

“Citizens of Caerphilly, past and present!”

I chuckled at that.

“Too corny?” he said, in his normal tone.

“Just wondering how you’re getting the word out to the dead citizens,” I said.

“I could have it posted in all the graveyards,” he said. “Any of ’em who are actively haunting the living should see it, and those resting peacefully aren’t part of our problem. As we enter the final days of this year’s successful Halloween festival–”

“Do we know already that it’s successful?” I asked.

“Merchants are smiling,” he said. “Dog tired from ringing up all those sales to the tourists, but smiling. So yeah, it’s looking like a success—as long as we can prevent any of the disasters this memo is designed to address.”

“Carry on,’ I said.

“I would like to remind you of a few things that help keep our festival running smoothly. First, please remember that Halloween decorations displayed between 8 a.m. and 8 p.m. must be family friendly. If your decorations involve excessive blood or violence, nudity or sexual themes, or anything not suitable for viewing by the small children who form a large portion of our visitors during the daylight hours, you must take them down or disguise them.”

“And who gets to decide what’s excessive?” I asked.

“I was getting to that. Members of the Goblin patrol will inspect all town decorations each morning and will be the absolute arbiters of what is acceptable.”

“Are you sure you want to call my troops the Goblin Patrol?” I said. “Remember, our official name is the Visitor Relations and Police Liaison Patrol.”

“Goblin Patrol’s catchier,” he said. “And slightly more menacing when it comes to the enforcement side of things. Moving on. Next item. Please remember that we have thousands of tourists visiting our beautiful town during the ten days of the festival. Unfortunately, the crowds will probably contain a few light-fingered individuals. Please make sure to keep your doors, windows, and gates locked during the festival, and if any of your decorations are expensive or have a strong sentimental value, please display them in your windows or on your screened porches, not out in the open where they could be stolen.”

“Are many people actually decorating with valuable stuff?” I asked.

“Mrs. Baker was setting up a skeleton tea party in her front yard.”

“That sounds nice.”

“Using some kind of antique black cups and saucers so fragile-looking I think they’d break if you breathed on them crossways.” Randall shook his head.

“Must be her grandmother’s black Wedgwood Jasperware tea set,” I said. “Probably not a good idea to leave that out in her yard.”

“I talked her into putting it all in her sunroom, but who knows how many other citizens are coming up with damn fool ideas like that,” he said. “Next item. School superintendent Olivia Shiffley has asked us to tell parents that while students are permitted to wear costumes to school on every day of the festival, they are not required to do so, nor are those wearing costumes required to have a different one for every day.”

“Fat chance convincing the kids of that last bit. Speaking of school—how many pages in that proclamation?

He stopped and counted.

“Only five.”

“Only five, he says; and you’re only halfway through page one. I need to pick up the boys soon. Hop in the Twinmobile with me—you can read me the rest on the way to town, and on the way back if necessary.”

“You’re on. Okay, next item.”

As Randall trailed after me to the driveway, rattling off instructions to the citizens about how not to set the town on fire with their pumpkins, I couldn’t help thinking that much as I loved Halloween, I’d be glad when it was safely behind us.

“You’re worrying again,” Randall said. “You’ve got that frowny face. Cheer up. We’re past the halfway mark. We’re in the home stretch. Sure, we’ve got a lot of little problems—which this proclamation will help fix. But what can possibly go all that wrong?”

“Don’t jinx it,” I muttered. “Please don’t jinx it.”

You can read more about Meg, Randall and the citizens of Caerphilly in Lord of the Wings, the 19th book in the “Meg Langslow” mystery series, published by Minotaur. The first book in the series is Murder with Peacocks.

GIVEAWAY: Leave a comment by 12 a.m. eastern on September 4 for the chance to win a print copy of Lord of the Wings. The giveaway is open to U.S. residents only. Winner will be notified within 48 hours after giveaway closes and you will have three days to respond after being contacted or another winner will be selected.

About the author
Lord of the Wings is the nineteenth book in Donna Andrews’s award-winning, NYT-bestselling Meg Langslow series. Donna is currently serving as Executive Vice President of Mystery Writers of America, as Vice President of the Chesapeake Chapter of Sisters in Crime, and as author liaison for Malice Domestic. When not writing she reads, plays computer games, gardens with more enthusiasm than skill, and chauffeurs her nephews.

Visit Donna at, on Twitter and on Facebook

57 responses to “Mayor Shiffley and the Halloween Memo by Donna Andrews

  1. Sounds like a great Halloween read!!

  2. Sounds like a book I will enjoy reading. I have added it to my TBR list.

  3. This is one of my favorite series and I LOVE Halloween! Sure hope I win!

  4. Love this series! Can’t wait to read it!

  5. Gosh, she is one of my very favorite authors, hilarious 🙂

  6. Always love Meh’s adventures

  7. I love this series it’s my favorite of all. Each just gets better and funnier. Can’t wait to check this new one out. Thanks for the chance to win.

  8. Debbie Carnes

    Sounds like a fun read

  9. I love this title. This sounds like a great addtition to this series. Thank you for the chance to win

  10. One of my favorite series!!!

  11. Lois Rotella

    One of my favorite series. Love all the characters in this series.

  12. Fun! I’d love to have it.

  13. Peggy Hyndman

    Sounds like a good read. Thank you for the chance to win a copy of “Lord of the Wings.”

  14. I’ve read several of Donna Andrews’ books and found them to be enjoyable. I am sure this one will be also an interesting read. Thanks for a chance to win a copy.

  15. I love this series. After I read the book I pass it on to my daughter who also loves the series.
    thanks for the chance to get the newest installment.

  16. Would love to win a copy of Lord of the Wings~ Thanks Dru!

  17. I already love Lord of the Wings!

  18. This sounds delightful! This series is lots of fun and humorous. Looking forward to reading this one.

  19. Barbara Hackel

    This is one of my all time favorite series! 🙂 I have loved every one of the books, and have enjoyed watching the twins grow and how they fit into Meg’s sleuthing schedule. I think I want to move to Caerphilly and be adopted by the Langslow family. 😉 Thanks Dru and Donna for the opportunity to win a copy of this book, and for the great excerpt!

  20. Looks like a great book ! Thank you for the contest!

  21. This is a new series to me. Ridiculous really since it’s been going on so long. I’d love to win a copy and get into the swing. Thanks.

  22. I’ve never lived in a town that was quite that devoted to Halloween. Sounds like a fun read.

  23. LOVE this series! Such great characters. I feel the same way as the commenter above–I, too, would love to move to Caerphilly. These are such fun reads–highly recommended! Thanks for the chance to win a copy of Lord of the Wings.

  24. I have found all Donna’s books hilarious. Always a fun read.

  25. Doward Wilson

    One of the funniest and wackiest series I have read. Thanks for the chance to win.

  26. I love this series. Meg’s family is a hoot. Thanks for the giveaway.

  27. Love the town, the characters, the fun! Can’t wait!

  28. Another great title and sounds like a good halloween read

  29. Sounds like a wonderful Halloween treat. Thanks for the opportunity to enter your contest.

  30. elainehroberson

    Love this series and I would enjoy winning a copy of the latest. Thanks for the opportunity.

  31. This series is great. Thanks for the giveaway!

  32. I love the Meg Langslow mysteries! Lord of the Wings is awesome! 🙂

  33. You’d think people would know enough not to say, “What can go wrong?”

  34. I would love to win this book! Thanks so much! 🙂

  35. Nancy Roessner

    It’s always fun to read anything from this series!

  36. Marilyn Watson

    Oh boy a Halloween Read…love it…

  37. I LOVE this series. I’ve read every one of your books and I am always excited when the next one comes out.

  38. Sharon Johnson

    Sounds great! Thanks.

  39. One of the best series…. ever!

  40. I love this series and Donna Andrews! Always a ton of laughs and suspense!!

  41. Mary Jane H.

    Sounds like a delightful book with lots of suspense.

  42. Barbara daley

    I love this series! Thanks for the opportunity

  43. Always looking forward to more of Meg’s mighty mouth, crazy Caerphillites and amazing adventures.

  44. LOL – I would love to see the skeleton tea party!!

  45. I’d love to win a copy … I took one out of the library for my partner to read and then had to bring it back since I couldn’t renew it. Owning it would solve that problem. LOL

  46. Barbara Tobey

    Delightful series.

  47. One of my very favorite series and authors. I can’t wait to laugh my way through this latest addition. Thanks for the chance to win.

  48. Sounds like a fun read and what could wrong during Halloween.

  49. Sounds like fun! Can’t wait for it to come out.

  50. Brian Frauenknecht

    I absolutely can’t wait to read this. I love Donna Andrews’ books and I love Meg and can’t wait to hear about her latest adventure. I would love to win this novel. Thank you for the chance Dru!!!

  51. I’ve read all of these books and love Meg and her zany relatives, especially her grandfather.

  52. Michelle Fidler

    I really like this series but haven’t read all of them. I own quite a few of the books but haven’t read any in a while. Hoot if you like bird mysteries! I’ve been with the series since there were only one or two books. I found the series online, maybe on Amazon.

  53. Love the series and would love to win. Thanks for having the giveaway!

  54. Pamela Woodfield

    This is such a great series. I started it years ago & quit reading for awhile. I’m going to start it all over. I remember laughing a lot about one that had a crazy peacock in it.

  55. A series I need to really binge-read…….
    Thank you for the giveaway…..

  56. Contest is closed.