“Meg, dear, could you write a note to your cousin Evangelina? I’m afraid my sprained wrist is still rather bothersome.”
“What am I supposed to say to her?” I asked, as I picked up the pen and notepaper Mother was holding out.
“Dear Evangelina,” she began. “Thank you for your lovely note.”
“That’s not writing a note,” I grumbled. “That’s taking dictation.”
“Yes, dear. Meg and Michael would be delighted to have you visit for Opening Day.”
“No, we wouldn’t,” I said, looking up from the note. “We’re already full to the rafters with people coming to see the boys play their first baseball game. We’re even out of sleeping bag spaces in the barn.”
“We’ve already made a reservation for you at the Caerphilly Inn,” Mother went on.
“No, we haven’t.” Mother gave me a reproachful look. “Until just now, I had no idea Cousin Evangelina was coming. Unless—did you already make it?”
“Of course, dear. But now we have to figure out a reason for putting her there instead of having her either at your house or up at the cottage with your father and me. You know how easily insulted she is.”
“Hmm.” I started to chew on the end of the pen and remembered, just in time, that doing so was like fingernails on a blackboard to Mother. “I have it. Normally either we or Meg and Michael could put you up, but with so many people in both households so busy preparing for the upcoming bagpipe competition, I think you’ll find it much more restful at the Inn.”
“Oh, excellent.” Mother beamed at me. “You’re developing quite a knack for smoothing over delicate social situations.”
“It’s called lying,” I said.
“There isn’t really a bagpipe competition, is there?” Mother asked.
“Not that I know of,” I said. “But if Evangelina grows suspicious, I’m sure we can get Dad and Rob to march around with the bagpipes Dad brought back from the Highland Games. They’d like that—especially if it means not having her underfoot.”
“I hope it doesn’t come to that,” she said. “Because frankly, I find the notion that either of them has bagpipes in his possession . . . disquieting. Can’t you arrange for those hideous things to disappear?”
“I’ll put it on my agenda,” I said. “But not till after opening day. Anything else we need to tell Evangelina?”
“I’m sure you’ll be impressed with how well Josh and Jamie pitch and bat,” she went on.
“No, she won’t,” I said. “They’re only eight, and in coach-pitch. They won’t be pitching—Michael will.”
“Well, then she’ll be impressed with how earnestly and attentively they stand around awaiting the occasional arrival of a ball in their general vicinity,” Mother said. “That’s a thing in baseball, isn’t it?”
“It’s called fielding,” I said. “I’m sure you’ll be impressed with how well Josh and Jamie bat and field. Anything else?”
Mother pursed her lips and looked uncomfortable. I waited.
“I think we need to warn her about the sanitary conditions at the ball field,” she said finally.
“You mean the portapotties?” I asked. Mother shuddered delicately.
“Must we call them that?” she asked.
“We must if we want her to have any idea what we’re warning her about.”
Mother pondered for a few moments.
“How about this?” she said. “Please be aware that there is no running water at the field, and as a result the sanitary facilities are barbaric.”
“I’m saying primitive, not barbaric,” I said as I wrote. “And I still think we should just tell her to beware of the portapotties. But it’s your note. How do you want me to close? Fondly? Affectionately yours? Because I need to start getting the boys ready for their practice. You have no idea how much time it takes to round up all their gear—hats, gloves, bats, cleats, batting helmets, athletic cups—“
Mother winced at the last item.
“Are cups really necessary for boys so young?” Mother asked.
“I’ll have you know they’re vastly proud of those cups,” I said. “Shall we warn Evangelina to look impressed when they take them out and show them to her?”
“Oh, dear,” Mother said. “Perhaps I should discourage her from coming. Her heart’s not what it used to be.”
“Relax,” I said. “The novelty will have worn off by Opening Day. I’m sure as long as Evangelina remembers to use the bathroom before coming to the field, she’ll be fine. It’s going to be a lovely, long weekend of baseball and family bonding. What could possibly go wrong?”
Find out the answer in Die Like an Eagle, the newest Meg Langslow mystery from Donna Andrews.
Die Like an Eagle is the 20th book in the Meg Langslow mystery series, published by Minotaur, August 2016.
The brilliantly funny Donna Andrews delivers another winner in the acclaimed avian-themed series that mystery readers have come to love. The nineteenth book in her New York Times best-selling series continues to surprise and delight in this next knee-slapping adventure featuring Meg Langslow and all the eccentric characters that make up her world.
Meg is Team Mom and Michael is 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.
With Die Like an Eagle, readers can look forward to another zany Meg Langslow mystery–this one filled with the spirit of America’s pastime and Donna’s eagle eye.
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About the author
Donna Andrews was born in Yorktown, Virginia and now lives in Reston, Virginia. Die Like an Eagle (August 2016) is the twentieth book in her Agatha, Anthony, and Lefty winning Meg Langslow series, to be followed by Gone Gull in 2017. She’s currently serving as the Executive Vice President of Mystery Writers of America and is active in Sisters in Crime. She blogs with the Femmes Fatales. For more information check out her website at donnaandrews.com.
All comments are welcomed.
Giveaway: Leave a comment below for your chance to win a print copy of Die Like an Eagle. US entries only, please. The giveaway will end August 24, 2016 at 12 AM (midnight) EST. Good luck everyone!