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The Gift of the Magpie: A Meg Langslow Mystery    by Donna Andrews order for
Gift of the Magpie
by Donna Andrews
Order:  USA  Can
Minotaur, 2020 (2020)
Hardcover, CD, e-Book
* *   Reviewed by Hilary Williamson

It's always a pleasure to read Donna Andrews' wittily wacky Meg Langslow mysteries, especially those set in a holiday season. Gift of the Magpie (the twenty-eighth in this engaging cozy series) is a Christmas adventure, centered on Caerphilly's Helping Hands for the Holidays project (which I hope exists somewhere beyond fiction).

Naturally Meg is the prime organizer as neighbors help others with projects on their to-do lists that they can't manage themselves or simply can't afford - from supplying wildlife manure to building a wheelchair ramp. Then, Meg is asked to help Harvey the Hoarder, whose 'relatives are threatening to sic Adult Protective Services on him.'

Enlisting helpers is easy. Persuading Harvey takes more effort but they get there. Along the way, Harvey mentions break-ins by his 'three greedy cousins', as well as trouble with neighbors. It seems connected to the bank the family used to own. But before the work is complete, they find Harvey in the garage with a really big pool of blood around his head - whodunit?

Of course, Meg figures it all out, as we expect, and helps Grandfather sort out his missing magpies as an aside. Along the way, readers share Caerphilly's delightful festivities - though a white Christmas doesn't seem likely, it does turn out to be a surprisingly happy one, for one and all.

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