In August, I decided that I wanted to start doing more formal-type book reviewing, so I began contacting editors. As usual, some ignored my e-mails completely, which is lame. But as it turns out, I have four books to review for the month of September. This is great news—because I love to read, and I love to write—but I didn’t know entirely what I was getting myself into when I told these editors to send me “whatever.” I should have qualified, perhaps, that I tend to go for nonfiction on the topics of nature, environment, adventure, and/or travel.
The first book I received in the mail was Donna Andrews’ latest “cozy mystery” called The Penguin Who Knew Too Much (St. Martin’s Minotaur, 2007). Cozy mysteries, if they are at all like this one, tend to be light on the blood and gore, heavy on the humor. The Penguin Who Knew Too Much is the eighth book in Andrews’ Meg Lanslow mystery series. This book begins as Lanslow, an amateur sleuth, discovers a bunch of penguins—and a dead body—in her basement. Even though Lanslow is a blacksmith by trade, she’s computer-savvy enough to Google her suspects for background info. She races to investigation sites in her beat-up blue Toyota, and she cracks the case within 72 hours (but only after taking a crossbow to the cheek and breaking a leg in the process).
Even though I wasn’t sure what to expect from a series that has been labeled “cozy,” I found myself amused by Lanslow’s adventures and impressed with Andrews’ ability to keep serious topics—such as dead bodies in basements—on the safe side.
The longer, more formal-type, review of this book is now posted on About.com’s Contemporary Literature site. To read it, click here.