The Nightingale Before Christmas - Donna Andrews

Book Reaction (not a full review)

Another enjoyable little jaunt into Meg Lanslow's Caerphilly, and as entertaining as always. My complaints against the cozy formula still stand-- I was able to identify the villain right after the crime, and then had to wait for the rest of the book to catch up-- but the story was enjoyable nonetheless. In this particular adventure, Meg has been roped into organising a show house in which various decorators each decorate a room in their own particular style. Given that several of them are in high-strung artiste mode and Meg's mother is one of the set, hilarity promptly ensues. My favourite decorators were the quilt ladies, who bedecked absolutely everything in quilts.

This year, with Meg's mother busy decorating, Meg's mother-in-law has unilaterally taken over the Christmas dinner extravaganza. She keeps calling Meg at odd moments with context-free questions like, "Turkey or goose?" and "What's your family's gluten situation?"

I looked at the phone in dismay.
"I had no idea we had a gluten situation," I said finally. "What kind of situation?"
"I meant, are a lot of your family going gluten free, or is it safe to have rolls and a bread-based stuffing?"
"I think it's safe to have rolls," I said. "As long as you don't force anyone to eat them at gunpoint."

I get a huge kick out of the title puns, but I've never really understood why all of the book titles have a bird theme. In this case, the nightingale is from the Hans Christian Andersen tale, which is woven nicely into the story itself.

Meg's twin boys still haven't given up on getting her a hamster for Christmas, but now they've started trying to talk Grandma into helping to fund a gift Xbox, which they're positive that Mommy will love. Fortunately, Granny's not falling for it.