One of my favourites in the series so far, possibly because it involves a festival specializing in loud sounds, a secret passage, a medical examiner dressed as Dracula, a forensic evidence technician dressed as a gorilla (how does he manage to keep fake fur out of the crime scene, anyway?), a bunch of (figurative) flying monkeys, a pig-calling competition, and a recalcitrant mime:
"I got a letter of complaint today. Someone threatening to sue Caerphilly Days for discriminating against her in our selection of entertainers.”
“Discrimination?” I exclaimed. “Good grief, we let nearly anyone perform who can walk, crawl, or roll onstage, and if they’re at all noisy, we ask them back. And we go out of our way to be multicultural. I can see the audience suing us for harassment over some of the acts but the entertainers? Who is it?”
“Lady named Heterodoxia Jones," Randall said. "Name ring a bell?"
"Oh, God," I said. "The mime."
"Yeah, here it is," he said. "We're guilty of holding a disparaging attitude toward the ancient and honorable profession of the mime, and also restricting her right to self-expression. And she wants a hundred thousand dollars in compensation or she'll sue us for a cool million."
"Let her sue," I said. "Last time I heard, mimes were not a protected class under the Americans with Disabilities act. Or would they fall under the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission?"
"Whatever," Randall said. "Wouldn't hurt to let her perform. Not that I'm eager to see another mime on our stage, mind you. Just between you and me, I don’t consider shooing mimes away discrimination--more like pest control. But that’s my personal taste. Speaking as mayor of Caerphilly, I’d like to think we’re a mime-friendly town.”
“Save the mime, apple pie, and motherhood speech for the voters,” I said. “We’re as mime-friendly as the next town. What Ms. Jones doesn’t mention is that in addition to being a mime, she’s also an ecdyasist.”
Randall’s brows furrowed.
“A stripper,” I explained. “And while I’m more than a little curious to see what a combination of mime and striptease looks like, I thought we were trying to keep our entertainment at least PG rated.”
“I agree,” Randall said. “Okay, I’ll figure out how to get rid of the naked mime. Keep up the good work.”
Need I say more?
I'm awfully curious about how Andrews comes up with such epic titles. I suspect she comes up with the title first, then weaves the plot around it. In this case, one character raises pigeons and the Flying Monkey guards bring in a hawk. The mystery's pretty weak (Doesn't matter), but at least for once, the book doesn't try to argue that the murderee "deserved it." As always, however, I don't read these for the mysteries; I read them for the characters, the crazy situations, and Andrews' mastery of hilarious dialogue.
After all, no book is perfect.