Swan for the Money

Narrated by: Bernadette Dunne
Series: Meg Langslow, Book 11
Length: 7 hrs and 56 mins
4.5 out of 5 stars (116 ratings)

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Publisher's Summary

Meg Langslow's eccentric parents have a new hobby: growing roses and entering them in highly competitive shows. Dad's gardening skill and Mother's gift for selecting and arranging the blossoms should make them an unbeatable team - and Meg is relieved they've taken up such a safe, gentle hobby. She even volunteers to help when the Caerphilly Garden Club sponsors its first annual rose show.

But after a few hours of dealing with her parents' competitors, Meg sees trouble...Rose growers are so cutthroat that they will do nearly anything to win the Black Swan trophy - making them all prime suspects when Meg discovers that someone is attempting to kill the wealthy woman on whose estate the competition is being held.

Meg tries to leave the detecting to the local police and focus on the competition, but she just can't help getting her hands dirty when lives are at stake....

©2010 Donna Andrews (P)2018 Dreamscape Media, LLC

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  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

Plot is hilariously plausible.

Meg Langslow’s father is in trouble again. He just spread manure in the rose garden where Meg’s parents have begun growing prize-winning blooms. The Caerphilly Garden Club is hosting a rose show at Mrs. Philomena Winkleson’s mansion and farm and is holding a cocktail party the night before at the Langslow’s home. Mother says the odor is overwhelming and insists they move the party elsewhere so eccentric Mrs. Winkleson is called upon again. She agrees but only if the guests wear black, white, or grey, her color themes.

Meg Langslow is the organizer of the rose show. She’s been immersed in rose lore and horticulture with her parents for months. It seemed natural to call upon her organizational skills for the first rose show in town. In her organizer role, Meg is given more freedom than usual to walk about Mrs. Winkleson’s estate. After getting lost, Meg stumbles across Mrs. Winkleson’s rose garden which, until now, had never been seen by outsiders. The garden sporting black roses is surrounded by 12-foot chain-link fences with razor wires! She sees a prone figure in a black cape which she fears is Mrs. Winkleson. Thankfully Meg’s doctor father is on site and rushes to her aid. Poison is the reason the woman died.

Meg is given a tour of the grounds along with her grandfather, Dr. Blake, famous zoologist, where they learn just how far Mrs. Winkleson takes her passion for black and white. There is a breed of cows with white bands around the midsections of their otherwise black coats. Territorial black swans are holding Meg’s car hostage. Goats so sensitive that they faint at the slightest stimuli had everyone giggling. Viewing all the animals is a concern for Dr. Blake since the local vet wants to be sure that the animals are not being mistreated. Plus the deputies continue to search for Mrs. Winkleson’s kidnapped black-and-white dog.

In any case, the party does go on. Amid champagne and crab hors d’oeuvres being served, another poisoning occurs. Again Dr. Langslow is on the scene to assist. Chief Burke, also at the party, finally has the opportunity to follow a crime from the beginning. However, there are hundreds of guests and staff to interview before clean up for the night can begin. This gives Meg extra time to think about possibly being pregnant. The rose show must still go on the next day as well.

Donna Andrews has a way with making each comical event believable. It takes talent to pull all the events together and keep the plot hilariously plausible. There’s never a dull moment in a Donna Andrews novel. Something is always going awry. Yet Meg Langslow and family save the day.

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

Rose eating goats!

cozy-mystery, amateur-sleuth, competition, family-dynamics, verbal-humor, situational-humor

There's a rose competition in Caerphilly and all the usual suspects are involved, especially Meg who always gets roped in by her mother. Because of the incredibly wet weather and the predations of deer , the competition is being held at the estate of a real pip. There's enough craziness to go around even before Meg finds the first victim butt then there's the goats, the cows, and especially the attack swans. Of course I loved it!
Bernadette Dunne continues to ace the narration!

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Really good book

Fell in love with this series when the 4th book in the series was released in cassette tape format. Wonderful humor and characters that you come to love like family. The mysteries are always great

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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

Another excellent addition

Donna Andrews has crafted another zany storyline with the usual characters that you can’t help but fall in love with.

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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

A total delight! I was sad when it was over!

Meg Langslow has been dragooned by her parents into organizing the rose show for the Caerphilly Garden Club in Donna Andrews's Swan for the Money. The show is scheduled to take place at the estate of Mrs. Philomena Winkleson, an eccentric and extremely harsh resident who detests all colors, insisting on keeping everything in black and white. One entrant even shows anger upon learning that the competition will allow colored roses because Mrs. Winkleson told her that only black and white roses would be allowed in the show. The owner of the estate told the woman this despite the fact that every other member of the committee voted against such a requirement.

As Meg goes to prepare for the show, her newly-found grandfather, the famed 90-something zoologist Dr. Blake, along with his partner in preventing crime against animals, Caroline Wilner of the Wilner Animal Sanctuary, tag along. They confess eventually to Meg that they have come because Dr. Clarence Rutledge, the chief local veterinarian, suspects Mrs. Winkleson of abusing her animals. This becomes even more noticeable at Mrs. Winkleson's callous response to the theft of Mimi, her pure-bred Maltese dog. Then as Meg, her grandfather, and Caroline visit the goats, which have been bred to faint at the first sign of nervousness, they realize that one figure lying down is not a goat. Instead, it is Mrs. Winkleson, and she has no pulse. Caroline starts CPR, and Dr. Langslow comes running to help. But they discover that the woman has been stabbed with a pair of secateurs, a fancy name for garden shears, that Meg made for her mother and which were stolen from Meg's mother at the garden party two weeks earlier. Then, just as the ambulance is pulling up, everyone is astonished to see Mrs. Winkleson approach them in anger at having her home bothered. The victim, who doesn't make it, turns out to be Mrs. Sandy Seacrest, a helpful and cooperative member of the Garden Club, probably mistaken for the estate's owner.

I greatly enjoyed Swan for the Money. The plot had fun twists, while the characters were either fun to like or fun to hate. I especially enjoyed all the animal aspects in the book. I also really found the details of the rose show to be informative and interesting. The book kept me riveted from start to finish.

The bird in the title of Swan for the Money comes from a pair of large black swans that live on Mrs. Winkleson's estate. They add a lot of humor to the book, as the swans are very territorial and aggressive. In one scene, a swan bothers the crime scene, so Dr. Smoot, the vampire-obsessed medical examiner, gets knocked down and has his arm broken when he tries to shoo away the swan. Smoot decides that the swan was responsible for killing Mrs. Seacrest, despite the fact that the woman was killed with gardening shears. Meg uses a truck to push it away, but the swan jumps onto the windshield and refuses to move. When Meg tries using the windshield wipers to make the swan move, in fury, it pulls off the wipers. Meg has to drive backwards because she can't see through the front windshield.

The audiobook is performed by Bernadette Dunne, who has narrated the whole series in such a vivid way. She creates excellent voices for each character and impressive inflections for the whole book. Dunne does an amazing job with this book, giving me a lot of listening pleasure.

Swan for the Money is a fun addition to the Meg Langslow series, which is full of humor and creative touches. I liked the new angle of dealing with growing plants. Most of the previous books have focused on animals as the central features, so I enjoyed the touch of the roses. I highly recommend this book and give it five stars.