Hen of the Baskervilles by Donna Andrews is the fifteenth humorous mystery featuring blacksmith Meg Lanslow, her family, and the community of Caerphilly, Virginia (available July 18, 2013).
Hen of the Baskervilles by Donna Andrews finds series heroine Meg Langslow in charge of organizing this year’s Virginia Un-fair:
“This isn’t just a county fair, then?”
“No, it’s a statewide agricultural exposition,” Randall said. “This is our second year.”
“What inspired it?” the reporter asked.
“The possible demise of the Virginia State Fair,” Randall said. “Oh, I know it’s not really dead now, but last year when we started planning our first event, the nonprofit that was running the official fair was in bankruptcy, and no one knew if there’d be a fair that fall. And we thought that was a shame, so we organized our own event. And since it wasn’t officially the state fair, we decided to call it the ‘Un-fair.’ ”
The reporter chuckled at that, as most people did. “And you kept on with your plans even after the state fairgrounds and the right to hold the state fair were sold after all?”
“We did,” Randall said. “The folks who bought the rights to hold the official Virginia State Fair own a bunch of state fairs and other events. They know how to run a nice fair, I’ll give ’em that. I enjoy going there. But they were out of state, and a for-profit company, so last year we weren’t sure what their event would look like. We decided there was room for another kind of event, locally run, and with a different focus.”
“What kind of focus?” the reporter asked.
“Heritage animals and heirloom crops,” Randall said. “For example, in the chicken tent, we probably have twice as many different breeds of chicken as you’ll find at most events. Here, let me show you.”
Awesome, right? The very definition of wholesome family fun. What could possibly go wrong? Well, as it turns out, theft, vandalism, and murder, and that’s just the blotter for the opening day. So now in addition to everything else on her to do-list, Meg must stop a crime wave and catch a killer before these unsavory acts can prove to be the Un-fair’s undoing.
[A delicious crime wave, perhaps?]