Donna Andrews is one the most familiar names in cozy mystery space and certainly a towering figure in the Mystery Writers of America (MWA) community. Her Agatha and Anthony winning Meg Langslow series has more than 30 installments and her “Turing Hopper” books are delightful.
In This guide, we provide a profile of the author, along with the complete list of series and books written by her and their order.
Donna Andrews: Overview of Author And Her Books
Like Meg Langslow, the ornamental blacksmith heroine of her series from St. Martin’s Press, Donna Andrews was born and raised in Yorktown, Virginia. These days she spends almost as much time in cyberspace as Turing Hopper, the artificial intelligence who appears in her technocozy series from Berkley Prime Crime.
Although she read widely as a child, especially in fantasy and science fiction, her love of mystery developed during her college years (and particularly at exam time.) Andrews attended the University of Virginia, majoring in English and Drama with a concentration on writing. After graduation, she moved to the Washington, D.C. area and joined the communications staff of a large financial organization, where for two decades she honed her writing skills on nonfiction and developed a profound understanding of the criminal mind through her observation of interdepartmental politics.
In the fall of 1997 she started on the road to publication by submitting her first completed mystery manuscript to the Malice Domestic/St. Martin’s Press Best First Traditional Mystery contest. Upon learning that Murder with Peacocks had won, she acquired a copy of “Peterson’s Field Guide to Eastern Birds” and settled down to have fun in her fictional world for as long as she could get away with it. Murder with Peacocks won the Agatha, Anthony, Barry, and Romantic Times awards for best first novel and the Lefty award for the funniest mystery of 1999.
Subsequent books have also received Agatha and Lefty nominations, and Crouching Buzzard, Leaping Loon won the Toby Bromberg Award for Excellence (presented by Romantic Times) for the Most Humorous Mystery of 2003. Owl’s Well That Ends Well (April 2005), the sixth book in the series, features a murder at a giant yard sale.
No Nest for the Wicket (August 2006), the seventh book, explores eXtreme Croquet, and in The Penguin Who Knew Too Much (August 2007), Meg discovers penguins–and a body–in her basement. In Cockatiels at Seven, Meg must solve a crime while encumbered with toddler. She must organize her county’s holiday parade and solve a related murder in Six Geese A-Slaying. Swan for the Money, features competitive rose growing and belted Tennessee fainting goats.
Stork Raving Mad finds Meg solving the murder of a professor–while 8-1/2 months pregnant with twins In The Real Macaw, Meg finds the all of the inhabitants of the local animal shelter have been evacuated to her living, and helps her fellow townspeople figure out what to do with the bank repossesses their jail.
In Some Like It Hawk, when eccentric hermit Phineas Throckmorton is accused of murder, everyone in the town of Caerphilly knows someone’s framing him. But it’s up to Meg to prove his innocence–and save the town from financial ruin.
The Hen of the Baskervilles features a dastardly murder and the kidnapping of a prize chicken that threaten to ruin Caerphilly’s fair. Duck the Halls features Christmas in Caerphilly, and a series of mysterious pranks that threatens to spill everyone’s holiday. In The Good, the Bad, and the Emus, Meg tries to solve a long-standing mystery and prevent a new murder, while helping her grandfather round up a flock of feral emus.
The Nightingale Before Christmas finds Meg helping her mother, who is one of twelve designers participating in a Christmas-themed show house–only to have one of the designers murdered. Next up is The Lord of the Wings, in which murder strikes during Caerphilly’s Halloween festival. Dashing Through the Snowbirds, the book #32 in the series, has a release date of October 11, 2022.
Donna has also written four books in the Turing Hopper series, which was partly inspired by her experience serving as a translator between the marketing and systems departments at her day job.
Andrews notes that in these books she seeks to use computers and other technology accurately without making the action incomprehensible for readers who prefer whodoneits to computer manuals. The first book in the series, You’ve Got Murder, won the Agatha award for best mystery of 2002, and was followed by Click Here for Murder, Access Denied, and Delete All Suspects.
A member of MWA, Sisters in Crime, and the Private Investigators and Security Association, Andrews spends her free time gardening, conquering the world (but only in Civiliation IV), and watching her twin nephews play baseball, basketball, and track.
Complete List of Meg Langslow Books In Order
Meg Langslow is a successful decorative blacksmith and an exceptional amateur sleuth. The series is set in Yorktown, Virginia. Murder with Peacocks, won the St. Martin’s Minotaur Best First Traditional Mystery contest, the Agatha, Anthony, Barry, and Romantic Times Reviewers’ Choice awards for best first novel, and the Lefty award for funniest mystery of 1999.
- Murder with Peacocks (1999)
- Murder with Puffins (2000)
- Revenge of the Wrought Iron Flamingos (2001)
- Crouching Buzzard, Leaping Loon (2003)
- We’ll Always Have Parrots (2004)
- Owls Well That Ends Well (2005)
- No Nest for the Wicket (2006)
- The Penguin Who Knew Too Much (2007)
- Cockatiels at Seven (2008)
- Six Geese A-Slaying (2008)
- Swan for the Money (2009)
- Stork Raving Mad (2010)
- The Real Macaw (2011)
- Some Like It Hawk (2012)
- The Hen of the Baskervilles (2013)
- Duck the Halls (2013)
- The Good, the Bad, and the Emus (2014)
- The Nightingale Before Christmas (2014)
- Lord of the Wings (2015)
- Die Like an Eagle (2016)
- Gone Gull (2017)
- How the Finch Stole Christmas! (2017)
- Toucan Keep a Secret (2018)
- Lark! The Herald Angels Sing (2018)
- Terns of Endearment (2019)
- Owl Be Home for Christmas (2019)
- The Falcon Always Wings Twice (2020)
- The Gift of the Magpie (2020)
- Murder Most Fowl (2021)
- The Twelve Jays of Christmas (2021)
- Round Up the Usual Peacocks (2022)
- Dashing Through the Snowbirds (2022)
In addition to the above titles, A Murder Hatched (2008) has the first 2 Meg Langslow novels and The Two Deadly Doves (2015) is an omnibus edition that includes book #10 Six Geese A- Slaying and book #16 Duck the Halls.
Complete List of Turing Hopper Mystery Novels In Order
Turing Hopper, an Artificial Intelligence Personality (AIP) in Crystal City, outside Washington, DC.
- You’ve Got Murder (2002)
- Click Here for Murder (2003)
- Access Denied (2004)
- Delete All Suspects (2005)
Stand Alone Work By Donna Andrews
Homicidal Holidays: Fourteen Tales of Murder and Merriment (2014) by Donna Andrews, Barb Goffman, & Marcia Talley (editors).
Overview of Selected Books
Murder with Peacocks (1999)
Three Weddings…And a Murder. So far Meg Langslow’s summer is not going swimmingly. Down in her small Virginia hometown, she’s maid of honor at the nuptials of three loved ones–each of whom has dumped the planning in her capable hands. One bride is set on including a Native American herbal purification ceremony, while another wants live peacocks on the lawn. Only help from the town’s drop-dead gorgeous hunk, disappointingly rumored to be gay, keeps Meg afloat in a sea of dotty relatives and outrageous neighbors.
And, in whirl of summer parties and picnics, Southern hospitality is strained to the limit by an offensive newcomer who hints at skeletons in the guests’ closets.
But it seems this lady has offended one too many when she’s found dead in suspicious circumstances, followed by a string of accidents–some fatal. Soon, level-headed Meg’s to-do list extends from flower arrangements and bridal registries to catching a killer–before the next catered event is her own funeral.
Crouching Buzzard, Leaping Loon (2003)
Poor Meg Langslow. She’s blessed in so many ways. Michael, her boyfriend, is a handsome, delightful heartthrob who adores her. She’s a successful blacksmith, known for her artistic wrought-iron creations. But somehow Meg’s road to contentment is more rutted and filled with potholes than seems fair.
There are Michael’s and Meg’s doting but demanding mothers, for a start. And then there’s the fruitless hunt for a place big enough for the couple to live together. And a succession of crises brought on by the well-meaning but utterly wacky demands of her friends and family. Demands that Meg has a hard time refusing—which is why she’s tending the switchboard of Mutant Wizards, where her brother’s computer games are created, and handling all the office management problems that no one else bothers with.
For companionship, besides a crew of eccentric techies, she has a buzzard with one wing—who she must feed frozen mice thawed in the office microwave—and Michael’s mother’s nightmare dog. Not to mention the psychotherapists who refuse to give up their lease on half of the office space, and whose conflicting therapies cause continuing dissension. This is not what Meg had in mind when she agreed to help her brother move his staff to new offices.
In fact, the atmosphere is so consistently loony that the office mail cart makes several passes through the reception room, with the office practical joker lying on top of it pretending to be dead, before Meg realizes that he’s become the victim of someone who wasn’t joking at all. He’s been murdered for real.
The Penguin Who Knew Too Much (2007)
Hold on to your hats, everybody! Donna Andrews is taking us on another ride into the wonderful world of Meg Langslow, a world filled with laughter as well as the knotty problems Meg always seems to encounter and—somehow—solve.
Okay, maybe there are people in Antarctica with penguins in their basements, but in Virginia? Only Meg’s dad could manage that one. A body down there—well, that’s somewhat more likely.
It turns out that explaining the penguins’ presence is easy—Meg’s dad volunteered to take care of the birds until the future of the bankrupt local zoo could be determined. But identifying the body in the basement proves a harder task—could it be, as Meg fears, that of the vanished zoo owner?
In the small southern town of Caerphilly, rumors fly quickly, and all the other well-meaning citizens who have agreed to take in zoo animals are now worried that they might be stuck with their guests indefinitely. So when Meg’s dad generously offers to help out anyone who can no longer care for their four-legged charges, a parade of wild creatures begins to make Meg and Michael’s newly renovated house look more like Noah’s ark.
Meg and Michael have been planning to elope in order to avoid the elaborate wedding their mothers have begun to organize—a plan that’s threatened by both the murder investigation and the carnival of animals. The only way to set things right, Meg decides, is to identify both their uninvited visitor and the killer who put him in their basement.
Cockatiels at Seven (2008)
It’s time for more outrageous and feathered fun in the award-winning, laugh-out-loud Meg Langslow series.
When her old friend Karen drops by with two-year-old son Timmy, Meg Langslow reluctantly agrees to babysit “just for a little while.” But when nightfall comes, the toddler is still in residence and Karen isn’t answering any phone calls. Meg decides she must find out what’s happening, so the next morning, with Timmy in tow, she retraces her friend’s footsteps—and begins to suspect that Karen’s disappearance is tied to at least one serious crime. Has Karen been killed or kidnapped? Is she on the run from the bad guys? Or is she one of the bad guys? The police don’t seem to care, so Meg once again plays sleuth—this time with a toddler as her sidekick.
As usual, Meg’s extended family adds to the complications in her life. What covert animal welfare project are Dad and the curmudgeonly zoologist Dr. Montgomery Blake working on—and will Meg have to make another late-night trip to bail them out of jail? Why does Meg’s brother keep disappearing—is he merely trying to avoid babysitting, or is he involved in something more mysterious? Will taking care of Timmy dampen newly married Meg and Michael’s enthusiasm for starting a family of their own? And are any of Meg’s relatives reliable enough to be trusted with a two-year-old—especially a two-year-old whose whereabouts might be of interest to some very dangerous people?
The Hen of the Baskervilles (2013)
The newest mystery in Donna Andrews’s gut-bustingly funny, award-winning, New York Times bestselling series is anything but elementary. Meg Langslow is helping Mayor Randall Shiffley organize the Virginia Un-Fair, Caerphilly’s entry in the race to replace the old state fair (which has gone bankrupt). Before a line can even form outside the ticket booth, however, a pair of Bantam Russian Orloff chickens are stolen from their coop in the chicken tent. Soon, a rash of vandalism crops up at the fair, showing no heritage farm animal, prize vegetable, or artisanal craft to be safe.
While patrolling the fairgrounds, determined to catch the perp, Meg runs into her friend Molly, who has been building a successful business making goat cheeses. Molly is terrified that she may lose her farm because her idle husband Brett has left her for Genette Sedgewick, a rich hobby winemaker, and is demanding his half of the land. Meg enlists Mother’s help to find Molly a divorce lawyer, but later that night, Brett is found murdered and Molly is swiftly accused as his killer.
Meg is convinced that her friend wouldn’t so much as harm a fly, but can she find the real killer before it’s too late? Will she track down the vandal who has been terrorizing—however creatively—the fair’s participants? And will Michael be able to convince her to add members of his new favorite heritage breed to their growing menagerie? Meg’s most hilarious caper yet, the curious incident of the hen in the nighttime will have readers rolling on the floor with laughter.
Die Like an Eagle (2016)
The brilliantly funny Donna Andrews delivers another winner in the acclaimed avian-themed series that mystery readers have come to love. The nineteenth book in her New York Times best-selling series continues to surprise and delight in this next knee-slapping adventure featuring Meg Langslow and all the eccentric characters that make up her world.
Meg is Team Mom and Michael is coach of their twin sons’ youth baseball team, the Caerphilly Eagles. Meg tangles with Biff Brown, the petty, vindictive league head. On opening day, Biff’s lookalike brother is found dead in the porta-potty at the ball field. So many people think Biff’s scum that it would be easy to blame him, but he has an alibi–and Meg suspects he may actually have been the intended victim.
With Die Like an Eagle, readers can look forward to another zany Meg Langslow mystery–this one filled with the spirit of America’s pastime and Donna’s eagle eye.
Toucan Keep a Secret (2018)
Meg Langslow is at Trinity Episcopal Church locking up after an event and checking on the toucan her friend Rev. Robyn Smith is fostering in her office. When she investigates the sound of hammering in the columbarium (the underground crypt where cremated remains are buried), Meg finds the murdered body of an elderly parishioner. Several niches have been chiseled open; several urns knocked out; and amid the spilled ashes is a gold ring with a huge red stone.
The curmudgeonly victim had become disgruntled with the church and ranted all over town about taking back his wife’s ashes. Did someone who had it in for him follow him to the columbarium? Or was the motive grave robbery? Or did he see someone breaking in and investigate? Why was the ruby left behind?
While Chief Burke investigates the murder, Robyn recruits Meg to contact the families of the people whose ashes were disturbed. While doing so, Meg learns many secrets about Caerphilly’s history—and finds that the toucan may play a role in unmasking the killer. Clues and events indicate that a thief broke into the church to steal the toucan the night of the murder, so Meg decides to set a trap for the would-be toucan thief—who might also be the killer.
Terns of Endearment (2019)
Meg Langslow’s grandfather has been booked by a cruise line to give lectures on birds and other environmental topics as part of their ship’s education/entertainment itinerary, and Grandfather has arranged for a passel of family members to join him.
The passengers’ vacation quickly becomes a nightmare when they wake up to find themselves broken down and in need of repairs in the Bermuda Triangle. To keep the stranded passengers calm, Meg’s family and friends band together to keep things organized and provide entertainment. Some even take up the cause of nursing an injured tern back to health.
But things get even worse when a crew member announces to all that a woman has jumped overboard, leaving behind her shoes, shawl, and a note. The note reveals she’s the mortal enemy of group of writers who came on board for a retreat, and the group is split on whether suicide is in-character for her. Meanwhile, grandfather’s assistant Trevor seems to have gone missing too!
The captain decides not to investigate, saying he’ll notify American authorities when they reach their destination. But Meg’s father thinks they should find out whether there was foul play while the prime suspects are all stuck on board. Who wanted the writer dead? Why doesn’t the captain seem concerned? What happened to Trevor? It’ll be a race against the clock to solve these mysteries before they make the necessary repairs and return to shore.
Round Up the Usual Peacocks (2022)
Kevin, Meg’s cyber-savvy nephew who lives in the basement, comes to her with a problem. He’s become involved as the techie for a true-crime podcast, one that focuses on Virginia cold cases and unsolved crimes. And he thinks their podcast has hit a nerve with someone . . . one of the podcast team has had a brush with death that Kevin thinks was an attempted murder, not an accident.
Kevin rather sheepishly asks for Meg’s help in checking out the people involved in a couple of the cases. “Given your ability to find out stuff online, why do you need MY help?” she asks. “Um . . . because I’ve already done everything I can online. This’ll take going around and TALKING to people,” he exclaims, with visible horror. “In person!” Not his thing. And no, it can’t wait until after the wedding, because he’s afraid whoever’s after them might take advantage of the chaos of the wedding at Trinity or the reception at Meg and Michael’s house to strike again.
So on top of everything she’s doing to round up vendors and supplies and take care of demanding out-of-town guests, Meg must hunt down the surviving suspects from three relatively local cold cases so she can figure out if they have it in for the podcasters. Could there be a connection to a musician on the brink of stardom who disappeared two decades ago and hasn’t been seen since?
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