Read The Nightingale Before Christmas by Donna Andrews Online


As the holidays draw near in Caerphilly, Mother volunteers to take part in in a big Christmas-themed decorator show house—each room of a temporarily untenanted house is decorated to the hilt by a different decorator for the public to tour. Of course, Mother insists that Meg pitch in with the organization, and she finds herself surrounded by flamboyant personalities with maAs the holidays draw near in Caerphilly, Mother volunteers to take part in in a big Christmas-themed decorator show house—each room of a temporarily untenanted house is decorated to the hilt by a different decorator for the public to tour. Of course, Mother insists that Meg pitch in with the organization, and she finds herself surrounded by flamboyant personalities with massive egos clashing and feeling their professional reputations are at stake. Then the rooms start to be sabotaged, and an unfortunate designer turns up dead—making Mother a prime suspect. Can Meg catch the real killer in time to save Mother the indignity of arrest?The brilliantly funny and talented Donna Andrews delivers another winner in the acclaimed avian-themed series that mystery readers have come to love. Cozies make excellent stocking-stuffers, and The Nightingale Before Christmas is guaranteed to put the "ho ho hos" into the holidays for the legions of fans hungry for another Christmas book featuring Meg Langslow. Donna has won many awards for this very popular series, and continues to come up with new hilarious adventures for her endearing heroine. The novel is full of superb screwball comedy as well as Donna's trademark crisp plotting, not to mention bushels of holiday cheer--it wouldn't be the most wonderful time of the year without it....

Title : The Nightingale Before Christmas
Author :
Rating :
ISBN : 9781466850552
Format Type : ebook
Number of Pages : 304 Pages
Status : Available For Download
Last checked : 21 Minutes ago!

The Nightingale Before Christmas Reviews

  • ❂ Jennifer
    2019-06-23 01:02

    Not *as* good as last year's Duck the Halls but I'm not sure Duck the Halls can be bested anyway. Nightingale is an excellent mystery with a nice twist at the end and a well-written book overall. Ms. Andrews knows how to leave her reader with a smile and Christmas spirit at the end. Excellent!Full review:

  • Carly
    2019-05-24 23:12

    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.

  • Betty
    2019-06-15 22:15

    Curled up and enjoy another Christmas in Caerphilly where Meg is in charge of the volunteers house decorating group. Packages have gone missing and minor accidents have occurred in several of the rooms. They appear to be all caused by one decorator. He has the master bedroom and is not like by the other decorators. Randall Shiffley is busy fixing all mishaps. One evening, returning to check on something at the house, several shots are fired at Meg. The prime suspect in the disappearance of the mail and the damage is found dead. All Meg's family and friends are present in the book. The twins are 5 years and are buying Meg's gift. Their ideas are amusing. Will Meg succeed into finding the murderer so the house can be open Christmas open on time? I can't recommend this book and series highly enough.

  • Amy
    2019-05-26 20:10

    This was surprisingly good. I don't read mystery novels often, but this one was light-hearted and fun. It had a dash of suspense like most mystery novels and the author, Donna Andrews has a way with describing the different ways that a room could look. It's about interior designers dressing up a house for the holidays. It gave me a look of what it's supposed to look like. I can picture the interior as it gets changed over and over again. There were some thrills, but it was also a holiday type of story. I would recommend this to readers who like the holiday season, like a bit of mystery and sleuthing, and just a fun read. This is definitely for a visual type of reader, visual in the sense of being able to see what something is supposed to look like, just by hearing how something is described.

  • Kate
    2019-06-14 22:11

    Pleasant Christmas cozy focused on decorators creating rooms in a show house, which oddly leaves the ending slightly disappointing without pictures. Characterization must be relying on previous entries in the series.

  • Jeannie and Louis Rigod
    2019-06-02 22:11

    These novels never disappoint me. There is family warmth, friendships, community togetherness, humor, and a darn good murder mystery thrown in for color.Now, I say color as this volume surrounded the 'show house' by twelve decorators for Christmas time this year in Caerphilly, Virginia. The decorators, including Meg's Mother, were enlisted to use a bank foreclosure as their showplace. Each decorator took a room and transformed it to their individual taste and used Christmas as their mutual theme.And, what a variety of tastes the decorators have. From Gothic to Chintz. Not to mention the competing personalities of the Decorators themselves. Soon, it becomes evident that there is animosity and vandalism occurring within the project.Meg, wife, mother of twins, and Blacksmith, finds herself the project manager. What a thankless job. The rooms are taking shape as she does a nightly safety walk and finds the dead body of Clay Spottiswood. Clay was severely disliked, and possesses a past life that may have lent to his early demise. Can Meg help solve the crime before the now 'murder show house' is opened to the public? The murder is surrounded with the tastes, feelings, excitement of Caerphilly's true enjoyment and celebration of Christmas. It made me wish the season was just around the corner. Excellent book!

  • Jonathan
    2019-06-11 03:10

    Really 4.5 stars.I absolutely love Donna Andews' Meg Langslow series. Meg is a dynamite character who doesn't take any nonsense. She is absolutely a hoot, but she's not my favorite character. Meg's mother is by far my favorite. She is Meg on steroids, and I love her! The mystery was solid, but I wasn't really surprised by the killer. I love the Christmas setting, and I love the humor Donna Andrews masterfully adds into her work. Highly Recommend!

  • Jean
    2019-06-07 04:06

    A fun book to read. Very unconventional in it’s plot and narrative. In such a way that keeps you engaged, is suspenseful, and allows the characters to develop individually and collectively. I enjoyed the book enough to keep reading it to finish it in just two days.

  • Vilia
    2019-05-30 01:08

    This review was originally posted on Backchatting Books Meg is supervising a group of interior designers who have been commissioned to decorate a room in a derelict house before it is auctioned off.  The winning designer gets money donated to their chosen charity. It is basically a variation of Australian reality tv show 'The Block' (minus the camera crew). The house is plagued with problems courtesy of one obnoxious designer who seems to go out of his way to rile up the others. When he is murdered, Meg pops on her investigating hat and gets stuck in.I can't believe that we are up to 18 books. I started reading these when I was a moody, cozy mystery book loving teen and although I've missed a few I keep coming back because they are fun, quick reads.The good bitsAndrews has her formula down pat by now - Meg is involved in organising something even though she doesn't really want to, her crazy family intervenes, a nasty person is bumped off, Meg investigates etc. Sure there is a bit of variation but essentially that is it. This works out well for a Christmas book as it is a comforting escape from the hustle and bustle of the holiday season.In this genre, it is often the protagonist, engaging world and the denouement that are paramount. I felt that Andrews got the first two just right and did okay with the last one.  Meg is super busy as usual trying to wrangle the designers into some sort of order and much like herding cats she has limited success. She fares much better when it comes to the cute family moments with her husband and twins.The not so good bitsThere isn't much in the way of real investigating as suspects fall over themselves to give Meg their alibis and the red herrings are a little too sparse. I worked out who was guilty in the first couple of chapters and waited for Meg to catch up. Given that this is meant to be a holiday read when people are really distracted, this isn't as much of a problem as it would be for any other time of the year.I really missed Meg's father helping her solve the case. His enthusiasm is infectious and a stark contrast to his often cold and bossy wife.VerdictA solid holiday cozy mystery that is heavy on the Christmas cheer.

  • Lorraine
    2019-06-22 23:29

    I wanted to read something that would put me in the Christmas spirit, and this book surely did that especially during the very last part, but even a few chapters before that, the book put me in the Christmas spirit enough for me to call the bakery and ordered goodies for Christmas Eve and Christmas ! The setting is a show house and our area had one last May so i could surely relate to that - the designers and all their 'baggage', etc, deadlines, orders not arriving and all the things that put people in extremely frustrated moods, but enough for murder ? I did not think so, but Meg wondered as did the chief of police. This is the first book of Donna Andrews that I have read, and I liked it very much. I think that this is sort of amazing considering that this is #18 of this series, but I will definitely be reading more of this author's work. I liked the title, and I admired how the author tied in the title into the story. It is well done. I give this book 4 1/2 stars, and I look forward to reading more of this author's work. Considering the season, I would like to wish all a very happy and healthy holiday season !

  • Jessica Andersen
    2019-06-04 02:19

    I love the Meg Langslow series by Donna Andrews. I don't know how she keeps this series so fun 18 books in, but I"m glad she does. I always look forward to visiting Meg and her extended crazy family. I love this series because even though Meg keeps getting herself caught up in murder investigations she's had a life. She's gotten married, had a set of twin boys and those boys are growing up quickly. Each book is a little different and there's always an interesting mystery to be solved. Andrews is good at throwing red herrings in there and manages to keep me second guessing whodunit until the end.

  • Dawn Michelle
    2019-05-26 01:25

    4 1/2 StarsThis was an almost perfect book; the reason it didn't get 5 stars is that I knew who did it from almost the beginning though I was led on a merry chase with all the red herrings she threw in my path and wasn't 100% sure until the murderer popped up at the end. That said, this was a delightful book full of Christmas love and spirit and family with a little murder and mayhem thrown in for good measure. :-) I love this series and this one was one of the best.

  • Jeanie Jackson
    2019-06-21 02:07

    The BESTThe Nightingale Before Christmas is absolutely my my favorite book of series! Meg's battle to keep the Historical Society's home show project on track in spite of unique designers, sabotage and murder offers so many opportunities for the reader to get to discover delightful characters and enjoy the all encompassing feeling of Christmas.

  • Kathy
    2019-06-12 01:20

    Meg, a harried house coordinator must keep the decorators and designers of a Christmas show-house on track as they race to patch up damage caused by a mysterious vandal. When one of the decorators is murdered in the house, Meg investigates along with the local officials in order to track down the killer. Lots of twists and turns in the plot and written with a touch of humor.

  • Karen
    2019-06-07 20:29

    A cute little cozy mystery based around interior decorating and a Christmas "show" house. (who would do that at Christmas! Seriously?)Scrooge like designer, Clay, is found dead in his design room, the Master Bedroom. But who dun it?Will they find out in time to open the house for the first showing?HA! I won't tell!

  • Ruth
    2019-06-11 20:13

    This time of the year I am way too busy to focus on anything more than a quick lighthearted read. Yes, this is technically a mystery and someone actually dies but the Christmas spirit in the story is too strong to let the dark themes take over. Any other time of the year I would have not have been as kind in my review but this is the book I needed right now.

  • Erlyne
    2019-06-08 21:15

    Not only does this latest Meg Langslow cozy mystery contain charm, humor, and Christmas spirit, but also demonstrates a real skill of storytelling by Donna Andrews. I read this a little past the Christmas season, but it was still enjoyable and easily one of my favorite installments in the series.

  • Beth
    2019-06-04 03:03

    How does Donna Andrews keep churning out such quality books? An enjoyable end of summer read even if Xmas is a few months away.

  • Kathy Davie
    2019-06-11 00:21

    Eighteenth in the Meg Langslow cozy amateur sleuth mystery series and revolving around Meg, mother of twins and blacksmith. The series is based on the town of Yorktown in Virginia.My TakeA nice blend of family and bickering chil…, er, I mean, decorators. I suspect part of why I loved this was the decorating and Ivy's fabulous artistry. I too absolutely adore the sound of Ivy's murals on the foyer walls. I want them for myself. At the least, I want to see them…moan…Who does Clay think he is? He'll stoop to anything! When you think of his true talent and how he's wasting it!?? That is, however, the only excuse I can find for why he should be living. There are no others."…her room looked more as if she'd found a sale on chintz remnants and handed them over to a crew of blind seamstresses."It is amazing how one can affect so many lives.I like the characters and the townspeople. It's a warm, caring, supportive group, an aspect of the town that really comes out with each festival or event that Caerphilly puts on. Yep, lol, every installment is an event or festival. It's very Norman Rockwell-ish. In The Nightingale Before Christmas, it comes out in the blend Andrews puts on Meg's family and various Christmas specials that occur in town, at the college, at the various churches, and in the choral groups. I love how "Meg" can't resist volunteering or sleuthing while being a mom and wife.The fact that everyone works to include the kids is a major factor in my enjoyment. How much time Meg and Michael spend with their boys, how much they enjoy it, warms my heart.One underlying subtheme that runs throughout is the boys' problem deciding what Mommy would really like for a Christmas present. You'll laugh as you recognize similarities between them and your own kids, lol. Ya gotta appreciate those smart cellphones these days. Being able to send instant pictures means a lot to the busy Meg. And Michael's reaction to Josh's acting out his dad's performance was so very sweet. I love that they let the kids' imaginations loose and yet rein them in so well.Andrews has terrific insight into the decorators as well with their obsession for "it needs something" or spending five minutes properly plumping pillows. Heck, I grab an end and shake well, then throw it in place.Dang, that Meg is good in a tight spot. Rainbows!The StoryIt's Mother's fault that none of the decorators have enough time to design their room in the big Christmas-themed decorator show house. And it's Meg's bargain that finds her pitching in with the organization.She also finds herself surrounded by flamboyant personalities with massive egos clashing and feeling their professional reputations are at stake. Then the rooms start to be sabotaged, and an unfortunate designer turns up dead.Can Meg catch the real killer before anyone else dies?The CharactersMeg Langslow is a blacksmith who's not getting much time to ply her art. Not when she has twin five-year-old boys with very individual personalities, Josh and Jamie; a husband, Michael Waterston, who works as a drama professor at the local college; and, a busy Mother who likes to involve everyone in everything. Her father, Dr. James Langslow, is the local medical examiner. Her brother, Rob, has his own computer company, Mutant Wizards, while cousin Rose Noire is succeeding with her custom organic herbal gift baskets small business. Both live with Meg and Michael in their many-roomed house. Michael's mother is Dahlia "Grammy" Waterston, and she'll be panicking over the holiday dinners. Caroline Willner is an old friend of Meg's and her grandfather, Monty, who owns the local zoo. Cordelia is a paternal grandmother.Randall Shiffley is the mayor and owns the Shiffley Construction Company that has donated a ton of labor and money in fixing the foreclosed house. Tomás Cruz and Mateo Torres were Clay's workmen.The Caerphilly Historical Society is……sponsoring a show house that is intended to help the town, the bank, and the decorators' favorite charities. Turns out the Greens went bankrupt and had to abandon the house. The decorators include Eustace Goodwin in the kitchen and breakfast room; Ivy Vernier specializes in trompe l'oeil and has the foyer; Sarah Byrne with Byrne, Banks, and Bailey is doing Art Deco in the study; Martha Blaine applied too late and ended up with two bathrooms and the laundry room; Clay Spottiswood has the master suite; Violet Madsen is ruffling up one of the other bedrooms while Vermillion (Goth Girl) is doing another kind of ruffling in yet another; Our Lady of Chintz, a.k.a., Linda Dunn, is abusing the dining room; Mother has the living room; and, Alice Graham and Vicky are the Quilt Ladies working on the bonus room (their charity is Quilters for Good).Caerphilly PDChief Henry Burke appreciates Meg's help these days. Aida Butler, Sammy Wendell, and Vern Shiffley are deputies. Debbie Ann is the dispatcher. Cousin Horace is a deputy and the crime scene technician for the county.The Reverend Robyn Smith is the Episcopalian pastor who helped found the Caerphilly Battered Women's Shelter. Minerva Burke, Chief Burke's wife, is the new leader of the New Life Baptist Choir. Kayla Butler, Aida's daughter, is doing her first big solo. Daphne at Caerphilly Cleaners is a magician when it comes to getting stains out. Clarence Rutledge is a popular veterinarian. Muriel is adamant about keeping Muriel's Diner a 1950s-style café. Emily Warren was a neighbor of Bob and Carol Green. They had two children. Stanley Denton is the only private investigator in Caerphilly.The town turns out to help put the destruction right: Mrs. Tran runs a dress shop in Yorktown; Minerva with ladies from the New Life Baptist Church Ladies Auxiliary, the decorators, Rev. Robyn and the entire membership of Grace Episcopal's Guild of St. Clotilda, a few ladies from the women's shelter, drama students who've done set building, children and grandchildren to create ornaments, Tomás and Mateo, and Randall and his crew.Kate Banks is Sarah's partner in the business. Jessica is a reporter from Caerphilly College. Jen is the student holding down the college student records office. Boomer is one of Rob's computer geeks. Gerald "Jerry" Granger is angry over his wife wanting a divorce. Meanwhile, Felicia Granger is looking for any excuse.Mr. Timmerman with the Richmond Times-Dispatch wants to do a story on the Decorator Show House — and he'll have to be headed off. Claiborne Smith is an artist who has a violent past.The Cover and TitleThe minty green cover with its delicate gold stars is too perfect with its lopsided Christmas tree and the many metaphors relating to the story, lol: the train circling the tree, the nightingales — jeweled and natural — decorating the tree, the broken nutcracker (ooh, ouch!), and the village under the tree *eyebrow waggle!*The title is that transformation from perfect to better with help from The Nightingale Before Christmas.

  • Lauren Fidler
    2019-06-09 22:08

    I probably wouldn't have picked up this series if my mystery book club wasn't reading it.And, for the record, I probably won't attend the book club meeting on the book - BUT I LIKE TO PRETEND I WILL.And, since I won't go to the meeting and since I'll probably now read at least two maybe three more of this series, here's what I would contribute to that discussion:The Holly Jollies:1. It's ADORABLE. It is. It makes me want to watch The Nutcracker and eat gingerbread and pretend Christmas exists solely as a means of spreading good cheer and merriment.2. Despite not having read 16 of these, I stepped right into the world - easypeasymacandcheesy. No terrible list of characters i.e. the Babysitters' Club necessary.3. I liked Meg and her weird cast of friends and family B plots. 4. It was fast-paced and quick easy reading for light holiday fare that required very little exertion on my brain's partThe Bah Humbugs:1. The villain was SUPER predictable. Like SUPER predictable. I guessed almost immediately and even survived a pretty late-blossoming red herring with little problem.2. It's mildly racist...there are some coded names at one point (the, coughcough, very clever "C. Dickens" and other sundry authors) and Meg discusses her suspicions about who would sign for packages using fake authors as a cover...she dismisses two Spanish-speaking handymen because they...well...because they speak Spanish. REALLY??? REALLY? Because the Spanish-speaking world couldn't possibly know British authors well enough to use them to sign for packages. It's a minor complaint but it perpetuates a stereotype that is deeply rooted and unsettling.And now I'll shut up, drink some eggnog, and diminish into the west.

  • Jeroen
    2019-06-20 03:06

    Another Meg Langslow' Christmas, and another murder. The story takes place mostly in a showhouse where multiple characters (decorators) are decorating the house for Christmas. It is quite clear early on who the victim might be and I was hoping that it would not be that obvious, but alas. The new characters - i.e. the suspects - are a fun group of characters, but only a few get the full treatment of characterisation and the rest blend into the background. Naturally Meg's family plays their respective parts, but in this book most of their roles are minimal with the prime exception of Meg's mother. A nice story and fun to read, but the mystery is solved by the murderer revealing himself/herself; but the few subplots to suspect other suspects are very well done. The book is always fun and you'll want to continue reading to find out who wins the showhouse price, what gift the boys will buy Meg, and maybe even to find out who the murderer is.

  • Cara
    2019-06-03 23:08

    This is my obligatory (an obligation I choose, of course) Christmas break fun-read. It was fun and easy, and I enjoyed it. That said, I'm not going hunting down any of the other books in the series. The narrator is a little too perfect for me. The murder involved conflict, yes, but there wasn't much internal conflict at all, and that's what makes a character compelling to me. Her husband, children, parents, and in-laws, while each had some amusing and charming foibles, were also perfect. The town is perfect. You get the picture. It's a nice break from the deeper issues of literature and the obligation of learning from and applying the improvements to my own professional and personal that exists in most of the theological and professional development books I read. It was a guilty pleasure break from anything meaningful, in other words, and I can only really enjoy fluff in small doses.

  • Moira Shepard
    2019-06-24 23:02

    I’ve been catching up lately with Donna Andrews’ wonderful Meg Langslow mysteries, and the one I just finished is my favorite so far in the series – “The Nightingale Before Christmas.” It kept me entertained throughout and brought tears to my eyes at the end.Meg is one of my favorite heroines in cozy mysteries because of her combination of heart and smarts. Not to mention her sly sense of humor – often dry, never mean.Andrews has allowed Meg to evolve as a person over time in this mystery series, and it gives me great pleasure to see her change. Meg was always the smartest person in the room. Now she’s usually the most thoughtful one, too.

  • Kathleen
    2019-06-07 01:02

    I enjoyed this book. I listened to it as I did my errands this season. I like Caerphilly, the characters and story. But I do wonder why Meg so often is on the brink of death when the story hits the reveal. The interior design contest gave me more insight into the designer world and their temperaments. I am not going to reiterate the story or give a book report. If you want to know what happens, read or listen to the book.It was fun. I liked it and it kept me company I did my cleaning and errands.

  • Charlyn
    2019-06-23 02:01

    Meg has once again taken on a special project, this time overseeing the completion of a home decorated for the Christmas holidays. She must be sure the project is finished so each room can be judged and referee the spats between interior decorators. At the home to close it up for the night, someone shoots at Meg. When she is able to safely tour the house she finds a decorator dead and his room destroyed. Now she must not only be sure the room is re-finished for the tour, but she also wants the murderer found.

  • Michelle Pistachio
    2019-06-14 20:04

    Another good book in this series. Meg is pretty good at solving mysteries, especially when she is constantly busy. Maybe not as much comedy relief as the other previous books, but still a good story. Kind of a break from the Summer heat, reading a Christmas mystery. I always enjoy that these books are set in Virginia too.

  • Laura Henson
    2019-05-30 02:07

    A dip into any Andrews Meg Langslow mysteries is a bit like stopping by Cousin Mary’s house to pick up some pickles for your mother and spending the afternoon because you have to catch up on all the family gossip. All the regulars are back with a few new townspeople to fall in love with, plus decorating tips. A fun and lighthearted series, despite the murders.

  • Verity W
    2019-06-13 01:21

    I do love this series so much. This was just what I needed after a hard and difficult week at work. It's funny, its got an interesting and quirky cast of characters - and Meg's mum is back. What more do you need to have a happy reading experience.

  • PeggySue
    2019-06-10 02:02

    I am really impressed with this author I have found. this is the 4 Christmas Mystery I have read now. you do not have to read them in order, but what has impressed me the most is that she makes the murder part of the story.. not the entire story.

  • Brenda
    2019-06-14 22:01

    I've started on my 2018 Book Goals a bit early ...One goal will be to catch up on all of the series I am behind on! So the last two days I've been catching up with Meg Langslow and her family including her twin boys. Easy reading in a busy time of the year!