Crouching Buzzard, Leaping Loon Book Summary and Study Guide

Detailed plot synopsis reviews of Crouching Buzzard, Leaping Loon

Meg Langslow is now working with her brother Rob's company Mutant Wizards when the company's prankster Ted is murdered leaving Meg to figure out who done it. Now her role at the company is manning the switchboard and being the office manager whose handling the office pets and dealing with the off the wall programmers along with the therapist sharing the office space. She comes into work and Ted is pretending to be dead on his automated mail cart earlier in the morning, but on his rounds back to the switchboard Meg sees he is dead with a mouse hanging around his neck. The police are called and Chief Burke is now questioning Meg and the company employees to find out who and why someone would kill Ted. On the suspect lists are the therapists, a previous employee being Mr. Eugene Mason, who was a disgruntled ex-employee, and a fan of the computer game Lawyers from Hell II trying to get a copy.
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In a conversation with Meg, the Chief Burke learns that Meg had taught the employees a new karate move that could strangle another person with a belt. Chief Burke finds that employees at Mutant Wizards were having problems with a hacker who changed their computer game to Naked Lawyers from Hell, of which programmer Frankie had been working on. Potentially Ted may have found the hacker and was killed because he could have threatened to expose this person. Chief Burke discovers a blackmail letter on Rob's desk and decides to take Rob to the police station because he is suspected of murdering Ted. The police believe that Rob is a master at karate, but they do not realize he is a clumsy person that copy cats others.
Meg wonders if Ted was blackmailing Dr. Lorelei, who was one of the therapist because of her credibility issues as a therapist. Ted could have been blackmailing others in the office when he was killed by a karate chop to the larynx and then strangled by the mouse cord. Meg learns that Ted was claiming he did most of the work and then getting the highest raise, which was a motive for murdering Ted by other employees. This meant they would get the credit and bonuses they deserved if Ted was gone. She learns that the company was having lawsuit problems and Liz, who is the company lawyer, was being told by Ted he would testify against the Mutant Wizards for its games. Meg discovers this information during a conversation with some of the employees including Luis, a senior software programmer, Roger the systems administrator, Keisha a programmer, Rico, a graphic designer, and Frankie, the junior programmer until Jack Ransom, the team leader, comes walking into the room to quiet the conversation.

Meg continues her investigating by looking in the eyes of Ted and his automated mail. It was programmed by sensor of which Ted changed by moving around the carpet tiles. So, Meg's dad, James Langslow decides to put Spike, Mrs. Waterspoon's dog, who was the mother of Michael and also Meg's boyfriend, on the mail cart to see the route Ted was taking when he died, but doesn't get much accomplished. Meg finds Ted's keys in the office and decides to do some detecting at his house to find some evidence for his killer. She finds in a hidden compartment some stuff including a paper of nicknames and web address, romance novels, news clipping of the Robin Hood Hacker, and comments about the names on the paper along with dates. Meg then rushes to meet Roger and some employees at Luigi's for some pizza and beers. She learns that Jack holds a black belt in martial arts and adds Jack to the list of suspects, but believes he is not guilty because he doesn't seem like a guy who would kill someone.

After a night detecting and pizza, she comes back to the office to find one of their therapist's patients in the building and soon after Dr. Lorelei is there dressed up in a black dress with four inch heels. She is suspicious of and think the doctor is having an affair. They have a conversation and Meg finds out the Ted tried to blackmail her for having an affair with a patient, but she blows him off. Later, Meg finds Roger in the lab burning disks from a porn site, which was one of the addresses on Ted's paper that Meg found. She also found an article about a hacker, who was Rico, which Meg thinks is being blackmailed because Ted found out Luis's true identity as the Robin Hood Hacker. She leaves at 1 am and finds a man at her car trying to get a pregnant cat and thinks maybe the guy could have killed Ted because Ted may have been treating animals badly. With so many people being blackmailed, Meg is having a hard time trying to figure out who Ted's killer is.

Meg starts to put the lists together from Ted's paper and finds there are 10 potential victims to be blackmailed, but there are a few that he had no information on and could not blackmail because he was killed. Meg decides to talk to Luis about the blackmailing Ted was doing to him; Luis was trying to keep his identity a secret to avoid being fired. She asks Luiz to find out what the porn websites that Rodger and Ted had worked with and what connections could they have with the company or whether Rodger and Ted were working together.

The next day Meg decides that she is going to do some detecting at the office and she discovers that some of the programmers were playing the original board game, which she decides Ted was going to blackmail the group for using Rob's original game. After a night playing the game, she decides to come back the next day to find the police arresting Jack for murder because the cart went into his cube and it was the only area of the office that a person could not see or interrupt a murder. Late at night, Meg goes back to the office finding her dad in Ted's cube and wonders if she is ever going to have a night where no one is in the building. Together they try to figure out what direction of the mail cart was going and whether there was any change in the path using a black light to trace the cart's sensors. They discover by the library where Liz sat had a book with fake blood; this was the same blood Ted used for a prank and the book that could have been used to subdue Ted before strangling him.

So, Meg finds Liz with a gun and knows it was her who killed Ted because he was going to expose her for being involved in porn and tarnishing her good reputation. Meg finds there are others from the company including Luis, Frankie, Keisha, Rico, DR. Lorelei meeting with Dr. Brown, Doc a vet, and Rob. Liz had Meg to tie them up and Liz was planning to kill them using Eugene Mason as the gunmen for all of them. Meg finds a moment to jump Liz when Doc comes in with Spike and the company buzzard, George, which distracts Liz and Meg has the police called to arrest her. The next day Rodger is arrested for using the company's equipment to host a porn site, which Ted was blackmailing him for. Meg finally resigns from Mutant Wizards to be with Michael in California. She solved the problems Rob was having in his company and caught a murderer.
Best part of story, including ending: I like the clues that were left to try an figure out who murdered Ted. The author put out a lot of possible suspects and motives, which kept you guessing who was the murderer. Then, when the story is coming to the end, it still is not who you expected murderer to be. It was a total mystery and well written.

Best scene in story: I liked the final scene when Meg discovers a clue with her dad and finds the murderer Liz holding the gun on them. She is made to tie everyone up and when Doc the vet comes, Spike bites Liz and the buzzard George is causing a fit. Meg jumps Liz to get her gun and George jumps on Doc's head. She gives the gun to Doc with George still on his head. It is chaotic and funny scene.

Opinion about the main character: I like how Meg is independent and a strong character, who finds herself able to physically defend herself. She has an adventurous side to her that is focused on finding the murderer and less on her safety. Because she is that way, she was able to solve the murderer and save the day.

The review of this Book prepared by Millicent Schrock a Level 2 American Robin scholar

Chapter Analysis of Crouching Buzzard, Leaping Loon

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Plot & Themes

Composition of Book descript. of violence and chases 20%Planning/preparing, gather info, debate puzzles/motives 40%Feelings, relationships, character bio/development 20%How society works & physical descript. (people, objects, places) 20% Tone of story    -   very humorous How difficult to spot villain?    -   Difficult, but some clues given Time/era of story:    -   2000+ (Present) What % of story relates directly to the mystery, not the subplot?    -   60% Special suspect?    -   chronically deranged person Kind of investigator    -   amateur citizen investigator Kid or adult book?    -   Adult or Young Adult Book Crime Thriller    -   Yes Murder Mystery (killer unknown)    -   Yes

Main Character

Gender    -   Female Profession/status:    -   clerk Age:    -   20's-30's Ethnicity/Race    -   White/American


Small town?    -   Yes Small town people:    -   nice, like Andy/Opie/Aunt Bee

Writing Style

Accounts of torture and death?    -   generic/vague references to death/punishment Unusual forms of death    -   asphyxiation Unusual form of death?    -   Yes Amount of dialog    -   roughly even amounts of descript and dialog

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