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The Cold Light of Mourning

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Elizabeth J. Duncan spins a charming tale of murder and intrigue in this winning first novel. The picturesque North Wales market town of Llanelen is shocked when Meg Wynne Thompson, a self-made beauty who has turned out to be something of an unpopular bride, goes missing on her wedding day…and turns up dead. The last person believed to have seen her is manicurist Penny Bran Elizabeth J. Duncan spins a charming tale of murder and intrigue in this winning first novel. The picturesque North Wales market town of Llanelen is shocked when Meg Wynne Thompson, a self-made beauty who has turned out to be something of an unpopular bride, goes missing on her wedding day…and turns up dead. The last person believed to have seen her is manicurist Penny Brannigan, an expatriate Canadian who has lived in North Wales for almost twenty-five years. When Penny notices that something is not quite right at the funeral of her dearest friend, she becomes emotionally invested in the case, and sets out to investigate. It seems that several people, including the bride’s drunken, abusive father, had reasons to wish Meg dead, but when the trail leads to her groom’s home, an explosive secret will shake the small town. With its bucolic Welsh setting and vivid, colorful characters, this mystery is sure to delight the most discerning of traditional-mystery fans.


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Elizabeth J. Duncan spins a charming tale of murder and intrigue in this winning first novel. The picturesque North Wales market town of Llanelen is shocked when Meg Wynne Thompson, a self-made beauty who has turned out to be something of an unpopular bride, goes missing on her wedding day…and turns up dead. The last person believed to have seen her is manicurist Penny Bran Elizabeth J. Duncan spins a charming tale of murder and intrigue in this winning first novel. The picturesque North Wales market town of Llanelen is shocked when Meg Wynne Thompson, a self-made beauty who has turned out to be something of an unpopular bride, goes missing on her wedding day…and turns up dead. The last person believed to have seen her is manicurist Penny Brannigan, an expatriate Canadian who has lived in North Wales for almost twenty-five years. When Penny notices that something is not quite right at the funeral of her dearest friend, she becomes emotionally invested in the case, and sets out to investigate. It seems that several people, including the bride’s drunken, abusive father, had reasons to wish Meg dead, but when the trail leads to her groom’s home, an explosive secret will shake the small town. With its bucolic Welsh setting and vivid, colorful characters, this mystery is sure to delight the most discerning of traditional-mystery fans.

30 review for The Cold Light of Mourning

  1. 5 out of 5

    Randee Baty

    If you watch much tv, read many magazines or watch many movies you would think that the world consists of 23 year old beautiful people. I'm so glad that mystery writers have bucked that trend and actually give us people who have a little experience with life. In The Cold Light of Mourning we get a heroine who is middle-aged and doesn't mind being so. I personally am glad to see more mystery writers writing characters in this age group. Penny, a Canadian ex-pat manicurist living in Wales, has just If you watch much tv, read many magazines or watch many movies you would think that the world consists of 23 year old beautiful people. I'm so glad that mystery writers have bucked that trend and actually give us people who have a little experience with life. In The Cold Light of Mourning we get a heroine who is middle-aged and doesn't mind being so. I personally am glad to see more mystery writers writing characters in this age group. Penny, a Canadian ex-pat manicurist living in Wales, has just lost her best friend Emma. However, Emma's death seems to be overshadowed by the upcoming wedding of the son of the local squire. He's brought his bride-to-be back from London and the wedding should be the event of the year. Until the bride disappears on the day of the wedding, that is. Penny had done the bride's nails that day and so gets sucked into the investigation. As with any mystery involving an amateur sleuth, there are moments when you shake your head and say, "No one would do that" or "The police would never let them get away with that." There are times when things come a little too easy. There isn't a strong sense of atmosphere which is my favorite characteristic in a book. I think some of these flaws come from it being the first in a series. I like the characters well enough that I will be back for more. A masterpiece it's not. A fun piece of entertainment it is.

  2. 5 out of 5

    Stephanie

    Cozy mystery about a middle-aged lady running a nail salon in a little village in South Wales. Penny Brannigan is a Canadian transplant, living a comfortable (boring) life. Her dear friend Emma has just passed away and the village is also getting ready for a big wedding. The son of the largest landowner in the area is marrying a beauty he met while working in London. The bridal party have arranged to get their nails done at Penny's salon but things take a turn for the worse when the bride fails Cozy mystery about a middle-aged lady running a nail salon in a little village in South Wales. Penny Brannigan is a Canadian transplant, living a comfortable (boring) life. Her dear friend Emma has just passed away and the village is also getting ready for a big wedding. The son of the largest landowner in the area is marrying a beauty he met while working in London. The bridal party have arranged to get their nails done at Penny's salon but things take a turn for the worse when the bride fails to show for the wedding. And Penny is last person to have seen her! Does she hold the key to finding the missing bride? I think I may be getting a little too callous to read the cozies any more. Too many zombies, apocalypses, and vampires may be warping my reading enjoyment. The story wasn't awful but I guessed the bad guy pretty quickly and the story seemed disjointed in places, like the author had points that needed to be made throughout the story to make the whole thing plausible, so she stuck random bits of info in places where it was obvious what she was doing.

  3. 4 out of 5

    Kristen

    I really wanted to like this book. As the author is Canadian, and I saw her talk about the book at a lecture, I had hoped to find a new mystery series and more importantly a Canadian author who's books I liked. But it was just okay. When the small Welsh town of Llanelen is shocked by the disappearance of the bride of a local boy on her wedding day, nobody knows what to think. The bride had made herself unpopular in the town, but nobody wished her ill . . . or did they? The last person to have seen I really wanted to like this book. As the author is Canadian, and I saw her talk about the book at a lecture, I had hoped to find a new mystery series and more importantly a Canadian author who's books I liked. But it was just okay. When the small Welsh town of Llanelen is shocked by the disappearance of the bride of a local boy on her wedding day, nobody knows what to think. The bride had made herself unpopular in the town, but nobody wished her ill . . . or did they? The last person to have seen her was expatriate Canadian Penny Brannigan, who's made her life in Llanelen for almost 25 years, and who runs the local manicure shop. Penny thinks something is odd at the funeral of her dear friend Emma, she decides to investigate. The story wasn't bad, per se, but I found it a bit slow-moving, and, well, kind of dull. If you're going to write a cozy mystery about a small town, and you hope to have the makings of a continuing series, you need to create a really engaging group of oddballs, misfits, busybodies and quirky people to make up the characters and grab the reader for the long-term. That was missing in this book for me. There was really just nobody I was all that interesting in finding out more about. When the murder victim is the most interesting person in the story, that doesn't bode well for a long-term love affair with the series, but that was how this played out for me. The story was okay, but the eventual resolution to the murder was very anti-climactic and just not that interesting after all the events leading up to it. This was a disappointment, and I won't read others in this series. If you're looking for the small-town mystery experience that will really grab you with fun people, try the Hamish Macbeth or the Aunt Dimity Series, both of which I love and highly recommend, instead of this one.

  4. 5 out of 5

    Susan

    This book read easy enough, but by the end it was getting on my nerves. Mostly for a lot of small things, but sometimes those small things will kill the story for me. First, even though this book took place in Wales, I didn't get the sense of place enough to feel I was there. For all intents and purposes, it could have taken place in Chicago for all the descriptive scenery I got. It was there, but not nearly enough or explicit enough. Next, the nail shop owner, Penny, meets a harp player, has a l This book read easy enough, but by the end it was getting on my nerves. Mostly for a lot of small things, but sometimes those small things will kill the story for me. First, even though this book took place in Wales, I didn't get the sense of place enough to feel I was there. For all intents and purposes, it could have taken place in Chicago for all the descriptive scenery I got. It was there, but not nearly enough or explicit enough. Next, the nail shop owner, Penny, meets a harp player, has a long conversation and next thing you know, they are BFF and said player is moving into Penny's spare room. Really? I think this character was just a springboard for Penny's thoughts, but her introduction was pretty clumsy. Then there is the name of the victim - Meg Wynne. Everytime I read it I felt like the people were calling her by her first and last name and it took me out of the reading whenever she was mentioned. All in all, this book didn't have enough interesting characters for me to want to continue reading any further in the series.

  5. 4 out of 5

    LaRae

    This is an enjoyable cozy with a very likable protagonist. Set in North Wales, Penny -- a single Canadian woman who's been in Wales for 25 years -- runs the local manicure shop, and gets involved in a murder as a witness. It was exactly what I was looking for -- charming, with an interesting mystery.

  6. 4 out of 5

    Lori

    A promising premise had this book. 50-something Penny, Canadian, but 25 years an ex pat living in a quaint little village in Wales. Penny is an artist at heart but manicurist by trade. Her artist soul is possessed with an uncanny intuition and a superb attention to detail. She's quickly embroiled in a mystery by virtue of being the last person to have seen a missing bride on her wedding day. Unfortunately despite the initially interesting mystery and the appealing Wales setting, the book fell sh A promising premise had this book. 50-something Penny, Canadian, but 25 years an ex pat living in a quaint little village in Wales. Penny is an artist at heart but manicurist by trade. Her artist soul is possessed with an uncanny intuition and a superb attention to detail. She's quickly embroiled in a mystery by virtue of being the last person to have seen a missing bride on her wedding day. Unfortunately despite the initially interesting mystery and the appealing Wales setting, the book fell short for me. It's prose completely lacked atmosphere and intrigue and the Whodunit was far too easily solved. It was obvious the author spent far too much energy leading the reader to where they were to go when more effort could have been placed in developing the characters and enriching the setting. As I liked the Wales location of this novel, I may try one more in this series as often a first novel does undergo some hiccups that improve with the second.

  7. 4 out of 5

    Ulla

    Couldn't help but love it!!! Even if the intrigue is not very original, and I guessed the murderer quite easily, there were all kinds of clever twists in it. But it was the characters and the village life that fascinated me, all reminding of one of my greteast detective heroines - Miss Marple of course!!Now I want to have a manicure in Wales!!!

  8. 4 out of 5

    Cathy Cole

    First Line: Emma Teasdale had been ill for some time and on a cool evening in early June, alone and peacefully, she died. When visiting the market town of Llanelen in North Wales as a young student, Penny Brannigan was taken under schoolteacher Emma Teasdale's wing. They became fast friends, and Penny moved from Nova Scotia in Canada to Llanelen where she opened a small nail salon. As the years passed, the two women shared their lives with each other just as a mother and daughter might. Emma's de First Line: Emma Teasdale had been ill for some time and on a cool evening in early June, alone and peacefully, she died. When visiting the market town of Llanelen in North Wales as a young student, Penny Brannigan was taken under schoolteacher Emma Teasdale's wing. They became fast friends, and Penny moved from Nova Scotia in Canada to Llanelen where she opened a small nail salon. As the years passed, the two women shared their lives with each other just as a mother and daughter might. Emma's death, although expected, has greatly shaken Penny, leaving her feeling at loose ends. Perhaps that's why she takes such an interest in the disappearance of bride-to-be Meg Wynne Thompson. Self-made Meg Wynne was about to be married to the local landowner, and townspeople didn't like her much. But when the young woman vanishes on the morning of her wedding and Penny is the last person to see her alive, Penny feels that she should do everything she can to help the police solve the mystery. Although the identity of the person responsible for Meg Wynne's disappearance was rather transparent to me, there was so much that I liked about this book that I didn't care. Starting out with the stock characters of a typical small town, Duncan has added layers to them and created a wonderful cast. Penny's troubled youth in Canada has made her an adult who prefers to be in her own company, but she is a genuinely observant and caring person. Detective Chief Inspector Gareth Davies and Detective Sergeant Bethan Morgan are the sort of police officers you want to show up in your town to look for a missing person. Davies in particular quickly learns to appreciate Penny's eye for detail. Penny isn't the typical amateur sleuth that she describes to friends: "What, you mean like those dotty middle-aged amateur lady sleuths that you see in books? Tramping all over the evidence, touching things they shouldn't, putting themselves in harm's way, and just generally annoying the police?" When she feels that she has something important that will help the police find Meg Wynne, she immediately calls them. It certainly is refreshing to have an amateur sleuth be level-headed and sensible, and it's fun to watch the inspector start to take a shine to her. Although the villain of the piece was easily guessed, what wasn't easy was figuring out how it was all done. Between the characters and the crime details, this was a very enjoyable, light mystery, and I look forward to meeting Penny again.

  9. 5 out of 5

    Loraine

    This easy-to-read, cozy mystery was a first from this author. It has the same wit and charm that you find in Agatha Christie mysteries with a late middle-aged manicurist who finds herself in the middle of the mystery of a vanishing bride who was last seen at her nail salon. With a touch of romance, lots of twists and turns, and enough clues to help you possibly determine the murderer, it definitely keeps your attention.

  10. 4 out of 5

    The Crime Librarian

    I love finding new series that I actually like. This was such a great cozy read! The plot was good with a plausible mystery that I didn’t fully guess until the end was revealed. The main characters were believable and had personalities that really came through in the story. I did think that the introduction of Victoria was a little forced and her fast friendship with Penny was a little awkward and a little implausible. Overall, it was a great book!

  11. 5 out of 5

    Tracy

    I love a good cozy, so I was happy to discover an author and a series I hadn't yet read! Also lucky for me I was able to find the other books in the series just waiting for me on the shelf of my local library! Sorry to the other patrons who might want to check them out, I promise I will have them back soon!

  12. 4 out of 5

    Mystereity Reviews

    Very cute and enjoyable read. Started out with too much detail before sliding into not enough detail. I also figured out who the murderer was before the murder happened, but that didn't diminish my enjoyment of the book. Overall, a quick and light cozy, and I look forward to the other books in the series.

  13. 4 out of 5

    Laurel Bradshaw

    Started out quite slow and didn't think was going to be more than two stars. It grew on me after the half-way point and I came to want to read more of the various characters. Penny is the main focus, but not the only one - this was a team effort working to solve the murder: Penny the manicurist, her new friend Victoria who was the harpist at her best friend's funeral (no, she wasn't the one murdered), the police detective Gareth (and love interest for Penny), Mrs. Lloyd the town busybody, and th Started out quite slow and didn't think was going to be more than two stars. It grew on me after the half-way point and I came to want to read more of the various characters. Penny is the main focus, but not the only one - this was a team effort working to solve the murder: Penny the manicurist, her new friend Victoria who was the harpist at her best friend's funeral (no, she wasn't the one murdered), the police detective Gareth (and love interest for Penny), Mrs. Lloyd the town busybody, and the Rev. and his wife. I thought they were all well developed as characters, and each had a role to play. The ending was entirely predictable - no dramatic twists, just a nice cozy. And the Welsh setting, of course, is my cup of tea. So 3.5 stars, maybe even 4, but I hardly ever give the first of a cozy series more than 3 to give it room to grow. And I will be reading more of them. Book description: The picturesque North Wales market town of Llanelen is shocked when Meg Wynne Thompson, a self-made beauty who has turned out to be something of an unpopular bride, goes missing on her wedding day…and turns up dead. The last person believed to have seen her is manicurist Penny Brannigan, an expatriate Canadian who has lived in North Wales for almost twenty-five years. When Penny notices that something is not quite right at the funeral of her dearest friend, she becomes emotionally invested in the case, and sets out to investigate. It seems that several people, including the bride's drunken, abusive father, had reasons to wish Meg dead, but when the trail leads to her groom's home, an explosive secret will shake the small town. With its bucolic Welsh setting and vivid, colorful characters, this mystery is sure to delight the most discerning of traditional-mystery fans.

  14. 5 out of 5

    Susie

    Just lovely! Slow & deep, this is an absolutely wonderfully-written cozy. Loved the character development (including the maturity & personality depth of the protagonist), the fine narrative details, the mystery, and the plot pacing. Eager to continue on with next installment in this series. Just lovely! Slow & deep, this is an absolutely wonderfully-written cozy. Loved the character development (including the maturity & personality depth of the protagonist), the fine narrative details, the mystery, and the plot pacing. Eager to continue on with next installment in this series.

  15. 4 out of 5

    Andree

    To be fair, I didn't get particularly far into this. It might get better. But I read a few chapters, and just wasn't connecting with it, so I cut my losses.

  16. 5 out of 5

    Janet

    I was on a mystery kick, reading a lot of Charlaine Harris' Aurora Teagarden series, so I thought I'd pick up a few authors who looked similar. i did finish this book, but won't be looking for more by the same author. The prose reminds me of a clumsy romance novel. The dialogue is stilted, and there are lots of details about about fancy houses, jewelry and such, presumably meant to be entertaining in taking you out of your day-to-day world. Here's an example: 'That'll be Welsh gold,' said the ma I was on a mystery kick, reading a lot of Charlaine Harris' Aurora Teagarden series, so I thought I'd pick up a few authors who looked similar. i did finish this book, but won't be looking for more by the same author. The prose reminds me of a clumsy romance novel. The dialogue is stilted, and there are lots of details about about fancy houses, jewelry and such, presumably meant to be entertaining in taking you out of your day-to-day world. Here's an example: 'That'll be Welsh gold,' said the manager, peering at it. 'They say pure Welsh gold is now the most valuable of the precious metals.' 'The royal family's wedding rings are made of Welsh gold, aren't they?' asked Morgan. 'Indeed they are,' said Burton. 'It's become rare since the Clongau mine closed down.' It blathers on with a paragraph about the Welsh gold mine. Now, I appreciate a setting with something different than Starbucks and Walmart, but you don't need to pad the book out with every bit of research that you've done.

  17. 4 out of 5

    Sharon Huether

    Penny Brannigan had always did Emma Teasdales nails at her Happy Hands Nail care shop. When Emma passed away Penny was asked by the mortician to paint her nails for the funeral. At the same time there was an up comming wedding. Penny was to manicure the nails to the bride and her attnedants. When the wedding was to start , the bride to be, went missing. When Penny was talking to one of her clients, she thought about the ladies hat not sitting right on her head, which made her think about Miss Te Penny Brannigan had always did Emma Teasdales nails at her Happy Hands Nail care shop. When Emma passed away Penny was asked by the mortician to paint her nails for the funeral. At the same time there was an up comming wedding. Penny was to manicure the nails to the bride and her attnedants. When the wedding was to start , the bride to be, went missing. When Penny was talking to one of her clients, she thought about the ladies hat not sitting right on her head, which made her think about Miss Teasdales coffin not sitting correctly in the ground. It was too high. She thought the missing bride could be buried underneath Miss Teasdale's coffin . She talked to the police about her suspicions, & they acted on it. The missing bride was found underneath the coffin when it was exhumed. The woman whos nails Penny had manicured was an imposter. She looked very similar to the Bride. Penny and her friend Victoria helped the police catch the murderer. shortly after that Miss Teasdales lawyer contacted Penny with the news that Penny had inherited Mis Teasdales home.

  18. 4 out of 5

    Beth

    Because of the setting and premise, I'd hoped for more. This moved very slooowly....the mystery itself was ok, and the main characters were sweet, but stodgy and lead footed. And that was the good guys. The villains were exaggerated caricatures rather than realistic people. If you like cozies, you'll probably like this better than I did. Admittedly, I'm just not a fan.

  19. 4 out of 5

    Selah Pike

    Absolutely delightful Cozy! Penny is a supremely likable, if somewhat reckless, heroine. The small Welsh village is a perfect setting, and the locals are colorful without being ridiculous. I'm so thrilled to have found a new (to me) Cozy author to love!

  20. 5 out of 5

    Nancy H

    This is an excellent cozy mystery set in Wales, a setting that seems like it should be idyllic, except for the murder of the bride the night before her wedding. Or was it the bride? A very good read!

  21. 4 out of 5

    Carey Tynan

    A classic cosy mystery. Small village, large manor house, a nosy parker, and a spinster or two.

  22. 4 out of 5

    Patsye

    A nice little debut novel that was very pleasant to read. I have a feeling this is the first in a series. Not too intellectually demanding, but some nice characters and an interesting setting.

  23. 5 out of 5

    Susan Wojtas

    DNF. Meh....

  24. 5 out of 5

    Megan

    This was definitely a quaint, cozy read. However, it fell flat for me. The characters seemed real enough, but I just couldn't connect. I found the main character, Penny Brannigan, to be rather curt sometimes, and almost aloof others. Towards the middle of the novel, a new character gets introduced, Victoria, and her relationship with Penny seems almost to much too quick, and not realistic. I also found their relationship to be, well, weird. Penny would snap at Victoria, who would then become rat This was definitely a quaint, cozy read. However, it fell flat for me. The characters seemed real enough, but I just couldn't connect. I found the main character, Penny Brannigan, to be rather curt sometimes, and almost aloof others. Towards the middle of the novel, a new character gets introduced, Victoria, and her relationship with Penny seems almost to much too quick, and not realistic. I also found their relationship to be, well, weird. Penny would snap at Victoria, who would then become rather quiet and turn in on herself, if that makes sense? Penny also comes off very bossy and pushy towards Victoria, and just doesn't come off as a likable person in a sense. The other characters are alright, I did adore the Vicar and his wife! Now that's a couple I'd like to read a cozy mystery about! The murder victim, her friends, and the groom and groomsman, all seem realistic and are well written, as are all the characters including I guess, Penny. However, the groom, Emyr did seem to fall a little flat, almost as if he didn't have any personality. I'm not sure if the author meant to write him in such a manner, or if she just didn't make the effort towards his character. As for the plot and story itself, it was rather decent. I enjoyed the setup, the small town and it's shops. The author did a lovely job providing descriptions regarding the area and it's history. The murder takes place shortly into the novel, and as much as you'd like to think you know who had committed the crime, there's a twist towards the end and you think "I knew it!" However, you do not. That, I enjoyed. I appreciated the twist and late exposure of the true murderer. It really makes you wonder in the end "whodunnit." Quite frankly, I can't think of much else to say regarding this cozy mystery. I had high expectations, and was truly looking forward to reading it. But, as I said, it all fell flat to my dismay and I truly don't see myself continuing with this series sadly.

  25. 4 out of 5

    Sue

    Our local bookclub read the Agatha Christie novel MURDER ON THE ORIENT EXPRESS in January as a salute to the 100th anniversary to Christie's first publication. While we had a great discussion including comparisons to the various movie interpretations of the novel, most of us came to the conclusion that we are drawn to the more complex character development in more modern mysteries. We also wonder just what the upcoming release of a brand new MURDER ON THE ORIENT EXPRESS, starring Johnny Depp, wi Our local bookclub read the Agatha Christie novel MURDER ON THE ORIENT EXPRESS in January as a salute to the 100th anniversary to Christie's first publication. While we had a great discussion including comparisons to the various movie interpretations of the novel, most of us came to the conclusion that we are drawn to the more complex character development in more modern mysteries. We also wonder just what the upcoming release of a brand new MURDER ON THE ORIENT EXPRESS, starring Johnny Depp, will do to the original plot and characters. We ended the evening by sharing names of "cozy mystery" series that we have enjoyed. I recommended Diane Mott Davidson's series featuring Goldie the caterer, but since there haven't been any new titles recently, I was eager to hear the recommendations of others. That's how I came to read my first Penny Brannigan novel. Set in Wales (first book set in Wales for me, too), Penny is a transplanted Canadian who makes her living as a manicurist in a small village. As the book opens, Penny's long time friend, former school teacher Emma Teasdale has just died and Penny tells the funeral director that she would like to do the friend's nails one last time as a tribute to their friendship. Then Penny must prepare for a busy weekend as she is going to the do the nails for a bridal party. Meg Wynne Thompson, the bride, is new to the community, and her upcoming marriage to the most eligible bachelor in Lianelen has everyone gossiping, especially after her drunken father has an outburst at the rehearsal dinner. The next day, when the bride fails to show up for the ceremony, it becomes apparent that Penny may have been the last person to see the missing bride. When Penny figures out that the person who came to get a manicure WAS NOT really Meg Wynne Thompson, the police suspect foul play. I liked Duncan's writing and especially the development of the kind, quiet and observant Penny, but I felt that the mystery really took a back seat to Penny and her life in the village. That made it necessary for much of the mystery plot to be revealed at the very end. I guess I prefer mysteries which reveal more clues as you read along and which include both the victim and the villain in more of the plot. I've got lots on my to-read pile, but I think I can make time to try another Penny Brannigan story when I'm in the mood for a quiet mystery and a trip to Wales.

  26. 5 out of 5

    Janet

    I really wanted to like this one. It had all the bells and whistles: cozy, picturesque village in Wales, likeable heroine, a very interesting murder that was difficult to solve and the author obviously knows about Britain and British customs. Still, there were a lot of things that bothered me. The characterization was not very well done. The main character gained a best friend and a cop boyfriend without any effort and both were besties and in love in no time at all--mostly after no more than 2 I really wanted to like this one. It had all the bells and whistles: cozy, picturesque village in Wales, likeable heroine, a very interesting murder that was difficult to solve and the author obviously knows about Britain and British customs. Still, there were a lot of things that bothered me. The characterization was not very well done. The main character gained a best friend and a cop boyfriend without any effort and both were besties and in love in no time at all--mostly after no more than 2 meetings. I don't trust relationships that spring up so fast, it doesn't seem realistic. Also, I've lived in a small village in Scotland. Even though this is Wales, I'm not at all sure if a nail salon would do such booming business with the locals, at least not enough to support even a modest living woman. The main character almost seems universally adored and while nice, I didn't see the author giving us a lot of reason for that. And while we were skipping over a lot of important information we were given a long, unnecessary scene of romantic steaminess between the Rector and his wife (who needed to know Regency Romances did it for her). I may see if the next one is worth my time but it may take a while for me to get to it.

  27. 4 out of 5

    Melinda

    This was the beginning of a series, and possibly the author's first book, so I was willing to overlook some story pieces that didn't really fit well, and the disjointed way it bounced between character perspectives, but by the end I was just annoyed with it. I wanted to like it very much, I enjoyed some of the relationships and it looks to be headed towards a couple solving crime together. It was also nice to have older woman as the main characters. But I would have preferred we stick with Penny This was the beginning of a series, and possibly the author's first book, so I was willing to overlook some story pieces that didn't really fit well, and the disjointed way it bounced between character perspectives, but by the end I was just annoyed with it. I wanted to like it very much, I enjoyed some of the relationships and it looks to be headed towards a couple solving crime together. It was also nice to have older woman as the main characters. But I would have preferred we stick with Penny through the story and find out things when she did. Instead, there were portions of this person told that person what had happened, that we the reader had read while happening moments before. And I had guessed the bad guy very early, and wasn't engaged enough to want to know how or if they caught him. I so wish this had been different because I could see myself enjoying this place through several books. Unfortunately I won't be continuing past this one.

  28. 4 out of 5

    Michelle

    (3.5 stars) This is the first book in the Penny Brannigan series. Penny loves her adopted hometown of Llanelen in Wales. She is currently a manicurist by trade and has been asked to to the nails of the bridal party. While the bridesmaids had theirs done earlier in the week, the bride is having hers done the morning of the wedding. When she fails to show up to the wedding and appears to have vanished, it seems that Penny may have been the last person to have seen her. Penny is also dealing with t (3.5 stars) This is the first book in the Penny Brannigan series. Penny loves her adopted hometown of Llanelen in Wales. She is currently a manicurist by trade and has been asked to to the nails of the bridal party. While the bridesmaids had theirs done earlier in the week, the bride is having hers done the morning of the wedding. When she fails to show up to the wedding and appears to have vanished, it seems that Penny may have been the last person to have seen her. Penny is also dealing with the death of her dear friend, Emma, the first to have welcomed her to the village. Penny finds herself with a few key clues about the missing bride and becomes enmeshed in the investigation, which reveals some hidden secrets from several members of the wedding party. This was a nice start to the series and I look forward to seeing more of the characters in the next book.

  29. 4 out of 5

    Liz V.

    Llalenel residents, and shop owner Penny in particular, anticipate a busy weekend. First, their retired teacher, and Penny's best friend, has died and the funeral is in the offing. Second, the son of the local squire is due to be married, and Penny is booked for manicures for the bride and bridesmaids. All seems to go well with the wedding preparations, until the bride leaves Penny's shop and vanishes. The police, especially DCI Davies, are impressed by Penny's eye for detail but anxious that Pe Llalenel residents, and shop owner Penny in particular, anticipate a busy weekend. First, their retired teacher, and Penny's best friend, has died and the funeral is in the offing. Second, the son of the local squire is due to be married, and Penny is booked for manicures for the bride and bridesmaids. All seems to go well with the wedding preparations, until the bride leaves Penny's shop and vanishes. The police, especially DCI Davies, are impressed by Penny's eye for detail but anxious that Penny and her new friend Virginia not play sleuth with a murderer on the loose. A 3.5 star effort, rounded up, with the hope that the pace in the next is a little faster.(Just realized I've read several of the books in the series, some years ago.)

  30. 4 out of 5

    Claudia Cheyne

    I read this book in 2009 when it first came out, but the reappearance of Emyr Gruffydd in the most recent installment of the series prompted me to refresh my memory on the mystery surrounding the disappearance of Emyr's first fiance on their wedding day. Penny Brannigan is mourning the death of her longtime friend and companion Emma Teasdale. She meets Victoria Hopkirk, Detective Chief Inspector Gareth Davies and Detective Sergeant Bethan Morgan as well as other characters who regularly appear t I read this book in 2009 when it first came out, but the reappearance of Emyr Gruffydd in the most recent installment of the series prompted me to refresh my memory on the mystery surrounding the disappearance of Emyr's first fiance on their wedding day. Penny Brannigan is mourning the death of her longtime friend and companion Emma Teasdale. She meets Victoria Hopkirk, Detective Chief Inspector Gareth Davies and Detective Sergeant Bethan Morgan as well as other characters who regularly appear throughout the series. It is a great story with plenty of suspects. Penny and Victoria manage to endanger themselves after doing too much snooping around. It's the kind of book that is hard to put down with a really great ending.

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