Note: While this is Book 6 in the series, it works just fine as a stand alone story.
Penny Brannigan is a transplanted Canadian that has adopted the North Wales town a Llanelen as her home. She and a good friend, Victoria, have started a beauty spa and their own line of beauty treatments. All is tranquil in this little town until a well-known figure, Glenda Roberts, is found dead in the local tourist slate mine.
While I would put this book in the cozy mystery section, I would also say it takes itself seriously. The characters are well formed and the plot holds steady throughout. While there are touches of light humor here and there, it is definitely not the main feature.
Penny is an amateur sleuth who has connections throughout the town, including a handsome police officer, Gareth. Their romance hasn’t taken off yet but they have mutual respect for each other and there’s a tag team of info gathering and problem solving between the two of them throughout the book. I really enjoyed their relationship. There’s some snappy dialogue between the two at times. We also get to spend a little time in Gareth’s head and we see how much he respects and yearns for Penny.
Glenda Roberts was a town event organizer. In fact, she was in the middle of organizing an orchestra event in the mine for St. David’s Day when she was discovered dead. As the police look into her life, they discover several people who didn’t particularly like her. Meanwhile, her sister runs a little market stall where various knock-offs are sold. This little family side business has also gained the sisters a few enemies. Even though Glenda is dead for nearly the entire book (excepting the little bit at the beginning before she is murdered), her character continues to gain aspects as the story moves forward and the police dig into her life. I really liked this as it kept Glenda around as an active and essential part of the story.
This book had several clever twists. At first, I thought this murder mystery would be pretty straight forward. I was engaged by the characters and by the setting but wasn’t expecting too much from the plot. But then we had one twist and then another and then a much bigger one. It was all well done and each little twist kept sucking me into the story further and further.
The last half of the book, I listened to all in one sitting. I simply didn’t want to put it away as I could feel the story heading towards a big reveal. I had a guess as to how the mystery would finally unravel, but I couldn’t quite piece it all together. It was a joy to see how the author wrapped the events of the past mining generation to the present generation.
I received this book free of charge from the publisher (via Audiobook Jukebox) in exchange for an honest review.
The Narration: Anne Flosnik was a good fit for Penny. She has a great talent for accents and in this book the Welsh words pop up everywhere. I especially liked her voice for Victoria and for the alcoholic orchestra leader.