Murder threatens to spoil the Christmas celebrations in a quiet Welsh town.
Canadian ex-pat Penny Brannigan and her partner Victoria are scrambling to finish up the last-minute chores they need to complete before opening their new spa when a new complication arises. One of Penny’s customers, wealthy widow Evelyn Lloyd, has recently met Harry Saunders, a charming but evasive American who quickly gains her trust. Despite remonstrations from her housemate Florence and her banker, she opens a joint account with £20,000 of her money, only to see Harry vanish. Practically the whole town seems to be visiting Conwy Castle when Harry is found dead with Evelyn’s letter opener in his back. Penny has had success in the past solving murders (A Brush with Death, 2010, etc.), and her boyfriend, Chief Inspector Gareth Davies, is always willing to listen to her ideas. So it’s no surprise that when Evelyn begs her to investigate, Penny agrees. Soon she’s also investigating the theft of several small objects, the most valuable of which is a brooch Gareth gave her for Christmas. Once Penny comes to believe that the murder and the thefts are related, her sleuthing puts her in danger from a reckless killer.
Duncan’s latest English cozy continues to flesh out her recurring characters while providing more sound mystery-mongering.