Tuesday, September 3, 2019

ARC Review: Remembering the Dead by Elizabeth J. Duncan

Remembering the Dead
Author: Elizabeth J. Duncan
Series: A Penny Brannigan Mystery (Book 10)
Publication: Crooked Lane Books (September 10, 2019)

Description: In award-winning author Elizabeth J. Duncan's tenth Penny Brannigan mystery set in North Wales, Canadian amateur sleuth Penny Brannigan attends a dinner party at a posh country house--where a historic chair disappears and a waiter is murdered.

Artist and spa owner Penny Brannigan has been asked to organize a formal dinner to mark the centenary of the armistice that ended World War One. After dinner, the guests adjourn to the library for a private exhibition of the Black Chair, a precious piece of Welsh literary history awarded in 1917 to poet Hedd Wyn. But to the guests' shock, the newly restored bardic chair is missing. And then Penny discovers the rain-soaked body of a waiter.

When Penny learns that the victim was the nephew of one of her employees, she is determined to find the killer. Meanwhile, the local police search for the Black Chair. The Prince of Wales is due to open an exhibit featuring the chair in three weeks, so time is not on their side. A visit to a nursing home to consult an ex-thief convinces Penny that the theft of the Black Chair and the waiter's murder are connected. She rushes to Dublin to consult a disagreeable antiquarian, who might know more than he lets on, and during the course of her investigation confronts a gaggle of suspicious travelers and an eccentric herbalist who seems to have something to hide. Can Penny find the chair and the culprit before she is laid to rest in the green grass of Wales?

My Thoughts: This was an okay cozy mystery. It is the tenth in the Penny Brannigan series but worked well for this new reader. Penny is a spa owner and artist and is apparently famous in her small town for solving murders.

She is asked to organize a formal dinner for a local landowner who plans to display the Black Chair which was given posthumously to the Welsh poet Hedd Wyn in 1917 after he died in World War I. The chair has been restored and is to be displayed in a restored farm site. In just three weeks, it will be visited by the Prince of Wales.

Things go well getting the dinner organized but somehow between the appetizer and the main course somebody makes off with the chair. Worst of all, the leave the body of a young local waiter behind. Also a young learning disabled man who was supposed to man the coffee station after the dinner is missing.

It turns out that the young waiter was the nephew of one of Penny's employees at the spa. So while she understands the importance of finding the chair, she is more focused and finding her missing young friend and solving the murder of the waiter.

The story does bring back a couple of her old boyfriends. One is a retired police officer who is moving to Scotland because of a woman he met. Penny isn't sorry to see him go since their relationship lacked the spark she wanted. The other was a bit of a bounder who didn't happen to mention that he had a wife while he was romancing Penny.

The story nicely weaves a number of different plot threads on the way to this story's satisfying conclusion. Fans of the series will enjoy revisiting old friends. This new reader is eager to read some of the earlier books.

Favorite Quote:
"Oh, was he trying to look younger?" asked Mrs. Lloyd. "I wouldn't have thought age mattered in a butler. In fact, the older, the better. Up to a certain point, of course. Nobody wants doddery."
I received this one in exchange for an honest review from NetGalley. You can buy your copy here.

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