EVANS TO BETSY: A Constable Evans Mystery
In his sixth appealing outing (after 2001's Evan Cat Wait), likable Welsh village bobby Evan Evans takes on a case with New Age overtones. Betsy the barmaid has long been desperate for recognition, and she may have found her ticket to fame when a visiting American graduate student named Emmy encourages her to develop her abilities as a psychic. Emmy claims she's looking for pure-blood Celts because the Celts are renowned for such abilities, and Betsy soon follows her new mentor to the Sacred Grove, situated for fictional purposes on the site of the actual Portmeirion. Sacred Grove has become the home to a center for New Age spirituality, complete with resident guru, Randy Wunderlich, the famous American psychic. Backed by his wife, Lady Annabel, owner of the property, Wunderlich seems set to establish a New Age empire in Wales. But Evans is suspicious that Betsy is the object of some kind of scam, plus he's on the trail of a missing American coed, whose trail leads to the Sacred Grove and Wunderlich himself. When Betsy dreams that Wunderlich is dead in a cave, her dream proves all too real. While Evans works to prove Betsy's innocence, he must cope with changes in his personal life (he's finally moved into his own place) as well as with the serious, unaccountable illness of his beloved, Bronwen. Bowen deftly and humorously weaves the various plot threads into an entertaining whole. This is a series that consistently charms. (Mar. 18)
FYI:Bowen's previous novel, Murphy's Law, introduced a new series with an Irish heroine (Forecasts, Sept. 3).