cover image A Brush with Death: A Penny Brannigan Mystery

A Brush with Death: A Penny Brannigan Mystery

Elizabeth J. Duncan, Minotaur, $23.99 (288p) ISBN 978-0-312-62282-4

In Duncan's absorbing second Penny Brannigan mystery (after 2009's The Cold Light of Mourning), the Canadian ex-pat and artist has unexpectedly inherited a cottage in the village of Llanelen, Wales, from her late schoolteacher friend, Emma Teasdale. When Penny and her boyfriend, Det. Insp. Gareth Davies, discover a stash of intriguing letters inside an old dresser of Emma's, she decides to put off remodeling her new home in order to investigate Emma's past. The letters reveal Emma had a lesbian relationship in the 1960s with an up-and-coming artist, Alys Jones, who died in a hit-and-run accident in 1970. The authorities never determined who was responsible. As Penny methodically cleans the cottage rooms, she wonders why only one of Alys's paintings can be located. Feeling a strong connection to a fellow artist, Penny enlists the aid of various villagers in her quest for the truth about Alys's "accident." Some early predictability doesn't spoil the cozy fun. (Aug.)