cover image A Small Hill to Die On: A Penny Brannigan Mystery

A Small Hill to Die On: A Penny Brannigan Mystery

Elizabeth J. Duncan. Minotaur, $24.99 (288p) ISBN 978-1-250-00824-4

In Duncan's solid if unsurprising fourth cozy featuring nail salon owner Penny Brannigan (after 2011's A Killer's Christmas in Wales), Mai Grimstead, the owner of Nailz, a chain of nail bars and tanning salons, has just moved to Llanelen, Wales. Mai courteously stops by Penny's shop to inform her that she will soon have competition. But Nailz's new branch draws few customers, so why is its cash-deposit bag, which Penny spots one day at the bank, so much larger than her own? Meanwhile, Mai's children are unhappy in their new home, and one of these, her 19-year-old daughter, is displaying signs of an out-of-wedlock pregnancy. When Penny stumbles on a corpse during a walk and realizes that the female victim was a customer, she once again turns sleuth, though her detective work does little to distinguish her from countless other curious, well-intentioned amateurs. Agent: Dominick Abel, Dominick Abel Literary. (Oct.)