A Brush with Death: A Penny Brannigan Mystery
Elizabeth J. Duncan
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When Penny Brannigan moves to her cottage in the small Welsh town of Llanelen and begins sorting through the belongings of her benefactor, a deceased teacher, she comes upon a packet of love letters from a promising young Liverpool artist named A. Jones. An artist herself, Penny sets out to discover more about this mysterious painter who met a tragic end in an accident in 1970.
While at a retrospective art exhibition in Liverpool, Penny recognizes what she believes to be a watercolor painted by Jones. But it is attributed to another artist. Helped once more by a small group of townsfolk, including her enterprising business partner, Victoria Hopkirk, Penny sets out to prove her suspicion that art theft is at the heart of the case, and that Jones's death was no accident.
In her eagerly awaited sequel Elizabeth J. Duncan wonderfully revisits the bustling Welsh town and vibrant characters introduced in The Cold Light of Mourning. With its lyrical prose and tantalizing puzzle, A Brush with Death is a real treat of a mystery novel.
toward the river. “The location is a huge plus. The land value alone would be a great investment for us. We do it up . . .” Penny nodded. “Go on.” “Look, let’s get the surveyor to go over it and give us a report on the structure. That way, we can get an idea of how sound it is and what would be required. You could then draw up a few sketches of what you think we’d like it to look like, and we can move forward with the work. We’ll want to knock down some of the interior walls to open up the
marked PRIVATE. A few minutes later she returned, and Penny left the library. She hurried along the street back to the salon and poked her head in the door. Eirlys was concentrating on her work, but the client looked over and, when she saw who it was, smiled. “Hello!” said Penny. “Everything all right?” “Just grand, thanks. Your new assistant is doing a wonderful job.” “Good! Glad to hear it. Eirlys, have you seen Victoria? Is she here or at the site, do you know?” “She’s upstairs in her
I can just about make it back to the salon.” “You don’t have to worry about the salon,” Victoria assured her. “I had a word with Eirlys, and she’s happy to carry on.” “I’m sure she is,” Penny agreed, “but today’s Thursday, so Mrs. Lloyd’ll be coming in for her appointment. I want to take care of her myself so I can talk to her.” “Ah,” said Victoria, getting it. “Pick her brain, you mean.” Penny shuddered. “I hate that expression! But you were right when you suggested that Mrs. Lloyd would be
soldiers there, because they took them up into the hills for training. Then, in the 1950s, I think it was a youth hostel, and in the 1960s and ’70s it was filled with hippies and squatters, and I think it’s pretty much been empty since then. Oh, people have talked from time to time about fixing it up, but nothing ever came of that, until you and Victoria decided to take it on. “Are you sure you know what you’re doing, by the way? Did you get some good advice?” She mulled that over and then
“Have you checked for a secret compartment in that dresser?” Gareth asked, pointing at it. “No! I didn’t know there’d be one. Never even thought of it.” “My grandmother had a dresser just like it. She was so proud of it. We used to go round to visit her on Sunday afternoon and stay for our tea, and my mum, bless her, would take away Granny’s laundry and bring it back all washed and ironed the next week. She showed me how it worked when I was about ten. Let’s have a look.” He walked over to the