The marmalade murders

Elizabeth J. Duncan

Book - 2018

The competition is friendly and just a little fierce at the annual Llanelen agricultural show as town and country folk gather for the outdoor judging of farm animals and indoor judging of cakes, pies, pastries, chutneys, jams and jellies, along with vegetables, fruit and flowers. But this year, there's a new show category: murder.

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MYSTERY/Duncan Elizabet
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Detective and mystery fiction
Mystery fiction
New York : Minotaur Books 2018.
Main Author
Elizabeth J. Duncan (author)
First edition
Physical Description
viii, 276 pages ; 22 cm
Contents unavailable.
Review by Publisher's Weekly Review

Set in Llanelen, Wales, Duncan's middling ninth Penny Brannigan mystery (after 2017's Murder Is for Keeps) finds Penny and Victoria Hopkirk, co-owners of Llanelen Spa, volunteering to help at the home crafts section of the town's agricultural show. The pair are greeted by Joyce Devlin, president of the show committee, and everything goes smoothly until they realize they're missing entries from Gaynor Lewis, president of the Welsh Women's Guild, and their friend Florence Semple. Florence's jam wins a first, but her marmalade and carrot cake have disappeared. When Penny looks under the home crafts table for the missing items, she discovers Gaynor's body. Insp. Bethan Morgan may be in charge of the subsequent murder investigation, but Penny's knowledge and insight, plus her insatiable curiosity, prove to be invaluable to the case. Another death raises the stakes. Figuring out the meaning of the missing marmalade could be the key to the mystery. Duncan's inviting picture of life in rural Wales compensates only in part for unremarkable characters and a strained plot. Agent: Dominick Abel, Dominick Abel Literary Agency. (Apr.) © Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.

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Review by Kirkus Book Review

Could a trophy possibly be a motive for murder?Canadian expat Penny Brannigan's lived for nearly 30 years in the lovely Welsh town of Llanelen, where she and her business partner, Victoria, run a successful spa. Always happy to give back to the community, she agrees to judge the children's pet contest at the local agricultural show and to join Victoria in checking in the home crafts the night before the show. Joyce Devlin and Barbara Vickers, who help them set up, warn that the time to accept entries ends promptly at 8 p.m. Never having realized how fiercely competitive the entrants are, Penny's surprised to learn when she phones her friend Florence Semble, whose entries are close to missing the deadline, that someone has called to tell her not to bring in her entries until Saturday morning. Penny's phone call saves Florence's entries, but then, after they arrive, Florence's cake and marmalade vanish before they can be judged. After the show ends, Penny discovers a body hidden under a table with the smashed remains of Florence's cake. The dead woman is Gaynor Lewis, whose daughter, Michelle, has been looking for her ever since she missed the contest won by her granddaughter's pet. Ever curious, Penny (Murder is for Keeps, 2017, etc.) sets out to help her friend Inspector Bethan Morgan solve the case. Although Florence's entries were sabotaged, other people may also have had reason to kill Gaynor, including her ex and his new wife. Penny grows especially suspicious of Joyce Devlin, the sister-in-law who was barely on speaking terms with Gaynor and has just built an expensive new kennel despite a stack of unpaid bills, and Gaynor's sister, Andrea Devlin, a trans woman recently returned to the area, who freely admits to hating Gaynor. In truth, though, so many people are hiding innocuous secrets that it's hard to discern the truth in time to prevent another death.One of Duncan's best mysteries, with plenty of suspects and motives but no easy answers to whodunit.

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