A Small Hill to Die on, by Elizabeth J. Duncan, is an excellent read. It is Ms. Duncan’s fourth mystery in the Penny Brannigan series.
The novel is set in the small town of Llanelen in Wales. Penny Brannigan is a transplanted Canadian who has been living in Llanelen after what was supposed to have been a short visit twenty-five years earlier.
Penny is an artist who loves sketching and has spent many happy hours on the hills surrounding Llanelen, drawing the magnificent scenery. While on one of these sketching trips with a friend, Penny comes across a partially buried body.
So begins the mystery that this amateur sleuth is determined to solve. The story is intriguing and involves newcomers to Llanelen, two rebellious teenagers, a husband with a gambling addiction, and several townspeople, familiar to anyone who has read the three previous novels. Mrs. Lloyd, the town busybody is a particular favourite of mine. Penny’s boyfriend, Detective Chief Inspector Gareth Davies who is assigned to the case, and even Victoria, Penny’s business partner get involved.
Another death occurs and the pace of the book increases. Penny’s sleuthing is putting her in danger and we find ourselves wondering if the next death could be hers. The plot twists and turns with increasing speed as Penny gets closer and closer to the truth about these two deaths as well as one which had occurred decades ago and was just recently discovered.
Can Penny do it? Can she discover the person or persons “whodunnit” before it is too late?
She can. And she does.
Ms. Duncan’s descriptions of the Llanelen and the surrounding countryside make us feel as if we were there, or we wish we were there. Ms. Duncan knows Wales and it shows.
I started reading this book this afternoon and I finished it this evening. The only complaint I have is that it wasn’t longer. How long do I have to wait for another Penny Brannigan mystery by Elizabeth J. Duncan?
It’s very British, very cozy, and very nice.