Posts Tagged ‘malice domestic best first traditional mystery novel competition’


The Cold Light of Mourning by Elizabeth Duncan. Minotaur Books, 2009.

Penny Brannigan grew up in Nova Scotia, but when she travelled to Wales as a young woman, she fell in love with the country. Now she has lived in the small town of Llanelen, where she has established a successful manicure shop, for 25 years. Her quiet life is jolted, first by the quiet passing of her long-time friend Emma Teasdale, and then by the stir caused by the disappearance of the soon-to-be-wed Meg Wynne Thompson. Penny, who did her nails on the bride’s wedding day, was the last person to see her alive. Or so it seems…

The Cold Light of Mourning is fashioned in the tradition of the country cozy mystery, and was the 2009 winner of the Minotaur/ St. Martin’s Press Malice Domestic Best First Traditional Mystery Novel Competion. It is the first Canadian entry to win. In addition to Penny, the story introduces her new friend Victoria, who Penny meets at Emma’s funeral, the local constabulary, and the town busybody, Mrs. Lloyd. The scene is set for a series, should Duncan continue with Penny.

The story is a bit transparent. I’m not one to mull over possibilities as I read, but I had guessed who the murderer was before the body had even been discovered. However, Penny is likable and I especially enjoyed the introduction to the Welsh countryside and the town of LLandudno, dubbed “The Queen of the Welsh Resorts“, where Penny and Victoria shop and take a stroll on the famous pier. Duncan’s book is a fun, light read.

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