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Local artist and amateur sleuth Penny Brannigan has been spending her summer painting the exterior and views of the once-lovely Gwrych Castle, now in a heartbreaking state of disrepair. A privately owned castellated country house of jaw dropping scale, the gorgeous house located just outside of Penny’s picturesque Welsh town has been sadly neglected for decades.
Penny is thrilled when she hears local Mark Baker is leading a team of enthusiastic volunteers to restore the castle grounds and formal gardens to their former grandeur. But there are always disagreements about how everything should be done, and it’s not long before they turn deadly. Penny is horrified to discover the body of an overbearing volunteer who had opposed Mark at every turn.
Convinced that Mark is innocent, Penny enlists the help of keen gardener Gareth Davies, recently retired from the North Wales Police Service. She asks that he join the volunteer brigade, so Gareth dons a hi-vis jacket, picks up a spade and picks up a few clues, too. Asked to examine watercolor paintings of the estate gardens from the 1920s, Penny is surprised to find a few clues of her own. Could the 90-year-old paintings really hold the keys to a present-day murder? Murder is for Keeps is the latest book in this charming traditional mystery series from Elizabeth J. Duncan.