Release Date: Nov 10, 2020
Series: A Penny Brannigan Mystery
Publisher: Penguin Random
Imprint: Crooked Lane Books
Penny Brannigan and her best friend are enjoying a painting holiday on an island off the coast of Wales. Penny is able to relax, paint, and meet new people, including a charming wildlife photographer named Colin. However, the fun comes to a halt when Penny discovers the dead body of a young journalist from New Zealand that she had just met. It looks like it may have just been a tragic accident, but Penny thinks there is more to Jessica’s death. She begins asking questions to see if the ambitious reporter ran across anyone in her short visit that didn’t want their secrets to become a newspaper headline.
This is the eleventh book in a series that I’ve not read before, but I was able to get to know the main characters without any trouble. How you feel about this book will depend on what you’re looking for. The pace of the story is slow and leisurely, with the exception of Penny’s romance with Colin which is rushed and a bit forced. The mystery itself is light and isn’t the main focus of the book. For most of the book, Penny doesn’t seem to have any sense of urgency about solving the crime and that carried over to my attitude toward the book. It was pleasant when I was reading it, but when I put it down, I didn’t feel compelled to pick it back up. Overall, I did enjoy the book, though. The author excels writing vivid descriptions of the setting. I could imagine fighting my way through the crowded bar to get a drink as Penny does, and I could picture the lighthouse on the shore of the island that Penny admires. Penny is likable for the most part, although there are a few examples when she seems a little self-centered, worrying more about her fledgling romance than the safety of other people. I like the other side of Penny, such as when she drops everything to comfort Jessica’s mother who is alone and grieving far from home.
Penny has a way about her that she is able to get answers when she begins asking questions about Jessica’s death. She is able to find possible motives that support the theory that Jessica was murdered and she is able to pass along the information to a friend who is a member of the North Wales police force. I thought the motive was fairly obvious pretty early on, but the author is still able to include a few details that took me by surprise when the crime is solved. The ending is a little pat but very sweet and should please fans of the series. I don’t know if this is the end of the series or if the author is just taking Penny’s character in a new direction, but either way there are a lot of new adventures in store for Penny.