A Brush with Death
Review: Watercolor artist Penny Brannigan is surprised to learn she has inherited a quaint — but badly in need of renovation — cottage from an old friend … only to discover that its contents may hold the secret to the solution of a decades-old mystery in A Brush with Death, the second entry in this series by Elizabeth J. Duncan.
As Penny begins to think about modernizing the cottage, she looks for anything that may help her retain both its history and the memory of her friend Emma. She finds a number of old and grainy photographs, but Emma is the only person in them she recognizes. She also learns Emma was meticulous in maintaining ledgers of the property, but oddly, the four years from 1967 through 1970 are missing. And Penny finds a stunning oil painting, clearly the work of a professional artist, signed by A. Jones. She recalls seeing a similar painting in the office of her lawyer, Richard Jones, and, as it turns out, the "A" stands for "Alys" and she was his sister. Richard explains that Alys was killed by a hit and run driver in 1970 just prior to a showing of her art, but no collection of paintings by the artist was ever found. When Penny later visits an art exhibition in Liverpool, she sees a painting that she believes must have been painted by Alys, but it bears another artist's name. In seeing this, Penny's begins to think Alys's death might not have been an accident. Together with her close friends Victoria Hopkirk and Detective Inspector Gareth Davies, Penny sets out to determine if Alys's paintings were stolen and that she may have been murdered to cover up the theft.
A Brush with Death is an enchanting English village-style whodunit. As much a story of friendship, new and old, as it is a mystery, it generates a feeling of goodwill and warmth within the reader while presenting an interesting puzzle to solve. The plot moves long briskly but takes time to introduce details about art and painting that add depth and color to the story. A most enjoyable novel all around, readers will certainly be looking forward to the next in the series.
Special thanks to guest reviewer Betty of The Betz Review for contributing her review of A Brush with Death.
Acknowledgment: Minotaur Books provided a copy of A Brush with Death for this review.
Review Copyright © 2010 — Hidden Staircase Mystery Books — All Rights Reserved
Selected reviews of other mysteries by this author …
Crooked Lane Books (Hardcover), November 2015
ISBN-13: 9781629531915; ISBN-10: 162953191X
Location(s) referenced in A Brush with Death: Wales
— ♦ —
A Brush with Death by Elizabeth J. Duncan — A Penny Brannigan Mystery
Publisher: Minotaur Books
Publication Date: July 2010
List Price: $24.99
— ♦ —
Page Author: Lance Wright
Site Publisher: Mysterious Reviews
Mysterious Reviews is a Division of
The Hidden Staircase Mystery Books
and a Business Unit of the
Omnimystery Family of Mystery Websites