Friday, August 13, 2010

"A Brush with Death"

Elizabeth J. Duncan's first novel, The Cold Light of Mourning, won the 2008 Malice Domestic/St. Martin's award and was nominated for an Agatha Award (USA) and Arthur Ellis Award (Canada) for best first novel. Her new novel, A Brush with Death, is the second in the Penny Brannigan mystery series and is a traditional mystery set in North Wales.

She applied the Page 69 Test to A Brush with Death and reported the following:
Unfortunately, page 69 is not terribly exciting. It's what we might call a set up scene. Penny has learned of the hit and run death of an artist 30 years ago, and wants to know more. Was it an accident? Murder? Who did it? Her police inspector friend, Gareth Davies, has agreed that she should have access to case files because he knows that amateur sleuths, with the right resources and intentions, often solve cold cases that a busy police department just doesn't have time for.

So on page 69, Sgt. Bethan Morgan arrives at Penny's home to have dinner with Penny and Victoria before she gives the little team Penny has assembled a briefing on the death of Alys Jones.
Bethan smiled as she looked around the room. Much of the clutter was gone and Penny had rearranged the furniture to open up the space. Penny pointed to a blank wall where two large easels had been set up.

“I thought you couid put your whiteboard on them, if they’re sturdy enough,” she said. “What do you think?”

“Hmm. I think that arrangement will work for tonight,” Bethan said, “but if you want to keep the board up and we really start working with it, we might need to make it more secure so we can write on it and tape things to it.”

Penny nodded eagerly and then turned as Victoria emerged from the kitchen, wearing a large white apron with a tea towel draped over her shoulder.

“Hi, Bethan, love,” she said warmly. “It’s so nice to see you again. Has Penny offered you a drink yet?”

“No, not yet,” replied Bethan, “but I’m sure she was just about to. I’ll just have a tonic water or a ginger ale, please.”

“Right you are,” said Penny. “Are you on duty?”

“We couldn’t really decide that. I don’t think so, but it feels like it. Anyway, I have to drive back to Llandudno tonight, so from that point of view, have to give the wine a miss. This time.”

Penny nodded and headed off to the kitchen to fetch Bethan’s drink.
Learn more about the book and author at Elizabeth J. Duncan's website and blog.

The Page 69 Test: The Cold Light of Mourning.

Visit the complete list of books in the Page 69 Test Series.

--Marshal Zeringue