Tuesday, September 10, 2019

"Remembering the Dead"

A two-time winner of the Bloody Words (Bony Blithe) Award for Canada’s best light mystery, Elizabeth J. Duncan is the author of two series of traditional mysteries: the Penny Brannigan series set in North Wales and Shakespeare in the Catskills featuring costume designer and amateur sleuth Charlotte Fairfax. A former journalist, public relations practioner, and college professor, Duncan is a faculty member of the Humber School for Writers. She divides her time between Toronto, Canada, and Llandudno, North Wales.

Duncan applied the Page 69 test to Remembering the Dead, the tenth title in the Penny Brannigan mystery series and reported the following:
From page 69:
She stepped onto the gravel path that ran alongside the house and moved through the velvety blackness toward the light. The rain that had been falling heavily earlier had slowed to a soft drizzle.

“Lane,” she called. “Are you out here? It’s Penny. Are you all right?” When there was no response, she tried again. “You’re not in any trouble, Lane. We just want to know you’re all right.” She paused, straining to hear something to let her know that Lane was nearby, but there was no movement, no response, only muffled and indistinct voices coming from the car park. And then came the chirping of car door openers, followed by the sound of doors being opened and closed and engines starting up. Oh, no, she thought. Emyr’s let the guests go home. Why would he do that?

Dressed only in a pair of black trousers and a white shirt, to fit into the background with the waitstaff, and shivering in the freezing night, Penny realised it would be faster to continue on toward the back door rather than retrace her steps to the scullery. Hugging her arms to her chest again for warmth, she darted forward in the darkness, but lost her balance…
Well! Poor Penny. The dinner party she organized to mark the hundredth anniversary of the end of World War 1 has gone completely pear shaped. A waiter disappeared between courses and the young fellow who was meant to set up the coffee and dessert service, whom she is searching for in this scene, is nowhere to be found. But worst of all, a priceless Welsh artefact, the Black Chair awarded to Welsh poet Hedd Wyn, was stolen sometime during the dinner, which is why she’s dismayed that the host allowed his dinner guests to depart.

And just when she thought things couldn’t get any worse, she’s one page away from discovering a fatally wounded young man.

You can bet this dinner party will be the talk of the town the next morning.

Remembering the Dead passes the Page 69 test with flying colours. It’s completely representative of the rest of the book -- in tone, setting, plot … every way that matters. But there’s more to the story … on other pages you’ll find stunning views of the Welsh countryside, delicious meals, and even a ferry ride across the Irish Sea to Dublin.
Learn more about the book and author at Elizabeth J. Duncan’s website.

--Marshal Zeringue