A day in the life of Penny Brannigan by Elizabeth J. Duncan

Have you ever noticed that most amateur sleuths aren’t locked into rigid nine to five jobs?

We need flexibility in our working lives (or the daytime situation as a good friend of ours calls it) because when a detecting opportunity knocks, we have to spring into action. So most of us are entrepreneurs and run our own businesses – restaurants, bakeries, and shops that trade in products of every description: antiques; books; Christmas decorations; collectibles; hats; flowers; sewing, knitting and craft supplies; and goodness knows what else. As for me, I co-own a spa with my business partner Victoria Hopkirk in the North Wales town of Llanelen. I’m also an amateur watercolour artist.

We used to do the sleuthing together, Victoria and I, but over the last couple of years, because I’ve been more involved with Gareth Davies, now a retired police officer, Victoria and I haven’t been doing as much. I missed her involvement on my most recent cases. She’s wonderful for exploring scenarios: ‘what if the killer did this . . . because . . .?’

I’ll admit that sleuthing occasionally gets in the way of my work at the Llanelen Spa; Victoria gave me a right ticking off about this in my most recent outing, Murder Is for Keeps. She reminded me that the rest of the staff shouldn’t be expected to hold the fort while I’m hot on the trail of a local killer. But hey, I’m entitled to a day off every now and then!

And then, when I really needed her, and for reasons that are a bit too complicated to go into here, Victoria decided that we should have a day off together, and drive through the lush Welsh countryside to the town of Llanddulas, where I wanted to speak to someone who might know something about a recent murder. Not only did we have a great day out, but our little adventure put me the right track to catching a killer.

There’s an old saying that a good friend is the one who helps you hide the body. My good friends are the ones who help me unmask the killer.


You can read more about Penny Brannigan and her friend and business partner Victoria Hopkirk in Murder Is for Keeps, number eight in the “Penny Brannigan” mystery series set in North Wales.

Local artist Penny Brannigan has been spending her summer painting Gwrych Castle and its surrounding landscapes. A privately owned, castellated Welsh country house, Gwrych has been sadly neglected for decades and is in a heartbreaking state of disrepair. So when she learns architectural historian Mark Baker is leading a team of enthusiastic volunteers to restore the castle grounds and gardens to their former grandeur, Penny is thrilled.

But it’s not long before disagreements over the restoration turn deadly, and Penny is horrified to discover the body of a volunteer hidden in a castle outbuilding. Penny enlists her friend Gareth Davies, recently retired from the North Wales Police Service, to help investigate. As the two dig deeper into the castle’s history, including its glamorous heyday in the 1920s, they find startling connections between an old, unsolved murder and Gareth’s own family, and as they solve the present-day murder, Penny recovers a stunning piece of the castle’s architectural heritage.

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Giveaway: Leave a comment below for your chance to win a copy of Murder Is for Keeps. Open to Canada, USA, and UK residents. The giveaway ends July 14, 2017. Good luck everyone!

About the author
Elizabeth J. Duncan is a two-time winner of the Bloody Words Light Mystery Award (Canada) and has been nominated for Agatha and Arthur Ellis awards. She is the author of the long-running Penny Brannigan series set in North Wales (St. Martins Press), and the Shakespeare in the Catskills series (Crooked Lane Books). She lives in Toronto.

Visit her website at www.elizabethjduncan.com, like her Facebook page: and follow her on Twitter: @elizabethduncan

All comments are welcomed.

Buy link

32 responses to “A day in the life of Penny Brannigan by Elizabeth J. Duncan

  1. This looks like a great read Dru. Toss my name into the contest hat please.

  2. i love Penny Brannigan and look forward to catching up with her!

  3. I’ve only read the first 2 books in this series so I have a lot of catching up to do!

  4. Wales, a castle, friendship, and murder…sounds like the perfect combo to me. Thank you for the chance to win.

  5. Linda Alkire

    I love this series–I am enjoying the way Penny’s character has developed over the course of the series and find all the descriptions of the countryside very interesting. Nice tie-in with her painting!

  6. I’ve read the first in the series and until this post I did not know so many more have been published.

  7. elainehroberson

    Sounds like a series that I would enjoy. Thanks for a chance to win a copy.

  8. Lori Fusselman

    I love this series. Thanks for the opportunity.

  9. Celia Fowler

    Murder is for Keeps is definitely going on my TBR list — since my Grandmother’s family came from Wales, I love reading anything about it and learning more about my past. It would be so exciting to win a copy — thanks so much for the giveaway!

  10. Sounds like a great read.

  11. Roseann Moss

    Another author to add to my must read mystery list.

  12. I love the sound of this book! I’m off to Amazon to get some history in the series.

  13. Enid Goldstein

    Oh, my. I would Love this. I’m reading my way through them all, and loving every minute!

  14. Ashley Cate

    This sounds like a fun series! Thanks for the chance to win a copy.

  15. “There’s an old saying that a good friend is the one who helps you hide the body. My good friends are the ones who help me unmask the killer.”
    Love it

  16. Karen Terry

    Sounds like a yummy book.

  17. Another author and new book for me. I absolutely love following your blog, Dru Ann. Thanks for the opportunity to enter your giveaway.

  18. I’m glad Penny has her friends.

  19. new book and I can not wait to read it.

  20. MaryAnn Forbes

    Thank you for the opportunity to win Murder is for Keeps.📚

  21. A castle, and a cat, and a title with a pun in it? Reading about castles in Wales sounds fun!

  22. Thanks for the chance to read the latest Penny Brannigan mystery.

  23. Linda Herold

    Thanks for introducing me to new author! Thanks for offering this!

  24. Doward Wilson

    Thanks for an entertaining post & a chance to win this great book.

  25. Sounds great! I’d love to win a copy of Murder is for Keeps, thanks for the chance!

  26. I haven’t read any books by this author, but it sure sounds exciting….and as soon as I saw the kitty on the cover I knew this was a book for me! Sure would love to win a copy of it. Thanks so much dear Dru for the chance!

  27. Pauline Barlow

    It will be fun reading a Welsh mystery. “Murder is for Keeps” by Elizabeth J. Duncan sounds like a great read.

  28. That’s a good point about amateur sleuths and jobs! Would love to catch up with Penny, thanks for the chance to win!

  29. New author. New read. So exciting Love the cover. Looks like a great read.

  30. This is a new series to me. How in the world did I ever miss this ne. Sounds interesting.

  31. I enjoyed this post. Thank you for sharing!

  32. **** WINNER ****
    Murder Is for Keeps is Linda Alkire
    Congratulations