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A Brush with Death (A Penny Brannigan Mystery #2)
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A Brush with Death (Penny Brannigan #2)

3.55 of 5 stars 3.55  ·  rating details  ·  330 ratings  ·  58 reviews

When Penny moves to her cottage in the small Welsh town of Llanelen and begins sorting through the belongings of her benefactor, a deceased teacher, she comes upon a packet of love letters from a promising young Liverpool artist named A. Jones. An artist herself, Penny sets out to discover more about this mysterious painter who met a tragic end in an accident in 1970.


Paperback, 304 pages
Published April 26th 2011 by St. Martin's Paperbacks (first published July 14th 2010)
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When we are jealous our feeling of self-worth is low. Some would wish that others fail so that they might be deemed greater. Some might wish that the genius not only fail, but that they are removed from the picture altogether…

Set in an idyllic Welsh village, this second installment in the Penny Brannigan mystery series is the perfect cozy for a crisp fall evening. We first met Penny in The Cold Light of Mourning which won the Malice Domestic First Traditional Mystery Competition.

Penny is a pain
This book felt a little flat to me, unlike The Cold Light of Mourning, which was quite wonderful. I liked the personal developments for the various characters, but the mystery itself seemed not that mysterious. Still, I liked the story well enough. I will likely read the next one, when it comes out.
This was the second in the Penny Brannigan series. I am thoroughly enjoying these books. The characters are engaging and the mysteries are interesting. The setting is also a plus. In this book Penny is cleaning out, her friend Emma's cottage which Penny inherited. While cleaning out she learns of a hit and run accident, killing a local artist and friend of Emma's. The death is suspicious and Penny decides to investigate. She begins to uncover a number of mysteries related to this accident and th ...more
A Brush with Death is the second in the Penny Brannigan series set in Wales. This book picks up right where the first one left off. Penny is living in the cottage she inherited from her close friend, Emma. She stumbles upon a mystery from Emma’s past and feels compelled to follow it to the end. I quite enjoyed the first in this series, however this one fell somewhat flat for me.

The positives are the character descriptions and the setting. Well executed to the point that the reader can “see” the
Not quite a “cozy” mystery, but also not quite the complex, thoughtful and substantive mystery I grew up to know and love. Those types of mysteries seem to be in very, very short supply these days – or maybe, I’m just not looking in the right places.

This is a “cozy” in the sense that the heroine is sticking her nose into an old murder and neglecting her business, friends and prospective lover in the process. In a way, her concentration and focus is something to be admired. However, she is not a
A Brush With Death is as engaging as the first book in the Penny Brannigan series(The Cold Light of Mourning). Its the perfect cozy mystery to lose yourself in.

Apart from the whole mystery angle, there is depth to the novel too. The author has dealt with certain relevant social issues. Underneath the cloak of respectability, lie so many secrets - the author has captured that so well.The characters are very realistic Moreover the book captures the social changes that the world has undergone in th
#2 in the Penny Brannigan series. Penny has a nail salon, which would hardly qualify her as an amateur detective, BUT, not unusually for a 'cozy', she has a romantic interest in a detective inspecter (see #1 The Cold LIght of Mourning (2009)). When Penny gets interested in a cold case from 1970 with anti-lesbian overtones, you can bet she will persevere.

Penny Brannigan has inherited a cottage from her late schoolteacher friend, Emma Teasdale. When Penny and Det. Insp. Gareth Davies discover a st
Artist-manicurist Penny Brannigan is cleaning out the Welsh cottage she inherited from her elderly friend, Emma. One of the paintings on the wall is by an artist unknown to Penny--A. Jones. As Penny finds out more about the artist's relationship to Emma, she also finds that the painter was the victim of a hit-and-run accident many years ago. Enlisting all her friends, from the vicar and his efficient wife to the gossipy retired postmistress, Penny tries to find out more information about the acc ...more
This mystery surprised me with its basis in Liverpool’s art world in the late 1960’s (many references to John Lennon’s early art training, residence etc.), a lesbian relationship that had to be kept secret from a disapproving world, and a murder mystery that snaked its way to unexpected revelations. Set in a small tone in Wales, the characters come together to lend their hand to solving this 30+ year murder mystery. I thought their willing collaboration was a bit of a leap, but their courage to ...more
Diane Heath
Since I read book 3 prior to books 1 and 2, I had already met two characters who play a role in solving a hit and run from 1967. The mystery of the hit and run is almost a subplot as Penny is getting settled in her new cottage.
Kathy Moberg
I really liked the first book in this series, The Cold Light of Mourning. This second one, however, was a disappointment. The characters are not nearly as interesting and well drawn. Some of the exchanges between them are wooden or silly, and there were paragraphs here and there that struck me as filler material. The mystery itself was good enough that I had to finish the book, because I did want to find out what happened, so that is a plus. I skimmed as fast as I could from the middle to the en ...more
Jeanne Quigley
I enjoyed this second book in Elizabeth Duncan's Penny Brannigan series. The mystery involves a long ago hit-and-run death that Penny believes wasn't an accident. With the help of friends, Penny learns the murder might be tied to art theft. I like this quiet series set in Wales. Penny is a gentle, quiet woman, not prone to fits of hysteria or dramatics. Elizabeth Duncan does a fine job portraying Penny's determination to solve a case that affected a beloved friend, as well as showing the sorrow ...more
Erica Hall
I mostly liked this book, and still quite like the author. However, I was uncomfortable with the focus on ethnic differences in this book. Some of the discussion was important to the story and probably realistic given the small, homogeneous town setting. But some of the comments, especially by Penny herself (who, as a Canadian should have more experience with people of different backgrounds) was a bit disconcerting and off putting, and made me wonder about the writer herself. I'll give her anoth ...more
Penny Brannigan has inherited a small cottage in the northern part of Wales. She is making the place her own when she finds a packet of letters that reveals a mystery involving the woman who owned the cottage before her. A young artist was killed in a hit and run accident over thirty years ago and Penny feels that she must solve the mystery to put the memories that the cottage has to rest. It is an interesting read and I enjoyed it. Penny is a warm character and her relationship with the police ...more
I love this series and how Penny is sort of the Cold Case queen of the village.
This is the second bookk in the Penny Brannigan series.

Penny has moved into the house that her friend left her. In cleaning the years of accumulation that her friend had left and a many year old murder that was never solved. In learning more about the murdered woman and more about her friend, she comes to realize that sometimes you never know as much as you wish you knew about them to start with, Penny wants to solve this not just for her friend, but for the murdered woman's family. This has int
Makes me want to spend time in Wales.
Jeannie and Louis Rigod
I really enjoyed this well-crafted murder mystery. Penny Branningan is a likable sleuth in the old tradition. Her friends/relationships are at the pace you would find in a 'Christie' styled novel. Since it is set in Wales this isn't surprising.

The book dealt with murder/ social mores and human weaknesses. It was realistic. Also, the author is blending the 21st century into the somewhat time-capsuled 20th century of the village. That is very interesting and well done.

I hope this series lasts a lo
Continuing on the cozy mystery trip...Elizabeth Duncan returns to the North Wales town of Llanelen in this second book with manicurist/detective Penny Brannigan. This time, Penny investigates a thirty-year-old cold case involving art fraud and a hit-and-run. I truly did enjoy these books more for reading them in order and think I may go back and reread the third book and see if I like it better now. Currently though, so many books, so little time!
Penny, manicurist turned sleuth, is back in this easy reading cozy set in Wales. This time her sights are set on learning more about a mysterious death of a promising young artist--an unsolved hit and run case from 1970--and how it relates to her dear friend's past. The Liverpool/Beatles connection adds a fun dimension and the cast of characters is expanding. Very Agatha and well done.
I usually give four or five stars if the story interests me and I like the characters. The characters in this book were flat and uninteresting. I finished the book… The last 20 pages were better than the rest… I wouldn't recommend it to anyone and I don't think I'll try any of her others - way overpriced for a short ebook. The author can, however, write so I gave two stars.
❂ Jennifer (reviews on BookLikes)
This book was ok. I didn't much like the relationship between the protagonist and her "best friend", Victoria. I thought this relationship was too accelerated in the first book and in this one, I found it annoying, stilted, and a bit herky-jerky. I'm not against reading a third one, if released, but I'm not going to rush out to get it on publication.
Having inherited a cottage from Emma, her dear friend of many years, Penny sets about to solve the 30-year old mystery of a local hit-and-run that killed Emma's artist friend Alys Jones. The pacing is perfect and the plot suspenseful. It doesn't hurt that a romance is budding between Penny and Chief Inspector Davies.
Cheri Stringer
Second novel about manicurist/artist Penny Brannigan. Surprisingly astute amateur detective. I hope to find other titles by this author.
Another cozy mystery in Wales - this one more to do with British painters and the acceptance (or not) of lesbians over the past 60 years in small country towns in G.B.. The ending was foreordained, but I do like the main characters and reading about a culture totally different from mine.
2 stars are for the mystery which was nicely conceived and played out but the writing was 1 star: flat, at times unreadable, tedious characters and dull dialogue.

Might read the first book as that seems to have garnered more positive reviews but based on this hard to see the appeal.
A British mystery by a Canadian living in Toronto, brought from England (autographed!) by my sister in law. Entertaining enough, certainly, but does not have anywhere near the layers of complexity of, say, Elizabeth George, or PD James. I enjoyed it, but it will be gone tomorrow.
Any book with this much Welsh atmosphere plus a mystery to boot gets my vote. This is the second of three books set in a fictional north Wales town, featuring two likeable women of a certain age who open a spa and solve mysteries! I'll be watching for the next installment.
Penny has inherited a cottage from her friend Emma. During the clean out, she discovers a secret about Emma. She soon starts to investigate a decades old crime and tracks down a killer.

Lovely descriptions of the small town and I like Penny well enough.
Caroline Ingvaldsen
Second in a really appealing series about an amateur artist/profession manicurist and entrepeneur and passionate amateur sleuth set in lush rural Wales.
Continue to highly recommend to cozy readers who would enjoy a more likeable Agatha Raisin.
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After graduating from Carleton University, Ottawa, with a BA in English, Elizabeth J. Duncan worked as a writer and editor for some of Canada’s largest newspapers, including the Ottawa Citizen and Hamilton Spectator. She lived and worked in London, England for five years as a freelance writer and broadcaster.

Since 1995 she has worked in communications, and now teaches writing and communication pla
More about Elizabeth J. Duncan...
The Cold Light of Mourning (A Penny Brannigan Mystery #1) A Killer's Christmas in Wales (Penny Brannigan Mystery #3) A Small Hill to Die On (Penny Brannigan, #4) Never Laugh As a Hearse Goes By (Penny Branigan #5) Slated for Death: A Penny Brannigan Mystery (Penny Brannigan Mystery, #6)

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