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The Cold Light of Mourning (A Penny Brannigan Mystery #1)
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The Cold Light of Mourning (Penny Brannigan #1)

3.58  ·  Rating details ·  996 Ratings  ·  176 Reviews
The picturesque North Wales market town of Llanelen is shocked when Meg Wynne Thompson, a self-made beauty who has turned out to be something of an unpopular bride, goes missing on her wedding day—and turns up dead. 

The last person believed to have seen Meg alive is local manicurist Penny Brannigan, who vows to find the killer. Seems that several people—including those
Mass Market Paperback, 304 pages
Published June 29th 2010 by St. Martin's Griffin (first published April 28th 2009)
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Randee Baty
If you watch much tv, read many magazines or watch many movies you would think that the world consists of 23 year old beautiful people. I'm so glad that mystery writers have bucked that trend and actually give us people who have a little experience with life. In The Cold Light of Mourning we get a heroine who is middle-aged and doesn't mind being so. I personally am glad to see more mystery writers writing characters in this age group.

Penny, a Canadian ex-pat manicurist living in Wales, has just
Feb 02, 2012 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: mystery, fiction
Cozy mystery about a middle-aged lady running a nail salon in a little village in South Wales. Penny Brannigan is a Canadian transplant, living a comfortable (boring) life. Her dear friend Emma has just passed away and the village is also getting ready for a big wedding. The son of the largest landowner in the area is marrying a beauty he met while working in London. The bridal party have arranged to get their nails done at Penny's salon but things take a turn for the worse when the bride fails ...more
Jul 29, 2012 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
I really wanted to like this book. As the author is Canadian, and I saw her talk about the book at a lecture, I had hoped to find a new mystery series and more importantly a Canadian author who's books I liked. But it was just okay.

When the small Welsh town of Llanelen is shocked by the disappearance of the bride of a local boy on her wedding day, nobody knows what to think. The bride had made herself unpopular in the town, but nobody wished her ill . . . or did they?

The last person to have seen
Feb 26, 2013 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: cozy-mysteries, 2013
This book read easy enough, but by the end it was getting on my nerves. Mostly for a lot of small things, but sometimes those small things will kill the story for me.

First, even though this book took place in Wales, I didn't get the sense of place enough to feel I was there. For all intents and purposes, it could have taken place in Chicago for all the descriptive scenery I got. It was there, but not nearly enough or explicit enough.

Next, the nail shop owner, Penny, meets a harp player, has a l
May 21, 2015 rated it it was amazing
Couldn't help but love it!!! Even if the intrigue is not very original, and I guessed the murderer quite easily, there were all kinds of clever twists in it. But it was the characters and the village life that fascinated me, all reminding of one of my greteast detective heroines - Miss Marple of course!!Now I want to have a manicure in Wales!!!
Jun 11, 2017 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: crime-fiction
A promising premise had this book. 50-something Penny, Canadian, but 25 years an ex pat living in a quaint little village in Wales. Penny is an artist at heart but manicurist by trade. Her artist soul is possessed with an uncanny intuition and a superb attention to detail. She's quickly embroiled in a mystery by virtue of being the last person to have seen a missing bride on her wedding day. Unfortunately despite the initially interesting mystery and the appealing Wales setting, the book fell sh ...more
Cathy Cole
May 12, 2011 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
First Line: Emma Teasdale had been ill for some time and on a cool evening in early June, alone and peacefully, she died.

When visiting the market town of Llanelen in North Wales as a young student, Penny Brannigan was taken under schoolteacher Emma Teasdale's wing. They became fast friends, and Penny moved from Nova Scotia in Canada to Llanelen where she opened a small nail salon. As the years passed, the two women shared their lives with each other just as a mother and daughter might. Emma's de
Sep 18, 2010 added it
Shelves: fiction, mystery, 2010
I was on a mystery kick, reading a lot of Charlaine Harris' Aurora Teagarden series, so I thought I'd pick up a few authors who looked similar. i did finish this book, but won't be looking for more by the same author. The prose reminds me of a clumsy romance novel. The dialogue is stilted, and there are lots of details about about fancy houses, jewelry and such, presumably meant to be entertaining in taking you out of your day-to-day world. Here's an example:

'That'll be Welsh gold,' said the ma
Sep 07, 2013 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This easy-to-read, cozy mystery was a first from this author. It has the same wit and charm that you find in Agatha Christie mysteries with a late middle-aged manicurist who finds herself in the middle of the mystery of a vanishing bride who was last seen at her nail salon. With a touch of romance, lots of twists and turns, and enough clues to help you possibly determine the murderer, it definitely keeps your attention.
Mar 25, 2013 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I love a good cozy, so I was happy to discover an author and a series I hadn't yet read! Also lucky for me I was able to find the other books in the series just waiting for me on the shelf of my local library! Sorry to the other patrons who might want to check them out, I promise I will have them back soon!
Nov 07, 2015 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2015
Because of the setting and premise, I'd hoped for more. This moved very slooowly....the mystery itself was ok, and the main characters were sweet, but stodgy and lead footed. And that was the good guys. The villains were exaggerated caricatures rather than realistic people. If you like cozies, you'll probably like this better than I did. Admittedly, I'm just not a fan.
Mystereity Reviews
Very cute and enjoyable read. Started out with too much detail before sliding into not enough detail. I also figured out who the murderer was before the murder happened, but that didn't diminish my enjoyment of the book. Overall, a quick and light cozy, and I look forward to the other books in the series.
Carey Tynan
A classic cosy mystery. Small village, large manor house, a nosy parker, and a spinster or two.
Sep 18, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
A nice little debut novel that was very pleasant to read. I have a feeling this is the first in a series. Not too intellectually demanding, but some nice characters and an interesting setting.
Nancy H
Sep 24, 2011 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This is an excellent cozy mystery set in Wales, a setting that seems like it should be idyllic, except for the murder of the bride the night before her wedding. Or was it the bride? A very good read!
Mar 16, 2017 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Our local bookclub read the Agatha Christie novel MURDER ON THE ORIENT EXPRESS in January as a salute to the 100th anniversary to Christie's first publication. While we had a great discussion including comparisons to the various movie interpretations of the novel, most of us came to the conclusion that we are drawn to the more complex character development in more modern mysteries. We also wonder just what the upcoming release of a brand new MURDER ON THE ORIENT EXPRESS, starring Johnny Depp, wi ...more
Janet McCord
May 17, 2017 rated it liked it
I really wanted to like this one. It had all the bells and whistles: cozy, picturesque village in Wales, likeable heroine, a very interesting murder that was difficult to solve and the author obviously knows about Britain and British customs. Still, there were a lot of things that bothered me. The characterization was not very well done. The main character gained a best friend and a cop boyfriend without any effort and both were besties and in love in no time at all--mostly after no more than 2 ...more
May 12, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Elizabeth Duncan, one of my favorite cozy writers introduces the reader to the main character and the regulars of the series in this book. The focusing on the inner world of the characters, and doing an amazing job of describing the frailties of human nature, the author reminds me of one of my favorite writers M. C. Beaton. Initially the story telling is well-paced but slow, and the content of the book is wonderful. The murder mystery is not necessarily interesting or intriguing, but it is used ...more
Becky Tatar
Jul 29, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Canadian ex-pat Penny Brannigan has lived in the Welsh town of Llanelan for years, running a manicure salon. Suddenly, grief is all around, as her long time friend, Emma, passes away, and a bride seems to have disappeared. Before she went missing, the bride had been to Penny's for her wedding manicure. This is the first of the Penny books, and the mystery had a lot of twists. One, I figured partially out, but as usual, not the why or how. Great new series for me.
Jun 22, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I loved the characters and the writing! Also the descriptions of the landscape and the overall relaxing atmosphere surrounding the whole town were pure magic. I enjoyed how the author introduced each character and slowly developed the plot. The only minus is that I easily predicted the culprit but there were a few twists I didn't expect and liked.
I'll definitely continue the series since the author's writing style suits my taste.
Sep 09, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
A slow, gentle read . . .

With wonderful plot twists! It is well written but somewhat on the slow side. My thoughts for the first several chapters were that I would finish the book but not go into the rest of the series. However, that thought began to change as I got further into the book. Now having finished the book, I will be checking out the next book in the series. :-)
Aug 12, 2017 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Interesting setting and a sleuth I liked but felt distanced from. I had a bit of trouble maintaining my interest in the book and I'm not sure if it was the writing or me as I've been a somewhat distracted reader lately. The pacing is slow and considered with a lot of the daily-living sorts of details included.

I will probably try the second in the series in the future.
Jul 23, 2017 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Was in the mood for a cozy mystery and found this wondering around the library. Easy read with an interesting murder but flat characters. Will not go looking for the next book in the series. The setting was beautifully brought to life by the author.
Sep 10, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: cozy-mysteries
Although I am not a gossipy drama type of reader I quite enjoyed all the extra drama from the Londoners leading up to the wedding. Having guessed the killer about 3/4 of the way through I really did not know the motive. This cozy had my attention right to the end!
Jun 02, 2017 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Easy, sweet, delightful fluff, "don't have to think" mystery set in a small village in Wales. There are 8 book so far in this series and if they continue to be as good as #1...I will read them all. Sounds like a grand place to live...murder aside!
P.L. Winn
This wasn't a badly-written book. In fact, it probably deserves better than three stars. It's a "cozy mystery," and I found it too "cozy" for my taste. If you're into really-cozy mysteries, this might be for you.
Mary K.
I am enjoying this new series. I did not read them in order and I do not suggest that. Background on the characters and setting adds to the story lines and it builds. So begin with Penny Brannigan #1
Selah (abibliophilesstyle)
Absolutely delightful Cozy! Penny is a supremely likable, if somewhat reckless, heroine. The small Welsh village is a perfect setting, and the locals are colorful without being ridiculous. I'm so thrilled to have found a new (to me) Cozy author to love!
Aug 29, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Cute, easy read
Cheryl Sinclair
Jun 29, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
A good mystery, really liked it and will get the next one.
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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.

The author of two traditional mystery series, Penny Brannigan set in North Wales and Shakespeare in the Catskills featuring costume designer Charlotte Fairfax,
Elizabeth divides her ti
More about Elizabeth J. Duncan...

Other Books in the Series

Penny Brannigan (8 books)
  • A Brush with Death (A Penny Brannigan Mystery #2)
  • 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 (Penny Brannigan Mystery, #6)
  • Murder on the Hour (Penny Brannigan, #7)
  • Murder Is for Keeps (Penny Brannigan, #8)

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