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Ratings and Book Reviews (3 10 star ratings
3 reviews

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    A jamming good read!

    When the annual agricultural fair rolls around the locals put on their competitive hats and go for the win! From the kitchen to farm, the locals vie to win their chosen areas. When Penny Brannigan, local spa owner and transplant from Canada, is asked to help out, she willingly agrees to pitch in and be part of the community. When one of the competitor’s marmalade and cake goes missing and another is found murdered, Penny is in the thick of it. Are the two events connected or just a coincidence? This was my first exposure to this author and the series and there were o gaps, making this a great stand alone! The story is so well written I could close my eyes and see the locals and farm animals, and hear the local Welsh accent. An enjoyable read with a surprise ending!
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    9th book in A Penny Brannigan Mystery series

    The Marmalade Murders by Elizabeth J. Duncan is the ninth book in A Penny Brannigan Mystery series. Mrs. Lloyd has wrangled Penny Brannigan into assisting with the annual Llanelen agriculture show. Penny and Victoria Hopkirk co-own Llanelen Spa in Llanelen, North Wales. They are accepting the domestic arts entries and get their instructions from Joyce Devlin, president of the show committee. A half an hour before the deadline, they notice that Florence Semble has yet to drop off her entries and give her a call. It seems that someone had telephoned and told her she could drop off her entries the next morning (odd). Penny is judging the children’s pet competition the next day when a little girl gets upset because her grandmother, Gaynor Lewis failed to show up. Gaynor is not the only thing missing at the agriculture show. Florence’s carrot cake and her marmalade entries have disappeared as well. Joyce’s dog soon finds Florence’s cake under a table in the judging tent along with Gaynor Lewis. Was someone trying to eliminate the competition? Penny looks into the victim’s life to see who could have wished her harm and soon discovers that these competitions are taken seriously by the competitors. One women has something to important to tell Penny, but she ends up dead before she can speak with her. Penny needs to work quickly to expose the killer or she could be next. The Marmalade Murders can be read alone. The information a reader needs is included in the book. I thought The Marmalade Murders was well-written and had a nice pace which made the story easy to read and enjoy. The characters are established and relatable (especially to those who live in small towns). Mrs. Lloyd and Florence are delightful. They provide levity to the story. I especially appreciate that the main character is in her 50s. It is a refreshing change from other cozy mysteries where the characters are in their late 20s and early 30s. Penny is smart, friendly, caring and level-headed. The village of Llanelen is charming and the author’s descriptions of the Welsh countryside brought it alive for me. Llanelen is a small village where the people grew up together, everyone knows each other’s business, and the rumor mill is alive and well. I think it is funny that after living in Llanelen for thirty years, Penny is still considered an outsider. The mystery has several suspects who each have a good motive for doing in the victim. I liked the misdirection that could easily lead readers down the wrong path. The investigation consists of Penny asking questions of the various townspeople. I felt that the story could have used some action. Inspector Bethan Morgan is a friendly detective who values Penny’s input into the case. She realizes that Penny has access to information that she does not. I did enjoy the historical information on Speke Hall (there really is a Speke Hall outside Liverpool). The Speke Hall in the book has a priest hole and an eavesdropper (just like the real Speke Hall). The Marmalade Murders has a sweet, heartwarming moment at the end. I am giving The Marmalade Murders 4 out of 5 stars (I liked it). It was lovely to visit Llanelen again and spend time with Penny, Mrs. Lloyd and the other villagers. I look forward to returning to Wales in the next A Penny Brannigan Mystery.
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    Fun Read

    There were things about this book that I really like. There were things that I had to say 'Hmm'. I loved and enjoyed the location. I loved the down home feel of the agriculture show. Brought back memories for this Texan. Give me a story with a horse or animal and I am usually drawn in. I loved the plot surrounding the show. Our main character and her friends are left with no shortage of suspects as they try to figure out who was behind the chaos and villainy. The story/plot is solid. The characters all of them are well developed. Elizabeth Duncan does a great job of setting a scene and giving this Texas girl a view of the English country side and it's values, traditions and culture. Although The Marmalade Murders is #9 in the series the characters are introduced with enough back story so I was not left 'in the dark' or confused. If you enjoy cozy mysteries this is one to check out. Read the complete synopsis and read more reviews at the Great Escapes tour or on the retail sites. I received a complimentary copy.

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