Fans of Elizabeth Duncan will be happy to know that Penny Brannigan is back and when she is trouble usually follows. The Marmalade Murders is the 9th book in the franchise (and my first time reading one) and is a delightful, fun mystery. It’s available in stores on Tuesday, April 24th from Minotaur Books.
The story is set in Llanelen (somewhere near Wales I believe). Penny Brannigan is the owner of a spa in town with her friend Victoria. Since it’s a small town a lot of the women come here for services and everyone seems to know almost everyone. It’s also that time of the year again for the annual agricultural show. Penny and Victoria are asked to volunteer to help check in people for the cakes, marmalade and jam competitions (something they would rather not do). In addition Penny is judge the children’s pet competition.
When the judging is done for the cooking parts one of the ladies who enters notices two of entries are not on the tables. Penny says she will ask about it later. She judges the children’s pets and when on the little girls wins she is upset because her grandmother is not there and should be. Later on her body is found under the table where the desert competition was held along with the missing cake. The police are called and since Penny is there she starts her own investigation.
She figures out it has to do with the local Women’s Institute and soon she and Victoria go to the next meeting and start their undercover investigation. When another woman associated with the group and agricultural show is murdered they ramp up their investigation to find out who is the killer (all the while working with the police at the same time).
Penny and the women of Llanelan are a hoot. It has that fun small time feel to it. It’s a nice, easy read that isn’t gory or hard to follow like some murder mysteries can be. I can’t wait for the next one. Call me a fan now of the series!