With A Killer's Christmas in Wales, Elizabeth J. Duncan delivers a delightful holiday-themed mystery.
As the townsfolk of the Welsh valley town of Llanelen settle in for the snowiest winter in twenty-five years, an American stranger arrives. Harry Saunders charms the ladies, one of them in particular: Evelyn Lloyd, the town's former postmistress, who was left comfortably off after the death of her husband. After Mrs. Lloyd invests a good deal of money with him, Harry goes missing, as does her money. His body is soon discovered outside the walls of Conwy Castle, and Mrs. Lloyd is implicated in the murder.
Although Penny Brannigan and her business partner, Victoria Hopkirk, are busy overseeing the grand opening of their new spa, that doesn't stop Mrs. Lloyd from desperately seeking Penny's help to prove her innocence. It's quite possible that Harry made other enemies while in Llanelen and Penny's investigation unfolds while she juggles her work at the spa, her growing relationship with Detective Inspector Davies, and the Christmas window competition that she signed up to judge.
Duncan's leisurely third Penny Brannigan mystery (after 2010's A Brush with Death) finds the Welsh town of Llanelen dealing with heavy snow and ice as the townspeople prepare for Christmas. Penny and her business partner, Victoria Hopkirk, are absorbed with the grand opening of their new spa. Meanwhile, an American stranger, Harry Saunders, arrives in town and sweeps widow Evelyn Lloyd off her feet. A former dance instructor, Saunders is soon teaching ballroom dancing at the community center. Some suspect Saunders is taking advantage of Evelyn, so it's no surprise when he goes missing with a healthy chunk of Evelyn's money and is eventually found dead outside Conwy Castle. Since the entire Stretch and Sketch Club was there at the time, along with several other residents of Llanelen, there's no dearth of suspects. Cozy fans for whom the crime solving is incidental will have fun.