With her third book in this acclaimed series, Rhys Bowen offers another page-turning tale of small-town mayhem and murder, in Evanly Choirs
When Constable Evan Evans is persuaded to join the local male choir for the upcoming eisteddfod (cultural festival), he doesn't think the addition of his mediocre voice will do them much good. In spite of all the effort that choirmaster Mostyn Phillips puts in to the choir, it is not exactly first class. Hope arrives in the form of world renowned tenor Ifor Llewelyn, come home to Llanfair to rest, on doctor's orders.
Llewelyn immediately sets about renewing old friendships, and Mostyn even persuades him to sing with the choir. But Ifor isn't in Llanfair long before the residents decide that his presence is a mixed blessing. Noisy fights between Ifor and his wife, a threatening stranger, and Ifor's own warped sense of humor make life in Llanfair increasingly tense. When he announces that he is planning to write his memoirs, telling all about his numerous relationships with famous and infamous women, he jokes that some people won't be happy. But is someone unhappy enough to commit murder to stop him? While tracking down a dangerous killer, Constable Evans also manages to navigate the treacherous waters of neighborhood rivalries, lusty barmaids, and local gossip.
Welsh Constable Evan Evans is conscripted to sing tenor in the town of Llanfair's male choir in the third book (after Evan Help Us) of Bowen's charming series. Soon after his first rehearsal, Evan and the other singers learn that world-famous operatic tenor Ifor Llewellyn will be returning home to Llanfair, renting out a clegyman's house. Before the great man's arrival, Evan overhears two strangers, male and female, fighting on the reverend's lawn. Later, when the young woman's car slides into a nearby lake, Evan saves her from drowning and gives her a lecture on attempted suicide. Before Evan can sort out these puzzling events, Ifor moves in. He delights the villagers by offering, as a favor to the choirmaster, with whom he roomed at college, to sing with the choir at the annual country-wide competition. But Ifor's vicious temperament and his volatile arguments with his wife leave the village perplexed. After Ifor misses an important rehearsal, Evan accompanies the choirmaster to visit the tempermental star--and finds his body in the drawing room. A bump on Ifor's head suggests an accidental fall, but an autopsy confirms Evan's suspicion that the man was murdered. Teaming up with his old friend Sergeant Watkins, the constable takes a close look at Ifor's private life, uncovering a neglected wife, a cast-aside lover, an angry son and a disdainful daughter. Between his singing debut and his bumpy romance with the town schoolteacher, Evan sorts through a humorous series of false confessions to catch the real killer. Picareque town characters compensate for the novel's lack of suspense and contrived plotting. Ultimately, it's Bowen's keen sense of small-town politics and gossip that will keep her fans turning pages.