Saturday, April 21, 2018

Review + GIVEAWAY: The Marmalade Murders by Elizabeth J. Duncan

The Marmalade Murders
By Elizabeth J. Duncan
A Penny Brannigan Mystery #9
Minotaur Books, 2018


The latest book in an award-winning mystery series, celebrated for its small-town charm and picturesque Welsh setting and starring amateur sleuth Penny Brannigan.

The competition is friendly and just a little fierce at the annual Llanelen agricultural show as town and country folk gather for the outdoor judging of farm animals and indoor judging of cakes, pies, pastries, chutneys, jams and jellies, along with vegetables, fruit and flowers. But this year, there’s a new show category: murder.

Local artist, Spa owner, and amateur sleuth Penny Brannigan agrees to help with the intake of the domestic arts entries and to judge the children’s pet competition on show day. When the president of the Welsh Women’s Guild isn’t on hand to see her granddaughter and pet pug win a prize, the family becomes concerned. When a carrot cake entered in the competition goes missing, something is clearly amiss.

A black Labrador Retriever belonging to the agricultural show’s president discovers the body of the missing woman under the baked goods table. A newcomer to town, a transgender woman, is suspected, but amateur sleuth Penny Brannigan believes her to be innocent. She sets out to find the real killer, but when a second body is discovered days later, the case is thrown into confusion, and Penny knows it’s up to her to figure out what happened—and why.

My thoughts

The Marmalade Murders by Elizabeth J. Duncan is a well-written, utterly satisfying cozy mystery, book #9 in one of my favorite series. The author has a gift for conveying the beautiful Welsh scenery and making you feel the setting with your senses. The main characters could be someone you’d meet in your neighborhood, and the mystery is well crafted as backstories are slowly revealed. Although part of a series, this story stands alone.

As a lead character, Penny Brannigan is someone I’m very comfortable with. Penny, co-owner of a Spa in Llanelen, Wales, is an expatriate Canadian who feels she still needs to prove she belongs to the community after 30 years of residence. I particularly enjoyed the relationship between Penny and Florence, who has a similar need. The framework of Llanelen’s agricultural show provides some great scenes, such as Penny’s judging of the children’s animal contest. Some fascinating historical detail is revealed on a coach trip to Speke Hall in England.

The Marmalade Murders has all the elements I enjoy in a cozy mystery. The mystery itself is easy to follow as layers of information are peeled back. Penny’s friendship with a police detective provides a vehicle for the sharing of information, which seems logical for this small rural community. I had no idea as to the killer’s identity and enjoyed the way everything unfolded.

British mysteries are a favorite of mine, both to read and watch on TV. There’s a wonderful website called Stop You're Killing Me, which is how I discovered this series several years ago. It’s a mystery database where you can search in many ways – such as location, job, award nominees/winners – and I’ve found some real gems in the British section.

The Marmalade Murders is a great addition to the award-winning Penny Brannigan series and I hope there will be many more stories. Highly recommended to cozy mystery fans.

I received a copy of this book through Great Escapes Tours. The opinions expressed in this review are entirely my own.


Elizabeth J Duncan is the author of two mystery series – Shakespeare in the Catskills and the Penny Brannigan mystery series set in North Wales. She is a two-time winner of the Bloody Words Award for Canada’s best light mystery and lives in Toronto.



One winner will receive a print copy of The Marmalade Murders!

To enter the drawing, please click on this link and share my Facebook post, then leave a comment here letting me know that you shared. And I’d love to know if you have a favorite cozy mystery series. Thank you!

BE SURE to leave your name and your email address in a safe format - [at] and [dot] - for the drawing. E-mail required for entry. Contest ends at midnight PST on Thursday, May 3. Winner will be chosen by and contacted by e-mail.

Eligibility: US residents


  1. This sounds like a fun cozy, thank you for the chance to win a copy.

    wfnren at aol dot com

    1. It's very enjoyable, Wendy. Be sure to let me know if you shared on Facebook. Thank you!

    2. Thanks for helping by sharing, Pam.

  2. Was more than happy to share the post. :)

    I read the Local Foods Mystery series by Edith Maxwell and LOVED it. I'm not reading "Color Me Murder" by Krista Davis and I'm thoroughly enjoying it. I really can't think of a cozy mystery that I haven't really enjoyed reading.

    Thank you for the review and information on "The Marmalade Murders" By Elizabeth J. Duncanchance as well as being part of the book tour. I appreciate the opportunity to win a copy of this book which is on my TBR list.
    2clowns at arkansas dot net

    1. Kay, I recently read a book by Krista Davis and loved it - a Christmas one, I think. Anyway, I hope to get into more of hers. And I've read something by Edith Maxwell, but don't think it was the series you mentioned. Will definitely look that one up.

      Thanks for helping by sharing, Kay. Best wishes in the drawing!

  3. Liked and shared on Facebook. Sounds like a great read, I'm looking forward to reading the book.

    1. Thanks for sharing, Dianne. I love this whole series.

  4. I shared. I would enjoy reading this.

    1. I believe you would really enjoy this book, Lucy. Thanks so much for sharing.

  5. I shared on my FB blog page, Koops Konclusions

    Thanks for the chance.

    steph.n.steve00 gmail <.com>

  6. Liked and shared on FB. I have sooo many favorite cozy series--too many to mention. This book looks really good too! legallyblonde1961 at yahoo dot com

  7. shared on Facebook. I love so many cozy mystery series. I just cant pick one.

  8. Shared, and don't have a favorite yet! prizewinner(at)hotmail(d0t)com