Never Laugh As A Hearse Goes By

Cover art for Never Laugh as a Hearse Goes By in the Penny Brannigan Series by Elizabeth J Duncan

Nominated 2014 – Bony Blithe award

The fifth in this enchanting Welsh series which has been likened to the work of Dorothy Cannell and M. C. Beaton

Spa owner and habitual amateur sleuth Penny Brannigan finds herself at a clerical conference at Gladstone’s Library in North Wales. Also attending as a guest speaker is her boyfriend, DCI Gareth Davies, there to give a talk on theft prevention. But behind the ornate red sandstone façade of this most respectable of Victorian buildings, Penny encounters deception, marital and financial infidelity, a sham marriage scam, blackmail for beginners, and someone bent on murder.

When the bishop’s secretary dies of a suspicious case of food poisoning, Davies leads the investigation. At Penny’s suggestion, Florence Semble, a friend from Penny’s adopted hometown, is invited to the Library to decode the secretary’s shorthand notebook in the search for clues. As the conference continues, another body is found in the beautiful library itself, and Penny must once again search for a killer.

Never Laugh As a Hearse Goes By is a fine entry in a series celebrated for its small town charm, Welsh flavor, and loveable characters.

Reviews and Praise for Never Laugh as a Hearse Goes By

“She evokes the Welsh landscape and character with as much affection as any writer this side of Dylan Thomas.” — Jack Batten, Toronto Star.

“The plot is intricate, but motives are understandable, and events unfold in a believable fashion. Best of all is the portrayal of the characters who people the novel.” — John A. Broussard, I Love a Mystery.

“Clever and chilling, Never Laugh as a Hearse Goes By includes a storied plot device — a body in the library — as well as well-fashioned characters and interesting settings. Duncan … spends several weeks each year in Wales and those trips pay off handsomely in her latest novel.” — Jay Strafford, Richmond Times-Dispatch.

“In the time-honored tradition of village cozies, Duncan provides structure, subtle clues, rampant gossip and a satisfying conclusion.” — Library Journal (starred review.)