Remembering the Dead

Pub Date:   |   Archive Date: 27 Aug 2019

Member Reviews

For anyone who enjoys British mysteries, the Penny Brannigan series by Elizabeth J. Duncan is a winner. And a Welsh setting is simply the icing on the cake! I discovered this series many years ago when searching for murder mysteries set in the UK and have greatly enjoyed each story. Remembering the Dead easily stands alone, but reading through the series gives a familiarity with the characters and setting.

Remembering the Dead is one of my favorites from the series, probably because of its historical detail and theme of honoring those who served and died in the first World War. I learned that Wales is a country that honors poets, the historical chair symbolizing that “the poet has a place at the table of princes.” The Black Chair itself was a national treasure, considered to be the masterpiece of a Belgian refugee. That it was bestowed upon a national poet was something that every person in the country would have known about – not exactly easy for a thief to hide.

Remembering the Dead has all the elements of a cozy mystery – murder committed off stage, amateur detective, idyllic setting – but is more serious and complex than what is typical for this genre. That’s a compliment, something that I loved about this story. The author vividly conveys the North Wales setting of Llanelen, with its natural beauty and interesting residents. When asked to organize a dinner party at Emyr’s estate, Ty Brith Hall, to celebrate Remembrance Day and mark the end of World War I, Penny Brannigan involves a few friends and business connections to help. The Black Chair, with its connection to the war, will also be there for one night, for the chair “represents all the empty chairs in front of the hearth that the lads and men of World War I never came home to.”

The mystery is well crafted, with beautiful prose, and one clue seemingly leading to another. I loved that there was a self-contained group of suspects, for the thief/murderer almost had to be a guest, staff, or someone with intimate knowledge of Emyr’s estate. Penny Brannigan makes a great protagonist with her skill, logic, intelligence and insight. She is methodic in her investigation and doesn’t rush headlong into danger. I loved reconnecting with some of the recurring characters who play important parts, such as the gossipy Mrs. Lloyd, ex-thief Jimmy, and eccentric herbalist Dilys. Remembering the Dead is an excellent mystery, one that I never wanted to put down.

Highly recommended.

I received a copy of this book through Great Escapes Tours. The opinions expressed in this review are entirely my own.
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Reading Remembering the Dead, I felt as if I were on a mini-vacation to the Welsh countryside manor and sitting in on the private dinner party arranged for a select few to view a national treasure. Duncan incorporates history, mystery, and everyday personable characters into a whodunit that needs to be solved before it affects an upcoming royal family event. 

This is the tenth in Elizabeth Duncan's Penny Brannigan series and she did an excellent job setting the book up as a standalone novel. The character development was spot on with vague references that leave a reader feeling left out of some of the characters' background and previous storylines. The author writes in a way that left me feeling like an actual observer following along.

Overall, I am happy to have learned of this author and look forward to catching up on the series. My rating is 4 Stars: I really liked it!  For reference my version of a 5 star review is “I absolutely loved it! It will stay with me for a long time and/or I would read it again in the future. Highly recommended.”

As a reviewer for NetGalley, I received a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.

#RememberingTheDead #NetGalley
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Elizabeth Duncan immerses Penny Brannigan in murder and theft of a British heirloom chair in Remembering the Dead.  Penny is helping out with a Great War memorial dinner when a waiter turns up dead; he is the nephew of one of Penny's villagers.  Penny has to put her spa on hold while she tracks the killer and the art theft.  Two of her former boyfriends turn up.  Is there an art angle?  Is the chair a commissioned theft?  Classic cozy with a reasonable path to detecting the murderer..
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This was a fun and engaging cosy mystery. It has a few red herrings thrown into the mix, although I had a guess on one suspect early on. I also really liked Riley, Dily and Jimmy as characters and an added bonus was that this book (and series) is setted in North Wales.
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Remembering the Dead
(Penny Brannigan #10)
by Elizabeth J. Duncan

Kindle Edition
Published September 10th 2019 by Crooked Lane Books

Goodreads synopsis:
In award-winning author Elizabeth J. Duncan's tenth Penny Brannigan mystery, Welsh amateur sleuth Penny Brannigan attends a dinner party at a posh country house--where a historic chair disappears and a waiter is murdered.

Artist and spa owner Penny Brannigan is dressed to the nines for a formal dinner at a charming country house. After dinner, the guests adjourn to the library for a private exhibition of the Black Chair, a precious piece of Welsh literary history awarded in 1917 to poet Hedd Wyn. But to the guests' shock, the newly restored bardic chair is missing. And then Penny discovers the rain-soaked body of a waiter.

When Penny learns that the victim was the nephew of one of her employees, she is determined to find the killer. Meanwhile, the local police search for the Black Chair. The Prince of Wales is traveling north to see the chair, so time is not on their side. A visit to a nursing home to consult an ex-thief convinces Penny that the Black Chair is connected to the waiter's murder. She rushes to Dublin to confront a disagreeable antiquarian, a gaggle of unsavory travelers, and an eccentric herbalist who seems to have something to hide. Can Penny find the chair and the culprit before she is laid to rest in the green grass of Wales?


4.5 Stars

This is the tenth book in the Penny Brannigan series by Elizabeth J. Duncan.

I am in awe of this author. A new favorite for me.

Sometimes when you read series with a lot of installments(books), you discover that the current books aren’t always as surprising or interesting as the previous books. I didn’t find that to be the case here. It felt like this was maybe book four or five in the series instead of ten. I thought that was pretty cool! Kudos to you for making it look so easy, Ms. Duncan.

Basic premise: Penny is roped into helping to plan an unexpected dinner party. An artifact (a chair) from near the turn of the century is coming to town and a local man has asked that the people in charge of it let the chair come to his home for a brief viewing. It will then be shown during an elaborate dinner party at this man’s house. The chair is then stolen and a waiter found dead before the night was complete. Now Penny is in investigation mode trying to uncover the killer. 

I really enjoyed some of the people she met along the way like a young girl who had a passion for drawing plants, a thief who resided in a nursing home and a woman who was a bit of a wanderer.  I also liked that there was a Detective Investigator in this book. I am not sure why they are so much more appealing to me than normal Detectives here in the states. I guess I must be weird that way. There was an odd entrance of the previous Detective Inspector that I thought was odd. I have not read other books in this series so I assume he was an important part of the series when it first started. Maybe the author was just trying to keep his memory alive in us in case he showed up in a future book in an important role.

I thought the mystery was excellent. It was a very circular plot and the story sort of wrapped around itself. I thought that was pretty neat. The lady Detective Inspector was wonderful and very patient which you don’t see a lot in cozy mysteries. Usually the police are merely annoyed by the amateur sleuth that they dare try and solve the mystery before they do.

I will definitely be reading more from this author. I find her work a bit unassuming and wish she had more of a cover the popped in order to draw other readers to her work. Wonderful stuff. Highly recommended.

I received this as an ARC (Advanced Reader Copy) in return for an honest review. I thank NetGalley, the publisher and the author for allowing me to read this title.
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Remembering the Dead by Elizabeth J. Duncan is the tenth A Penny Brannigan Mystery.  Emyr Gruffydd is going to host a dinner in honor of the hundredth anniversary of Armistice Day and he has asked Penny Brannigan to help organize the event.  There will be a display of World War I artifacts plus the newly restored Black Chair that was awarded posthumously to Welsh poet Hedd Wyn in 1917.  When they remove the black drape from the bardic chair, they find it is gone.  Penny is looking for Lane Hardwick who disappeared during the dinner service and discovers one of the waiter’s dead outside.  The waiter is Rhodri Phillips, the nephew of her spa receptionist, Rhian who asks Penny to investigate.  Remembering the Dead can be read as a standalone for those who are new to the series, but I would recommend reading The Cold Light of Mourning first which will introduce you to the series.   I thought the book was well-written with developed characters.  Mrs. Lloyd, Jimmy and Dilys are back.  Mrs. Lloyd is the town busy body.  She likes to attend the big events and know the latest gossip.  Jimmy provides insight on the theft of the chair (being a former thief himself).  Dilys is an unconventional woman who roams the area and drinks an herbal tea that is unappealing. We meet Riley who is staying in the traveller’s encampment near Penny’s house and a talented artist.  It was interesting to learn about the Black Chair and the poet, Hedd Wyn.  It would have been helpful if there had been a pronunciation guide for the Welsh names.  Elizabeth J. Duncan is a descriptive writer which allows the reader to imagine the characters and the scenes, but it does slow down the pacing.  The mystery is multifaceted with a twist or two.  I like how it all tied together in the end, but I did feel it could have used a little tweaking.  There were some tense moments that will have you quickly flipping the pages.   Solving the mystery, though, is not a challenge.  There are lovely cozy moments and the tea was hot and abundant.  Reading Remembering the Dead is a pleasing way to spend a quiet afternoon.  Remembering the Dead is a diverting cozy mystery with a delicious dinner, a misplaced bardic chair, encamped traveller’s, a wandering waiter, a lost coffee aficionado, and one kindhearted sleuth.
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If you are new to this series, please don't be put off by the fact that this is the 10th in the series. It stands on its own very well and, if you like it as much as I did, you have nine books to enjoy. Penny Brannigan is a wonderful character and the setting is perfect. Penny even takes a trip to Ireland in this one in her search for clues to catch a killer.
Somebody has stolen a chair and, in the process, committed a murder. Who would kill over a chair? Well, this is a historical chair, known as the Black Chair and it was awarded back in 1917 to poet Hedd Wyn. It's Welsh literary history and its refurbishment was the reason for the gathering for a formal dinner at a local country house. Penny is in attendance and gets more than what was on the dinner menu. Instead of after dinner drinks and more conversation with fellow guests, they find that the famous chair has gone missing, replaced by a plain old chair. Penny goes outside to look for evidence of the thief only to discover homicide. As this isn't her first dead body, she goes into investigation mode and follows the clues. She realizes that the victim and the chair are connected and she travels to Ireland, trying to beat the clock in finding the killer and retuning the chair. The Prince of Wales is on his way to view the chair. Will it make its return in time?
This series is one that keeps its place on my must read list. When I start the latest one I'm certain to find a five star mystery to engage me. I haven't been disappointed yet.
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Remembering The Dead is the tenth book in the Penny Brannigan series.

Penny is asked by the owner of a manor house nearby to plan a party for him.  The party is to celebrate “The Black Chair” which was given to Hedd Wyn posthumously, having been killed in WWI, the chair has been refurbished and will be heading to Wyn’s home which has been restored and will serve as a memorial.  Dinner is finished and everyone is heading for the grand unveiling, but as they enter the room it is found that chair is no longer there.  This is particularly saddening as the chair not only being valuable, but the Prince of Wales will be coming to Wyn house opening.  Penny immediately goes outdoors to see if there are any clues as to might have made off with the chair, but what she finds instead is a dead body.  The body is later identified as the nephew of one of her employees, Rhians.  Penny decides to look into who might have been responsible for both the theft of the chair and the killing of one of the servants.  In doing so needs to find out what her teenager friend, Jimmy, is unwilling to share with her and she runs across a former beau during her investigation.

Once again Elizabeth J. Duncan provides us with an interesting at Wales in a well-written and plotted story with well developed and interesting characters.  The book kept me guessing until the end.

I’m looking forward to the next book in the Penny Brannigan series.
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While this is the tenth in the Penny Brannigan mystery series, it is the first book that I have rad by Elizabeth J. Duncan. I so enjoyed it, I immediately purchased the first in the series and will read my way through them in order. This book can easily be read stand-alone and doesn’t seem to contain too much by way of spoilers for previous books.

In this story, Penny is confronted with a theft, a missing person and a murder. It seems as though all must be related and Penny goes to work solving all three.

Penny is a co-owner of a spa and, luckily for her, she can take off and go sleuthing. In this case, it kind squeezes the employees of the spa into doing more work than usual; however, they are all dedicated to having the crime solved.

The action takes place both in Wales and in Ireland and Penny heads across on the ferry to track down clues.

I didn’t see the entire end of the whodunnit but had a pretty good idea of part of the solution. I really enjoyed being surprised by the end and look forward to the next installment in the series.

I was provided a digital advance reader copy of this book by the publisher via Netgalley.
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It's the first book I read in this series and won't surely be the last.
I appreciated the well written cast of character, the pace, and the setting.
I loved the description of the setting that made me wish to be back in Wales, a place I love.
The mystery is good and it kept me guessing.
I look forward to reading other books in this series.
Many thanks to the publisher and Netgalley for this ARC, all opinions are mine.
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The Black Chair is missing!  And a waiter is dead at the event Penny organized in honor of the 100th anniversary of Armistice Day.  Set in Wales and moving to Ireland briefly, it's a mystery with your classic intrepid heroine.  Penny is a spa owner and she also is an ace (apparently) at solving crime especially murder.  There's more to all of this than meets the eye.  It's intimidating to start a series at the 10th (!) installment but Duncan does a good job of providing back story for the characters. I'm a suck for all things set in Wales (even if pronouncing is a challenge).  Thanks to Netgalley for the ARC.  This is a treat and now I'm going to look for more from Brannigan.
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I enjoy mysteries that educate me or teach me something or make me curious enough to look into a topic further. This book definitely did that, being based upon an actual award in literature.
I also enjoy mysteries that have elements of closed house parties, with deductive reasoning and which feature descriptions of the house's footprint as clues to the crime. 
This book can be read as a stand alone, but Penny's character is well developed over the course of this series. Although she is Canadian by birth, which proves to be an obstacle in this investigation, she understands both the British and Welsh aspects of the history involved.

If you enjoy British television mysteries (or Canadian) you might find additional things to appreciate about these books.  Penny has personal reasons to look at the crimes committed in a different way than the official police investigation.
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There is a little story in this book, but it's wrapped in a huge amount of dialogue that gets really boring. The language and characters are good, but the book is still boring.
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Another strong entry in her Penny Brannigan series, Elizabeth Duncan's Remembering the Dead finds the artist and spa owner embroiled in a murder and theft when she's asked to help her friend arrange a dinner party at his stately home.

The chair awarded to a famous WWI poet posthumously is being displayed at this house, on its way to its permanent home after repairs. The dinner party goes off without a hitch, to Penny's relief, but when the assemblage troop to see the chair, it's been replaced with a plain library chair and stolen. Then Penny has the misfortune to stumble over the dying body of a young man working as a waiter that night. 

How the two incidents are connected, and how Penny uses her investigative skills to get to the bottom of things, are pure Brannigan. Drawing on her visits to North Wales, Duncan brings the setting alive within the mix of a twisted plot that features several of the recurring characters. A charming cozy and a great read.
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When I requested this book, I didn’t even know this was the 10th book in the series, I thought this was a stand-alone, so I must admit I had a bit of reservation when it slowly dawned on me which was not the case, this was a part of a series. 

That being said, the author did a great job of introducing snippets of the previous stories and backgrounds, while I must say I would have better appreciated the book had I been following the series, I didn’t feel I missed out much. You’ll be perfectly fine with diving right into the series just like I did. 

The story is well-crafted and executed, kept my interest till the very last page. The historical background of “The Black Chair” which is the focal point of this caper felt genuine and imbued with solemn significance, and I loved how it has been near and dear to the English people in this story. 
The preparations for the dinner party which is organized to present the Black Chair shares some fun insight into the story, I absolutely felt end enjoyed the growing expectations and excitement!

Then, a murder and a theft happen on the same night and Penny, the protagonist in this book sets out on her own investigation. Penny is really a smart woman, sharp as a tack. and she is quick to connect the dots and paint the whole picture. So many clues, allusions, and red herrings abound and that Penny doesn’t reveal all of what she speculates, I did feel like I was groping in a thick fog, not knowing how one thing can lead to another, but I was kept intrigued the entire time and was glad when I saw the light at the end of a tunnel in the end. 

As I mentioned, this book presents so many hints and allusions along the way. You might feel lost (just like I did) not knowing how to piece together all the bits of a puzzle. But whenever it feels like we hit the dead end, a new piece of evidence or information gets unearthed which moves the investigation once again. 
I also liked what seems like an inconsequential and irrelevant side story actually plays a vital role to solve the case. The mystery is delightfully complex and well crafted, I thoroughly enjoyed following Penny cracks the case!

I didn’t get to connect with the characters as much as I probably should have because I haven’t read the previous books, but my favorite goes to Mrs, Lloyd. She’s your typical nosy, yet a good-natured chatterbox. I found she’s is adorable and I very much want to get to know her more!

All in all, Remembering the Dead is a well written cozy-mystery and I had a great fun reading this book. 
If you enjoy cozies with a bit off historical elements, this book is for you. 4 stars go to this book and am looking forward to reading the previous and the next book(s)!

I received an ARC from the author and the publisher through NetGalley in exchange for my honest review. The opinions and thoughts expressed here are strictly my own and unbiased.
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When the local squire has a chance to display the Black Chair, a piece of Welsh history awarded posthumously to poet Hedd Wyn in 1917, Penny Brannigan is called in to help arrange a dinner for the local dignitaries. There hasn't been a dinner at the manor for some time and everyone is excited to either attend or help the event go off well. 
Unfortunately, not only is the chair gone by the end of the evening, there's a dead body discovered as well. And when it's discovered to be the relative of one of Penny's employees, the grief quickly hits home. Characters both old and new feature in the solving of this mystery which ends up being a bigger planned heist than first thought. 
I don't think you will need to have read previous books in the series but it probably helps. I didn't think the mystery quite came together in the end but it was nice to visit some of our favorite characters and to see at least one former baddie get his comeuppance.

Three stars
This book comes out September 10th
ARC kindly provided by Crooked Lane Books and NetGalley
Opinions are my own
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Remembering the Dead is the 10th installment in the "Penny Brannigan" Mystery series. I highly recommend the entire series  Thank you to the publisher and to Net Galley for the ARC.. My opinion is my own. .

In this next in series our intrepid protagonist  Penny Brannigan attends a dinner party at quite the  posh country house. Right away this reminded me of Agatha Christie with the perfect setting  of a dinner party in a mysterious house . 

Penny Brannigan has been asked to organize the formal dinner to mark the the armistice that ended World War One. After dinner, the guests gather together for a private exhibition of the Black Chair, a precious piece  Welsh literary history awarded in 1917 to poet Hedd Wyn. But to the guests' shock the chair is missing ! .  Right away everyone is a suspect and when a murder of a employee occurs Penny is on the case.   Penny believes the two are connected and she is investigating on her suspicions of both the missing chair and the murder. 

This cozy mystery has it all. A fun setting at a mysterious gathering, a historic item of  Welsh  significance and a surprising list of suspects.  Penny is a savvy investigator and proven to be adept at finding the truth behind the murder and the missing item. A very fun mystery that kept me guessing to conclusion.
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This is the 10th book in the series, but I was able to muddle through fairly well. While at a dinner party that is supposed to end with the unveiling of Hedd Wyn’s Black Chair from 1917(which has been restored), we discover that the chair has been stolen and a person has been killed. The police were called in, but Penny has decided that she needs to investigate as well. Since Penny’s had experience solving mysteries in the past, no one objects to her involvement. 
This is billed as a cozy mystery, but it was longer and drier than I would’ve liked. I normally devour this genre, but I just couldn’t get into the characters or story. I’m also a huge fan of anything historical, so it really threw me when I couldn’t get into it at all. 
**I was provided an ARC of this story from Netgalley and this is my honest and voluntary review.
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Remembering the Dead is the 10th instalment in the "Penny Brannigan" Mystery series. At first I thought is this a reprint but realized I must of read a previous instalment.  This reads more as a traditional mystery than cozy in my opinion and took me longer to read.  It was like stepping back to when all I read was British mysteries.  This can be read as a stand alone but recommend reading in order.

Canadian amateur sleuth Penny Brannigan attends a dinner party at a posh country house--where a historic chair disappears and a waiter is murdered.

Artist and spa owner Penny Brannigan has been asked to organize a formal dinner to mark the centenary of the armistice that ended World War One. After dinner, the guests adjourn to the library for a private exhibition of the Black Chair, a precious piece of Welsh literary history awarded in 1917 to poet Hedd Wyn. But to the guests' shock, the newly restored bardic chair is missing. And then Penny discovers the rain-soaked body of a waiter.

When Penny learns that the victim was the nephew of one of her employees, she is determined to find the killer. Meanwhile, the local police search for the Black Chair. The Prince of Wales is due to open an exhibit featuring the chair in three weeks, so time is not on their side. A visit to a nursing home to consult an ex-thief convinces Penny that the theft of the Black Chair and the waiter's murder are connected. She rushes to Dublin to consult a disagreeable antiquarian, who might know more than he lets on, and during the course of her investigation confronts a gaggle of suspicious travelers and an eccentric herbalist who seems to have something to hide. Can Penny find the chair and the culprit before she is laid to rest in the green grass of Wales?

Story is  well written and the Welsh setting is lovely.  I liked Penny but other character felt more alive to me.  Love Mrs Lloyd, Jimmy and little Riley as well a few other characters.   

I highly recommend this book to anyone who loves mysteries.

I requested and received an Advanced Readers Copy from the publisher and NetGalley. All thoughts and opinions are my own
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I am not sure how I did not pick up this series before, but I am so glad I did.  I am going to read the previous books because this one was such a terrific book.
A top notch whodunit and great characters.
I highly recommend this book.
I voluntarily reviewed an advance reader copy of this book.
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