Saturday, March 9, 2013

Book Review: Evan Can Wait by Rhys Bowen (Constable Evan Evans Mysteries #5)

Stars: 5 out of 5
Pros: History and present collide in wonderful mystery
Cons: None
The Bottom Line:
Dueling mysteries
Plus the charming characters
Series favorite

Great Weaving of Mysteries Past and Present

Constable Evan Evans is the local policeman in the small Welch village of Llanfair. Now you'd think that a small village would be a quiet place. And most of the time it is. Between breaking up the latest feud between the two ministers in town, Evans usually has time to hike Mt. Snowden with his girlfriend, local school teacher Bronwen. But as we've seen in the previous four books in the series, murder seems to find its way into his otherwise boring life. And as we've seen, Evans has a talent for solving those puzzles. In fact, as Evan Can Wait opens, he's recently applied for a promotion to detective.

Evans is a little miffed when his application is denied. But he's decided to make the best of it and is even thinking about fixing a cottage destroyed in a recent fire and moving in there in preparation for proposing to Bronwen.

Then the village is turned upside down when some filmmakers arrive. They've come to make a documentary about Wales during World War II with the raising of a World War II German plane that crashed in a nearby lake as the jumping off point. Unfortunately, many of the plans seem to be stirring up painful memories in the local residents. To make matters worse, the group itself appears to have problems, with director Grantley Smith going out to his way to irritate people. On a personal level, the revelation that assistant director Edward Ferres is Bronwen's ex-husband throws Evan for a loop. Things are building to a breaking point that comes with Grantley disappears. Evan immediately suspects foul play. Is he right? Can he find the director?

Once again, I found myself in a race to get through this delightful book. The villagers of Llanfair are as charming and interesting as ever and I felt right at home. This book seemed to have more connection to the character arcs from the last book then previous books have, and I enjoyed watching the characters grow. Bronwen really steps out of the shadows with this book and becomes a much better developed character. I've always liked her, and I loved seeing more of her. And Betsy the barmaid gets some funny scenes as she tries to use this documentary as a chance to break into show business.

The plot is just as entertaining as the characters are. It twists and turns in all sorts of ways. I had a different suspect every chapter or two. Naturally with a book like that, the logical solution completely escaped me until the end. Author Rhys Bowen is able to incorporate history in a way that is both fascination and relevant. All this leads to a conclusion that is suspenseful and emotionally satisfying.

This is still one of my favorites in the series. If you enjoy lighter mysteries, be sure to check out Evan Can Wait and the rest of this great series.

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