Saturday, March 9, 2013

Book Review: Evans to Betsy by Rhys Bowen (Constable Evan Evans #6)


Stars: 5 out of 5
Pros: Fun character; puzzling mystery
Cons: None
The Bottom Line:
Our sixth trip to Wales
And the charm just keeps coming
Another winner




Mystery and Charm to Spare

There are some series that I know I can count on for a nice comforting trip through the chaos of twists and turns of murder and mayhem. This is one such series. Set in a small Welsh town, the series focuses on Constable Evan Evans. Despite the fact that he's only the local policeman, he seems to find himself getting involved in several mysterious cases. Along the way, we get to know a little about the eccentric residence of the village. In Evans to Betsy, the sixth in the series, one of them gets to take center stage as Betsy the barmaid becomes the focal point of the mystery.

It's a slow afternoon in the local pub, The Red Dragon, when Emmy Court walks in. She's an American working on her doctoral degree on psychic powers in the Celts. After a few minutes of conversation, she believes that Betsy is a perfect candidate and takes her off to the Sacred Grove, a nearby New Age center, to be tested.

Meanwhile, Constable Evans is searching for a missing American college student. The search takes him to the Sacred Grove. Evan doesn't believe in psychic powers, so he is naturally suspicious. His suspicions lead him to believe that something isn't right at the center and he is quite upset to see Betsy so involved in the center. He certainly doesn't believe in Betsy's new found powers. That is, until she shows up at his house in the middle of the night claiming to have a vision - that accurately leads to a dead body. Does Betsy have powers? More importantly, who committed the murder?

Ms. Bowen is at the top of her game with this engaging book. The plot twists all over the place, and I had no clue where things were headed before the logical ending. I couldn't put it down, and the smooth writing style made the pages fly by.

The plot isn't dark for a mystery, but there are several sub-plots that help lighten the mood even more. I loved watching Evans-the-Post try to learn to ride his new motorbike. Additionally, Evan has moved out of Mrs. Williams to prove to himself and girlfriend Bronwen that he can survive on his own. Let's just say he has a much harder time then he bargained for. These sub-plots never slow down the overall mystery, but add flavor to the book.

The sub-plots also showcase the characters. The series characters are further developed, and the background characters are developed in proportion to their importance to the story. It was nice to see Betsy get a spotlight this time around, and I feel like I really understand her character now. The suspects introduced for this story are sharp, helping make the main plot even more intriguing.

If you enjoy a very charming setting and characters with intriguing plots, this series is for you. Evans to Betsy continues that fine tradition.

And once you are hooked, you'll want to read the rest of the Constable Evan Evans Mysteries in order.

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