Sunday, May 2, 2021

Review: On Deadly Tides by Elizabeth J. Duncan

by Elizabeth J. Duncan
Release Date: November 10th 2020
2020 Crooked Lane Books
Kindle Edition; 280 Pages
ISBN: 978-1643854687
ASIN: B084V85BT8
Genre: Fiction / Mystery / Cozy
Source: Review copy from publisher

3 / 5 Stars

With a picturesque black and white lighthouse, pebble beaches and stunning views of sea and mountains, the island of Anglesey off the coast of North Wales is the perfect place for an idyllic mid-summer painting holiday.

And watercolour artist, businesswoman, and amateur sleuth Penny Brannigan is enjoying the retreat enormously - until she discovers the body of a New Zealand journalist on a secluded beach just as the tide is going out, threatening to take the body with it.

The post mortem reveals the victim died from injuries "consistent with a fall from a great height," and the death is ruled accidental. But Penny thinks there's more to the story. Curious how the victim came to such an untimely end at this most inhospitable spot, she uncovers a link to a mysterious disappearance several years earlier.
My Thoughts
On Deadly Tides is the next entry in the Penny Brannigan mystery series, and I always return to these books for their settings as well as their simple, but engaging, mysteries. Cozy mysteries are my guilty pleasure reading in between the heavy-hitting fantasy, historical fiction, mystery/thrillers, and non-fiction that I usually tend to read and I love them because I can still get emotionally invested in the characters while the story lines tend to be on the lighter side of the spectrum.
What I especially love about this series is that the main character is in her early fifties rather than the usual twenties; she just seems to be quite different from the usual cozy mystery heroines, and I really enjoy that about her.  She is single so her priorities tend to be somewhat different and romance usually play a huge role in these books, although it sometimes happens.  However, unlike some of the books, it isn't a main feature which is something I really liked.  An independent woman who is enjoying her life, has many activities and hobbies, has many friends, is active in the community, travels, and is having fun is definitely someone with whom I can identify.  
I did find this book a bit different than the others and there was a reason for this.  I don't want to go into that in detail as it would sort of spoil the fun of the book, but long-time readers will be happy for Penny.  However, it did take away from the usual suspense and it was very easy to figure out the mystery and the culprits.  I do think the author balanced out Penny's private life quite well with her investigations, and I have always liked how she never interfered with the police or their investigations.  She also doesn't tend to do stupid things like some of the characters in some of the cozy mystery books, something that often makes me cringe.  For example, if she is going to interview someone, she usually lets someone else know where she is and what she is doing, and she doesn't usually tend to go anywhere without telling people.  Yes, she makes mistakes, but owns up to them afterwards. Like forgetting to lock her back door because she let the cat out.  
On Deadly Tides was a slower book than usual, focused much more on Penny's personal life rather than the mystery, but it was still interesting. There were a couple things I couldn't quite believe, for example about the tides and the GPS coordinates , as if the RCMP would not be familiar with those and the Welsh police would not have checked the tides.   The story was well-written, and I was able to read it in one sitting, but there still felt like there was something missing that was in the earlier books.  It also sounds as if this may be the last book in the series, and if that is the case, I will be sad to say good-bye to Penny and company. It is possible to read this book as a stand alone, but I don't recommend it.