"...occasionally good things do come out of tragedy."
It is hard to imagine anything good coming of murder, but EVANLY
BODIES may prove just how it can.
Agatha Christie has nothing on Rhys Bowen when it comes to crafting
a cozy murder mystery. The biggest difference is the countryside.
Constable Evan Evans of Llanfair, Wales, could almost be called a
Celtic Hercule Poirot. In fact, his new boss, Inspector Bragg (a
very aptly named chap), enjoys heckling Evans by not so fondly
nicknaming him after the French detective. But Evans is a worthy
match for the legendary Poirot.
Constable Evans finds himself assigned to the newly-formed Major
Crimes Unit. Almost before the team can congratulate each other on
their apparent promotion, they are called to a macabre murder in
Bangor. A university professor has been shot while sitting at his
kitchen table --- from outside the window. Major Crimes goes
through all the expected motions in order to catch the killer, but
turns up little aside from an assortment of wild ideas. Inspector
Bragg is not pleased by the lack of progress and starts looking at
a variety of unlikely suspects. The widow is, naturally, the most
obvious, but it appears that she had nothing to gain by her
husband's death. The professor's salary may not have been generous,
but the couple lived comfortably. She might actually be worse off
now that he is dead.
Meanwhile, a British-born Pakistani girl befriends Constable
Evans's new wife, who is having a hard time understanding the
family's Muslim customs. Just as the friendship is blossoming, the
young woman disappears. But Evans has little time to look into her
vanishing act, much to his wife's dismay, for another shooting has
occurred, this one with eerily similar parallels to the first
And now the weather is turning wintry, making the investigation ---
to mention nothing of Evans's newly extended commute --- even more
taxing. By the time he gets home each evening, he barely has time
for dinner before he falls into bed, totally spent. But his mind
works as much overtime as his body. He seems to be the only one on
the Major Crimes team tossing out viable ideas as to the motive for
the murders. Unfortunately, most of his ideas lead to a dead end.
However, Evans is nothing if not tenacious.
While puzzling at the direction the investigation should take after
exhausting myriad theories, Evans and the Unit are once again
dismayed as a third person is murdered in the very same way. Is
there a serial killer on the loose in Northern Wales? If so, Evans
is sure to unravel the key to the mystery, while he tries to get
into his new boss's good graces. Then, in order to please his wife,
he must figure out what happened to her missing friend. Constable
Evans has his hands more than full.
Sit back and enjoy EVANLY BODIES. The pages will nearly turn
themselves to the surprising end.
Reviewed by Kate Ayers on January 21, 2011