The Cold Light of Mourning

A Mystery

A Penny Brannigan Mystery (Volume 1)

Elizabeth J. Duncan

Minotaur Books

The picturesque North Wales market town of Llanelen is shocked when Meg Wynne Thompson, a self-made beauty who has turned out to be something of an unpopular bride, goes missing on her wedding day—and turns up dead. 

The last person believed to have seen Meg alive is local manicurist Penny Brannigan, who vows to find the killer. Seems that several people—including those on the guest list—had reasons to wish Meg dead. But when the trail leads Penny to the groom, a red-hot secret threatens to shake the small town to its very core…


Read an Excerpt

Emma Teasdale had been ill for some time and on a cool evening in early June, alone and peacefully, she died.
Those who gathered at lunchtime to set the world to rights at The Leek and Lily, the local pub, were saddened to hear of the retired schoolteacher’s passing and remembered their long-ago school days with the reflective kind of nostalgia that is the gentle gift of time.
But one person, hearing of Emma’s death, knew there was something to be done that only she could do.
Pulling on an ice-blue cardigan, Penny Brannigan turned the door sign to closed, pulled


Praise for The Cold Light of Mourning

A gentle delight…sure to please fans of the classic English mystery.”—Kirkus Reviews

“A runaway bride is the linchpin of Canadian writer Duncan’s delightful debut...The scenic Welsh backdrop, village personalities and a budding romance for Penny add color and interest.” —Publishers Weekly

“Admirable and appealing...combines a worthy plot, a congenial heroine and a sure sense of place—Duncan’s depiction of village life is spot-on—to produce a story that nears perfection. Readers will want to see more of Penny—and more of Duncan’s pleasing prose.”—Richmond-Times Dispatch

“Duncan lulls readers with her soothing prose and depiction of small-town life in Wales and then startles them with a shocker of a denouement. Readers who enjoy Louise Penny, another Canadian mystery author of note, and Charlaine Harris’s Aurora Teagarden mysteries will love this one.”—Library Journal

“Well-developed characters and a nicely delineated Wales setting are what make this stylish cozy work.”—Booklist

“[S]torytelling with polished exposition, pacing and edgy dialogue. Characters sparkle, and the dark side that lurks just at the edge of most innocent scenes is drawn with skill and depth. A must-read.”—Hamilton Spectator

“Duncan has a fine eye for detail, plays fair with the clues, and creates engaging characters.”—Globe and Mail

“This is a debut novel worth taking a risk on, order a copy today, you will not be disappointed.”—Armchair Interviews

“Lyrical and lovely, The Cold Light of Mourning launches an enchanting series that mystery readers will cherish. A warm welcome to Elizabeth J. Duncan, who writes with grace and charm. Sheer delight.”—Carolyn Hart, author of Ghost at Work

Reviews from Goodreads



  • Elizabeth J. Duncan

  • Elizabeth J. Duncan has worked as a writer and editor for some of Canada's largest newspapers, including the Ottawa Citizen and Hamilton Spectator. She lives with her dog, Dolly, in Toronto where she teaches in the public relations program at Humber College. She enjoys spending time each year in North Wales and is the first Canadian writer to win the Malice Domestic Best First Traditional Mystery Novel Competition. The Cold Light of Mourning, her first novel, is also the winner of the William F. Deeck-Malice Domestic Grant.

  • Elizabeth J. Duncan Scuralli Photography, Toronto
    Elizabeth J. Duncan





    Available Formats and Book Details

    The Cold Light of Mourning

    A Mystery

    A Penny Brannigan Mystery

    Elizabeth J. Duncan

    Agatha Awards - Nominee


    Minotaur Books