Evan and Elle (Constable Evans Series #4)

Evan and Elle (Constable Evans Series #4)

4.5 6
by Rhys Bowen

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Booklist has praised the Constable Evans mysteries as "satisfying as a Guinness pint" and "the perfect book to curl up with on a rainy day". Now Rhys Bowen presents the newest in the atmospheric series about a Welsh constable solving big crimes in a small town...

Madame Yvette's arrival is causing a lot of excitement in Llanfair. Some are enraged at the fact that

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Booklist has praised the Constable Evans mysteries as "satisfying as a Guinness pint" and "the perfect book to curl up with on a rainy day". Now Rhys Bowen presents the newest in the atmospheric series about a Welsh constable solving big crimes in a small town...

Madame Yvette's arrival is causing a lot of excitement in Llanfair. Some are enraged at the fact that her new French restaurant sits on the site of an abandoned chapel. Others are thrilled about her sophisticated culinary skills. And Llanfair's men seem intrigued by her exotic beauty — which isn't making Llanfair's women very happy...

But the controversy really heats up after a mysterious fire, when a dead body is found in the smoking ruins of Chez Yvette. This case has Llanfair in a real stew. And Constable Evans is about to bring things to a boil...

Editorial Reviews

San Francisco Sunday Examiner & Chronicle
A sweet and sunny read.
Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
When Madame Yvette, a seductive widow, opens a French restaurant in Llanfair, in northern Wales, her blend of haute cuisine and traditional Welsh fare soon wins over the locals, including Constable Evan Evans, the village's lone policeman and the hero of three previous outings in this appealing series (Evanly Choir, etc.). Ever true to his girlfriend, schoolteacher Bronwen Price, Evans resists Madame Yvette's attempt to make him more than just a culinary conquest, but he's ready to be of service when she really needs him--after her restaurant burns down, the latest target in a string of recent arson attacks in the area. Or is it? While at first the fire seems the work of Welsh extremists, the discovery of a corpse in the restaurant's ruins puts this crime into a different category altogether. In the ensuing investigation, Evans retains his modesty and good humor as he deals with a condescending English arson expert, a flirtatious female constable and a host of lively locals. The trail leads to the South Coast of England, where Madame Yvette and her late husband previously lost a restaurant to fire, and to France, where Evans and his colleague Sergeant Watkins uncover a startling secret about her past. Bowen keeps the reader guessing as to the actual menace that awaits Constable Evans in the hills above Llanfair on his return. This is a light confection of a mystery, sweetened with the author's obvious affection for her characters, as well as for all things Welsh. (Feb.) Copyright 2000 Cahners Business Information.
Library Journal
Constable Evans and Sgt. Watkins investigate arson and murder in the Welsh village of Llanfair after a body is found in the rubble of a torched French restaurant. A pleasant evening's entertainment. Copyright 2000 Cahners Business Information.\

Product Details

Penguin Group (USA) Incorporated
Publication date:
Constable Evans Series, #4
Edition description:
Product dimensions:
5.10(w) x 6.78(h) x 0.65(d)

Read an Excerpt

Chapter One

    The Reverend Tomos Parry Davies, minister of Chapel Bethel in the village of Llanfair, sang loudly to himself as he drove up the pass from Caernarfon. Heaven had certainly smiled on him today! What a stroke of luck that he had spotted the advertisement for a government surplus auction. This van was the answer to his prayers—high mileage, of course, and painted a depressing institutional gray, but it seated fifteen and was perfect for his needs.

    He had long been aware that his congregation was dwindling. There was little interest in religion these days, and no fear of the hellfire that he preached so eloquently. All over Wales chapels were being abandoned and turned into beauty parlors, garages, or even worse, New Age healing centers. Tomos Parry Davies shuddered.

    Chapel Ebenezer, only a couple of miles down the pass from Llanfair, had been abandoned last year. Tomos feared for the souls of its former flock. If a way could be found to bring them up to Llanfair ... but many older parishioners didn't drive and there were no buses on Sunday. That's when the idea of a van came to him. To put it in non-Christian terms—if Mohammed couldn't come to the mountain, then the mountain would come to Mohammed. He had said nothing to anyone except his wife, and Roberts-the-Pump at the petrol station, who always had an ear to the ground when it came to secondhand cars for sale—and he had watched, waited, and prayed. And now his prayers were answered!

    He closed his eyes and pictured all those new worshipers pouring out of his van and intoChapel Bethel, while his rival, Rev. Powell-Jones of Chapel Beulah across the street, could only stare in disbelief. A satisfied smile spread across his plump, middle-aged face. And so cheap, too. A stroke of luck indeed—or rather the Lord's doing. The Lord knew which chapel He wanted to prosper!

    And this was just the beginning, Rev. Parry Davies said to himself. A bigger congregation meant more money coming in. Then he could replace the oil stove in the corner with a real central heating system, and maybe update the sound system to reach out to the young people. He'd have slide shows and video presentations to enhance his sermons. He was going to bring religion back to Llanfair in a big way.

    He drove through Llanberis, carefully negotiating the last vacationers of the season as they crossed the street to catch the mountain railway to the summit of Yr Wyddfa, which the English insisted on calling Mount Snowdon. Right after Llanberis the road began to climb. He put his foot down and heard a satisfying roar of power from the engine. He chose not to notice the black smoke that hung behind him in the clear mountain air.

    The village of Nant Peris passed by in a blur. He knew he should have slowed to thirty but he was so excited by the power of his new vehicle that he couldn't slow down. Besides, there was no policeman closer than Constable Evans up in Llanfair. Nobody here to give him a ticket.

    He came to the last straggling buildings before the pass narrowed and climbed again to reach Llanfair. He turned to look at the abandoned chapel whose congregation he hoped to round up every Sunday. It had been a sad sight, with windows boarded up and door nailed shut. He had almost passed it when he realized that something was going on there. He braked and rammed the heavy gear into reverse with much grinding, followed by an ominous clank. A builder's lorry was parked outside and two men were carrying in a slab of marble.

    Tomos's face grew hot with anger. What kind of dirty trick was the Lord playing on him? To reopen the chapel when he'd just spent his savings on the new van! Was his beautiful plan now doomed to failure?

    Then he saw the sign over the arched doorway to one side:


    Over it a banner proclaimed, Grand Opening Tomorrow!

    Tomos felt his blood pressure rising to boiling point. The Lord's house—or what had been the Lord's house until recently—being turned into a restaurant! And not only a restaurant, but a French restaurant. Chez Yvette. Even the name sounded positively sinful.

    Tomos Parry Davies put his foot down and roared on up the pass to spread the dreadful news.

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