Evans to Betsy

Evans to Betsy

4.5 6
by Rhys Bowen

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The charming village of Llanfair, the setting for Rhys Bowen's beloved Constable Evans mysteries, sits amid lush, rolling Welsh meadows populated with quaint cottages and is considered by many of its colorful locals to be a kind of paradise. Unfortunately, there aren't many opportunities for young people in Llanfair, so when an exciting and glamorous American woman

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The charming village of Llanfair, the setting for Rhys Bowen's beloved Constable Evans mysteries, sits amid lush, rolling Welsh meadows populated with quaint cottages and is considered by many of its colorful locals to be a kind of paradise. Unfortunately, there aren't many opportunities for young people in Llanfair, so when an exciting and glamorous American woman breezes into town talking of dormant psychic powers and important social research, barmaid Betsy Edwards is quick to take her up on an offer of employment at the recently opened Sacred Grove New Age center not far away. Of course the locals, including the village constable, Evan Evans, think Betsy has gone around the bend, not to mention the nutty American who dragged her off to be "tested." Betsy, though, is dazzled at the possibility of exploring her own sixth sense. And she's only a little surprised when her new powers are put to a real-life test; when the center's flamboyant director goes missing, clues to his fate mysteriously appear in Betsy's dreams.

It's a tantalizing mystery for lonely Betsy, who can't help doing a little investigating on her own. But Constable Evans has been involved with Sacred Grove before-looking for a missing American college student who was lured there by Druid worship. As Betsy does her own sleuthing on the spot, Evan comes to realize that there is nothing straightforward about this case and that Betsy has no idea at all of the terrible danger she is in, in Evans to Betsy.

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
In his sixth appealing outing (after 2001's Evan Cat Wait), likable Welsh village bobby Evan Evans takes on a case with New Age overtones. Betsy the barmaid has long been desperate for recognition, and she may have found her ticket to fame when a visiting American graduate student named Emmy encourages her to develop her abilities as a psychic. Emmy claims she's looking for pure-blood Celts because the Celts are renowned for such abilities, and Betsy soon follows her new mentor to the Sacred Grove, situated for fictional purposes on the site of the actual Portmeirion. Sacred Grove has become the home to a center for New Age spirituality, complete with resident guru, Randy Wunderlich, the famous American psychic. Backed by his wife, Lady Annabel, owner of the property, Wunderlich seems set to establish a New Age empire in Wales. But Evans is suspicious that Betsy is the object of some kind of scam, plus he's on the trail of a missing American coed, whose trail leads to the Sacred Grove and Wunderlich himself. When Betsy dreams that Wunderlich is dead in a cave, her dream proves all too real. While Evans works to prove Betsy's innocence, he must cope with changes in his personal life (he's finally moved into his own place) as well as with the serious, unaccountable illness of his beloved, Bronwen. Bowen deftly and humorously weaves the various plot threads into an entertaining whole. This is a series that consistently charms. (Mar. 18) FYI: Bowen's previous novel, Murphy's Law, introduced a new series with an Irish heroine (Forecasts, Sept. 3) Copyright 2001 Cahners Business Information.
Library Journal
The Welsh town of Llanfair's own Betsy the barmaid finds some kind of renown after testing by a spirituality center verifies her psychic powers. And it's her "vision" that reveals where the center's murdered director will be found. Constable Evan Evans (Evan Can Wait), who covers the case, warns her of danger. A welcome addition to a charming series. Copyright 2001 Cahners Business Information.
Kirkus Reviews
Another return to Llanfair and affable Constable Evan Evans (Evan Can Wait, 2001, etc.). The North Wales village has a visitor from the US: Emmy Church, staying in the room at Mrs. Williams's house just vacated by Evan while she does research for her Ph.D. thesis on psychic ability. Emmy's focus appears to be the Sacred Grove, a few miles from Llanfair-a New Age center recently established on the estate inherited by Lady Annabel Bland-Tyghe, newly married to her third husband, well-known American psychic Randy Wunderlich. Lady Annabel's son Michael works there too. Convinced by Emmy that she has psychic powers, Betsy Edwards, barmaid at Llanfair's Red Dragon pub, has joined the domestic staff at Sacred Grove. Evan, meanwhile, is trying to trace Rebecca Reisen, an American girl missing for two months whose parents are in Llanfair seeking help. After Betsy's dream, in which she sees Wunderlich dead in a cave on the grounds of Sacred Grove, proves all too prophetic, a postmortem uncovers a lethal dose of drugs in the victim's body. Evan, following a lead involving yet another missing girl, this one vanished from Oxford, returns to Sacred Grove just in time to prevent further carnage and find the answers to some crucial questions. Too much plot and not enough Evan in this readable but overambitious outing.

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Product Details

St. Martin's Press
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Constable Evans Series , #6
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  Evans to Betsy
Chapter 1“Llanfair.” The driver read out the battered sign beside the road. “I thought this might be a good place to start.” He changed down a gear and the Jag slowed with a discontented growl. A village appeared ahead—a mere cluster of cottages, nestled under the steep, green walls of the mountain pass.The woman in the passenger seat leaned forward to peer through the windscreen. It was hard to tell her exact age—the long straight hair and lack of makeup, coupled with the jeans and T-shirt, made her look, at first glance, like a teenager, but a closer inspection put her in her thirties. She studied the gray stone cottages, the sheep on the high hillsides, the mountain stream dancing over rocks as it passed under the old stone bridge. “It’s worth a try,” she said. “Certainly remote enough. No supermarket, no video store, and no satellite dishes on the roofs. And it’s got the proverbial pub where jolly locals meet.”The Jag slowed to a crawl as they approached the square black-and-white-timbered building. A swinging pub sign outside announced it to be the Red Dragon. “I don’t see too many jolly locals around right now,” he said. “The place looks deserted. Where is everybody?”“Perhaps it’s the Welsh version of Brigadoon. They only come out once every hundred years.” She laughed. “Oh, wait a second. Here’s somebody.” A young girl with wild blond curls had come out of the pub. She began hopefully wiping off the outdoor tables, although the sky was heavy with the promise of rain. A loud yell from across the street made her look up. There was a row of shops directly opposite the pub. G. Evans, Cyggyd (with the word “Butcher” underneath in very small letters), R. Evans, Dairy Products, and then, preventing an Evans monopoly, T. Harris, General Store (and Sub Post Office).A large, florid man in a blood-spattered apron had come out of the butcher’s shop, and was now shouting and waving a cleaver. The two occupants of the car looked at each other uncertainly as the cleaver-waving and shouting continued.“Jolly locals?” He gave a nervous chuckle.The young girl appeared to be unfazed by the tirade. She tossed her mane of blond hair and yelled something back and the butcher burst out laughing. He waved the cleaver good-naturedly and went back into his shop. The young girl glanced at the Jag, then gave the last table a halfhearted wipe before going back into the pub.“What the hell was that all about?” The woman in the car asked. “Was that Welsh they were speaking?”“I don’t suppose it was Russian, honey. We are in the middle of Wales.”“But I didn’t realize people actually spoke Welsh! I thought it was one of those ancient languages you study at Berkeley. You might have warned me. I could have taken a crash language course. It’s going to make things more difficult.”He put out his hand and patted her knee. “It will be fine. They all speak English too, you know. Now why don’t you hop out and test the waters, huh?”“You want me to get hacked to death by a cleaver? Do you suppose they’re all violent up here in the mountains? I’d imagine there’s a lot of inbreeding.”“There’s only one way to find out.” He grinned as he gave her a gentle nudge. “And this was your idea, remember.”“Our idea. We planned it together.”He looked at her for a long moment. “I have missed you, Emmy.”“Me too. I didn’t think it would take so long. I’m damned jealous, you know.”“You don’t have to be.”An elderly man in a cloth cap and tweed jacket came down the street at a fast pace and disappeared into the pub. A couple of women walked past, deep in conversation, with shopping baskets on their arms. They wore the British uniform for uncertain weather—plastic macks and head scarves over gray permed hair. They paused to give the car an interested glance before settling at the bus stop.“I should get out of here,” the man said. “I shouldn’t be noticed. There’s a big hotel higher up the pass—you can’t miss it. It looks like a damned great Swiss chalet—ugly as hell. I’ll wait for you up there, okay?”“All right. Give me about an hour.” She opened the door and was met by a fresh, stiff breeze. “Gee, it’s freezing up here. I’ll need to buy thermal underwear if we decide that this place will do.”“Start at the pub,” he suggested. “At least we know somebody’s there.”She nodded. “Good idea. I could use a drink.” Her thin, serious face broke into a smile. “Wish me luck.”“Good luck,” he said. “This is a crazy idea, Emmy. It damned well better work.”EVANS TO BETSY. Copyright © 2002 by Rhys Bowen. All rights reserved. No part of this book may be used or reproduced in any manner whatsoever without written permission except in the case of brief quotations embodied in critical articles or reviews. For information, address St. Martin’s Press, 175 Fifth Avenue, New York, N.Y. 10010.

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