Remembering the Dead – Book Review

A Penny Brannigan Mystery by Elizabeth J. Duncan
Published on: September 10, 2019

Remembering the Dead is the latest in the Penny Brannigan mystery series involving the famous Black Chair at a formal dinner.


Artist and spa owner Penny Brannigan has been asked to organize a formal dinner to mark the centenary of the armistice that ended World War One. After dinner, the guests adjourn to the library for a private exhibition of the Black Chair, a precious piece of Welsh literary history awarded in 1917 to poet Hedd Wyn. But to the guests’ shock, the newly restored bardic chair is missing. And then Penny discovers the rain-soaked body of a waiter.

When Penny learns that the victim was the nephew of one of her employees, she is determined to find the killer. Meanwhile, the local police search for the Black Chair. The Prince of Wales is due to open an exhibit featuring the chair in three weeks, so time is not on their side. A visit to a nursing home to consult an ex-thief convinces Penny that the theft of the Black Chair and the waiter’s murder are connected. She rushes to Dublin to consult a disagreeable antiquarian, who might know more than he lets on, and during the course of her investigation confronts a gaggle of suspicious travelers and an eccentric herbalist who seems to have something to hide. Can Penny find the chair and the culprit before she is laid to rest in the green grass of Wales?


This Penny Brannigan mystery begins when the famous Black Chair disappears from a private dinner/exhibition followed by the discovery of the body of one of the waiters. Penny then begins her quest to find out more information from different individuals in hopes of putting the pieces together and find the missing chair and killer.

I am not familiar with this series, but after finishing a different book with a more somber tone – this book came at the perfect time for me. It wasn’t perfect, but I found it relaxing, plus I learned a bit of history as well that I wasn’t expecting. In fact, I looked up the real Black Chair just to see it and it is quite something.

As a reader of mystery, I often times find the real pleasure in the book is trying to figure out who the culprit is by narrowing down from a sea of potential culprits and still not really knowing who it is by the end of the book. Because Remembering the Dead happens within a closed setting (someone’s home) you might expect that multiple attendees were suspects or had conflicting testimonies or were able to tell just enough information that leaves you with more questions. However, I didn’t really feel that this occurred and this is where my own conflict regarding the story comes from. While a lot happened at the party, I didn’t really have a sea of potential culprits to select from and narrow down.

Overall, it was a pleasant read, but I just needed a little more.

Rating: 3.5 stars

Thanks to NetGalley for the ARC in exchange for an honest review.

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