Book Review – Evans Above

  • Title: Evans Above
  • Author: Rhys Bowen
  • Date Reviewed on GoodReads: 07/22/2015

This time this book was recommended to me by my Mom – who received the entire collection from a friend. This is a typical British Cozy-style mystery. Or, to be precise, a Welsh cozy set in Northern Wales in a small village at the foot of Mount Snowdon. Evan Evans is the local police constable, who returned to Llanfair a few years ago after training in the police in Swansea. The small village of Llanfair is home to many colorful, interesting characters, including three more Evans – known as Evans-the-milk (the dairy man), Evans-the-meat (the butcher), and Evans-the-Post (the mail carrier). So Evan Evans becomes Evans-the-law. There’s also a flirty barmaid, and a no-nonsense school teacher who both view Evan as possible husband-on-the-hoof.

Pretty quickly, a crime occurs – two hikers are found dead on the mountain. PC Evans immediately thinks it’s murder, because two dead climbers is too much of a coincidence. Sgt. Watkins initially thinks it’s simply an accident – and he’s distracted by the horrible murder of a young girl, and an escaped pedophile he thinks is to blame.

Evan investigates on his own, and nearly gets into trouble. But when the escaped pedophile is captured and confesses – everyone thinks all is well. Until there’s a third murder.

Suddenly, everyone is in a tizzy. Sgt. Watkins who has gradually come to appreciate PC Evan’s skills, begins to listen to his theories and investigation so far. Watkins’ boss comes in to solve the third murder – and downplays Watkins’ abilities, just as Watkins had downplayed and pooh-poohed Evans own abilities. But pretty quickly Evans is able to investigate, find the real killer, and solve the case.

Evans Above read like the pilot of a television series. It was fun and light, and I enjoyed it – but there was also very little depth. Still, I’d definitely read more in the series. If you like a good British Cozy style mystery, and want to explore Wales and Welsh culture, the Constable Evans Mystery series is a place to start.

Framed Review

Previously posted on 9/30/2012 on my LiveJournal.

  • Title: Framed
  • Format:  TV Movie (90 Minutes)
  • Discs: 1
  • Cast: Trevor Eve, Eve Myles
  • Network:  BBC / Masterpiece Contemporary (PBS)

Framed is a wonderful story, filmed in gorgeous Welsh countryside. When the National Gallery in London is flooded, curator Quentin Lester proposes temporarily moving the paintings to a cave in Northern Wales, just as they were during World War II during the London Blitz. Upon arriving in Wales, Quentin in thrown into a completely alien world. Always more at home with priceless works of art than people, the characters of the town pull Quentin out of his shell. And as he realizes that art is to be shared not hidden away, and shared with everyone – rich or poor, Quentin’s perspective changes.

From the strange butcher who’s inspired by an Impressionist painting to re-open the town’s lake-side park, to a pair of ancient sisters who discover the “worthless” painting they own is actually a priceless one that went missing the last time the paintings were stored in the town – everyone is changed. Quentin begins to fall for the beautiful, clever, and enigmatic schoolteacher played by Eve Myles. In the end, not only are the townspeople changed, but so is Quentin.

During the painting’s exile, one painting a month was shipped back to London. There Londoners would queue up to see one painting, one masterpiece. After the Gallery is cleaned, dried, and repaired, the paintings are shipped back. However, Quentin is instrumental in starting a new program – he has one painting a month moved to the town in Wales and displayed for the people to see – in different venues around the town. Quentin Lester, a man who once stated that art was “for those who can appreciate it”, has come to realize that art is for anybody and for all. That beauty is something that anyone – rich or poor, from urban areas or the countryside, young or old, can appreciate. And, really, since they rarely see such treasures, the folks of the town are more appreciative than the bored school children on field trips in the city.

Framed is filmed in Wales, and the scenery is breath-takingly beautiful. Every outdoor scene is simply gorgeous – the mountains, hills, clouds, sky and everything is incredible. I loved the shades of green and grey everywhere. Definitely something that makes one want to visit Wales.