FORGOTTEN BOOKS: EVANS ABOVE BY RHYS B0WEN!
While maybe not forgotten as a series, I’ve only just rediscovered the joys of Rhys Bowen’s original foray into crime fiction in 1996. If M.C. Beaton’s Constable Hamish Macbeth were to ever leave the Highland Scottish village of Lochdubh, you would be able to find him recreated in Bowen’s creation of Constable Evan Evans who walks his gentle beat through the Welsh village of Llanfair.
While the two characters do share many similarities, it is not to imply Evan Evans is any kind of a pale imitation. The Evans series, which has expanded to ten books now, is a genuine delight in its own right.
Evan Evans is a young police constable who has traded in the violence of city life for idyllic Llanfair, a Welsh village tucked far away from trouble. Nestled among the Snowdonian mountain range, Llanfair looks to Evans like a town forgotten by time, but he quickly learns that even the bucolic countryside has its share of eccentric – and deadly – characters.
Evans’ new neighbors include two competitive ministers vying for the souls of their flock, one lascivious barmaid, and three other Evanses: Evans-the-Meat, Evans-the-Milk, and Evans-the-Post (whose favorite hobby is to read the mail before he delivers it).
Before Evans has time to sort out the complicated relationships and rivalries of his new home, he’s called to the scene of a crime as brutal and fearsome as any he encountered in the big city. Tow hikers have been murdered on the trails of the local mountain, and Evans must hunt down the vicious killer – who may or may not be linked to the mysterious destruction of Mrs. Powell-Jones prize-winning tomatoes.
As in the best of cozy style mysteries, this is all good gentle fun – the enjoyment coming from spending time with characters who quickly become friends in a landscape to which we would like to escape.