The Constable Evans Mysteries are slower paced than your average cozy; they have a similar atmosphere and pacing as M.C. Beaton's Hamish MacBeth, but, in my opinion, much better written; less formulaic but just as quirky.
Evan Evans is happily adjusting to married life when an organisational shake up at work suddenly has him part of a major crimes task force with all new co-workers and a murder investigation. In his quiet little village things are all shaken up too when a Pakistani family moves in and opens up a new shop. Evan's wife Bronwyn befriends the daughter of the newcomers and, when the girl runs away to avoid an arranged marriage, Bronwyn is both enraged and accused of helping her hide.
For a book that was written 11 years ago, this is a heartbreakingly relevant storyline. Bowen tackles all the hot button issues of today without really drawing any conclusions except that sometimes the right thing is not really the best thing.
The criminal plotting gets a bit overly convoluted towards the end; it feels like she got herself all snarled up at one point, but she gets back on track and the ending is rather breathtaking. It's only really now hitting me that she went there in a cozy and managed to keep it cozy.
Bowen is undoubtedly a skilled writer and while this series doesn't have the high energy of Her Royal Spyness, it's still a great read.
Total pages: 210