Book Review: Rhys Bowen’s Evans to Betsy

Posted October 24, 2011 by Kathy Davie in Book Reviews

I received this book for free from the library in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

Book Review: Rhys Bowen’s Evans to Betsy

Evans to Betsy


Rhys Bowen

cozy mystery that was published by Berkley on February 4, 2003 and has 240 pages.

Explore it on Goodreads or Amazon.

Other books by this author which I have reviewed include Evans Above, Evan Help Us, Evanly Choirs, Bless the Bride, The Last Illusion, Evan and Elle, Naughty in Nice, Evan Can Wait, Evan Only Knows, Her Royal Spyness, A Royal Pain, Royal Flush, Evan's Gate, Royal Blood, Evan Blessed, Evanly Bodies, Rhys Bowen, Hush Now, Don't You Cry, The Twelve Clues of Christmas, The Family Way, Heirs and Graces, Queen of Hearts, Malice at the Palace, Crowned and Dangerous, On Her Majesty's Frightfully Secret Service

Sixth in the Constable Evans mysteries series set in Llanfair, North Wales and revolving around Constable Evan Evans, the local policeman for the area.

My Take

Evans to Betsy has a steady pace to it without any major highs or lows. The attraction of the whole series is in its character interaction and the occasional lapse into Welsh.

Primarily told from Constable Evans’ perspective, Bowen gives us a view of village life in Wales with its own particular political and social issues as she explores human personalities.

The Story

Scam artists arrive in Wales, and it takes a good while before we learn just why Emmy claims that Betsy has psychic powers and entices her into working at Sacred Grove, a New Age retreat that has just opened up. There are some benefits for the police in the scam in that it reopens the disappearance of a young American student. A coincidence that only benefits the police!

In the meantime, Evans has a few hiccups in his life. His DCI is expanding his patrol area and giving him a motor scooter to get around it — and he’s just moved out of Mrs. Williams’ lodgings into his own two-up and two-down. Bronwen insists that Evans learn how to survive on his own before she’ll agree to marry him.

And poor Evans is about to find out just how much he will appreciate Bronwen in the future.

The Characters

I wouldn’t say that Constable Evans was a particularly strong character; he certainly is a stubborn one! But he’s a good man with his own issues and he’s surrounded by a colorful group of people in the village of Llanfair. He’s also building himself quite a reputation for solving tricky cases. Bronwen Price is the schoolteacher in the village and Evans’ sweetheart although he doesn’t make much of a push to romance her until he thinks he’s about to lose her when he allows his boy scout side to surface with Betsy.

Mrs. Williams is his now former landlady and her cooking is something I drool over as I laugh at the predicaments she puts Evans into as she pushes her granddaughter, Sharon, on him. Then there’s Betsy Edwards, the bar maid. Not a self-conscious bone in her body — they’re all not-too-bright ambitious bones instead. Although, we do discover that Betsy has some smarts about her. Most of the villagers with whom Evans drinks at the pub are simply there to provide a crowd although Evans-the-Meat is quite a Welsh nationalist and Farmer Owens is a sweetheart. I can’t quite decide about Barry-the-Bucket. The war between Capel Bethel and Beulah certainly brings a laugh along with a groan when Mrs. Powell-Jones demands that Evans arrest someone for stepping on her petunias or some other silly impertinence.

The steady and realistic Sergeant Watkins is on the case along with newly-promoted DC Glynis Davies while DCI Hughes seems to be continuing to mellow…!

Lady Annabel Bland-Tyghe married Randy Wunderlich, the scamming psychic from America, and converted her property in Wales into the Sacred Grove New Age Center. Her son, Michael, came down from university to help — and keep an eye on his inheritance! Mrs. Roberts has been with Lady Annabel for years from housemaid to housekeeper and seems to have a very keen eye while Rhiannon is the very stern Druid at Sacred Grove.

The Cover and Title

I think the cover is supposed to be the buildings at Sacred Grove as there is a very Italian feel to the architecture and the forefront of garden. The title is certainly accurate enough as it is Evans off to save Betsy.