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Evan Only Knows (Constable Evans Mysteries) Mass Market Paperback – July 5, 2005

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Bones Never Lie
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Product Details

  • Series: Constable Evans Mysteries
  • Mass Market Paperback: 272 pages
  • Publisher: Berkley (July 5, 2005)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0425196070
  • ISBN-13: 978-0425196076
  • Product Dimensions: 6.8 x 4.2 x 0.8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 4.8 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (25 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,200,139 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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About the Author

Rhys Bowen has been nominated for every major award in mystery writing, including the Edgar®, and has won seven, including both Agatha and Anthony awards. She is also the author of the Molly Murphy Mysteries set in turn-of-the-century New York, and the Constable Evans Mysteries set in Wales. She was born in England and lives in Northern California.

Excerpt. © Reprinted by permission. All rights reserved.

Evan Only Knows
Chapter 1
The Land Rover pulled up abruptly at the side of the narrow road. A young man jumped out, his mouse brown hair and pasty face blending in with the beige of his raincoat. It was midsummer and the sky was cloudless, making the raincoat a strange choice of garment. Equally strange, it was coupled with a pair of large green gumboots that appeared too big for him. He paused, looking and listening in both directions up and down the pass, before grabbing something from the seat of the Land Rover and sprinting to a nearby stile. He looked around once more before starting to wrap the stile, spiderweb fashion, with bright yellow plastic tape. The tape read KEEP OUT. When the stile was effectively blocked, the young man ran back to the Land Rover and took off, tires spraying gravel. As he drove up the pass, he picked up a mobile phone and pressed the redial button.
"Sector Three now secured, sir," he said.
"Well done," came the crackling voice down the line. "Now get the hell out of there before they notice."
At that very moment an elderly Rover was driving up the Llanberis Pass at a sedate twenty-nine miles per hour, clearly infuriating the driver of a white van behind it. The van bore the inscription LEEKS--THE PROUD SYMBOL OF WALES, STOPPING LEAKS--theproud aim of Roberts-the-Plumber, Bangor. It tried unsuccessfully to pass on numerous occasions but was reduced to impotent horn honkings, which the driver of the Rover didn't seem to hear.
At last, beyond the small village of Nant Peris, the Rover finally turned off the road to a parking area outside an old churchyard. Three sheep that had been cropping grass around the lichen-covered gravestones leaped up in alarm at the sound of the car and trotted away to safety behind the old church. The Rover's doors opened and three elderly gentlemen got out, each straightening creaky joints slowly and cautiously. Although they weren't wearing clerical collars but weatherproof windcheaters and stout walking boots, they had an aura of innocent surprise and unworldliness in their faces, usually seen in choirboys or monks. These three were, in fact, Church of England vicars and knew nothing of the austere lifestyle of the monastery. They stood, breathing deeply and looking around with expectation.
"I bet these old stones could tell many a tale," one of them said, walking over to the moss-grown wall that surrounded the churchyard.
"If they could, you wouldn't understand it, because it would be in Welsh." The second, the most cherubic-looking of the three, chuckled.
"Anyway, we're not going to take time to explore now." The third, leaner and fitter looking than his companions, hoisted a rucksack onto his back. "We want to make the summit before the weather changes." He raised his eyes to the mountains that rose steeply on either side. The sky was a perfect blue, without a cloud in sight.
Then turning his back on the churchyard, he crossed the road where the sign indicated a footpath up the green slopes beyond. His companions followed him until they came to a stile, straddling a drystone wall. Behind the wall was a rising pasture, dotted with sheep, but the stile was impassible. It was tied across with yellow plastic tape.
The first clergyman stopped and waited for his companions to catch up.
"They can't do this!" he exclaimed, his face pink with anger as he pointed at the taped stile. "It's a public right of way, that's what it is. It's always been a public right of way, and if any bolshie farmer thinks he can stop us from crossing his field just by putting up a piece of tape, then he can think again."
"Easy now, Ronald," the cherubic vicar said, putting a hand on his friend's shoulder. "Maybe this path is under repair, or is waterlogged. I'm sure there are plenty of alternate routes up to the summit."
"He's right, old man," the third clergyman said in languid, aristocratic tones. "No sense in raising your blood pressure over nothing. Remember what the doctor said."
Ronald sighed and turned away. "You're right. Let's take a look at the map and see where the other paths start."
But ten minutes later they were at a similar stile farther up the pass, facing a similar strip of yellow tape and the words KEEP OUT scrawled on a piece of cardboard. This time Ronald nearly exploded.
"That's it. Back to the car. We're going to find the nearest police station and make this farmer open up his damned public right of way!"
"Sorry about this, lads, but my hands are tied." Superintendent Meredith spread his hands in a gesture of apology, seeming to refute what he had just said. He was a big man with multiple chins that quivered as he shook his head. "We've had a directive from the powers-that-be that we're to give the Min of Ag all possible cooperation in carrying out this unpleasant task."
"It's not going to be easy," a voice from the audience muttered.
"Look, I know it's not going to be easy, especially for those of us who work closely with the community, but it has to be done." The superintendent attempted an understanding smile. "I feel just as badly as you do about this. But it has to be stopped now. It should have been stopped before it got to Wales. It could have been if they hadn't sat there twiddling their thumbs until it was too late."
"Bloody English, when have they ever sent us anything but badnews?" came another growled mutter from the back of the room.
If the superintendent heard this, he pretended not to. "So we've just got to buckle down, all pull together, and make sure that there is no unpleasantness, right?" He was the only one who nodded. "The Min of Ag inspectors are already in the area. You'll be approached for assistance as needed." He looked around the audience of blank faces, then went on, "So that's about it. Let's make this go as smoothly as possible, shall we then? And if it looks as if there's going to be trouble, don't hesitate to call for backup. Got it? Right then." He stood up, brushed off his hands as if they had crumbs on them, and strode from the room.
"All in this together, my arse," one of the young policemen muttered over the scraping of chairs as they got to their feet.
Constable Meirion Morgan fell into step beside a fellow officer. "All right for him, isn't it, Evan--sitting here in his office. I bet he's never been within twenty miles of a herd of sheep in his life."
The fellow officer he had spoken to, Constable Evan Evans, smiled in agreement. He was a big chap with the build of a rugby player and a boyish face women found appealing. "You know what I'm counting on, Meirion?" he muttered confidentially. "I'm just hoping they'll take their time before they get to us up on the mountain."
Meirion Morgan returned the grin. "Oh, that's right. You're transferring to plainclothes, aren't you?"
"I'm due to start my course next week."
"Lucky bugger," Meirion said. "Still, I'm not saying that you don't deserve it."
"I've been waiting long enough for the transfer to come through," Evan said. "I applied over a year ago. I was beginning to think they'd never accept me."
"They'd have been daft if they hadn't, seeing the kind of help you've already given them."
"People don't always take kindly to outside help, do they?" Evans commented.
They joined the crowd filing from the briefing room. "You really want to do that kind of thing, do you?" Meirion asked. "Can'tsay it appeals to me. Too much stress and terrible hours. I dare say I lack ambition, but I like being home at a reasonable time and not being called out at three in the morning."
"I think I'll like it just fine," Evan said. "I did start a CID training course once, when I was on the force down in Swansea."
"Did you now? I never knew that. What in heaven's name were you doing in Swansea? You don't look like a South Walesian, don't sound like one either."
Evan laughed. "I was born up here, but my dad got a job with the South Wales Police, so we moved down there when I was ten."
"And you were on the force down there then? What made you decide to move back?"
"Several things." Evan left it at that. "My mum still lives down there."
"Can't say I'd want to," Meirion said as they drew level with the cafeteria door. "I've only been to a city once and I felt hemmed in, if you know what I mean. Coming for a cuppa?"
"No thanks, I'd better be getting back," Evan said. "I'm a one-man shop up in Llanfair, and something always seems to happen when I'm away."
"You've got several farms around you, haven't you?" Meirion grimaced. "So have we. I'm not looking forward to it one bit, but I suppose the super is right. It has to be done."
He gave Evan a friendly nod as he pushed open the swing door into the cafeteria. Evan got a pleasant whiff of sausage and chips before the door swung to again. He paused and looked back longingly. He'd been surviving on his own for a couple of months now, and he wasn't the world's best cook. After a lifetime of living at home and then being looked after by Mrs. Williams, he was discovering that cooking wasn't as simple as it seemed. Things that looked easy enough usually required ingredients he didn't possess and never turned out like the pictures in the cookery books. Of course he could always buy a meat pie or bangers and chips at the Red Dragon across the road, but that was defeating the whole purpose of this exercise. The whole reason he was putting himself through this was for Bronwen. She had made it very clear that shewouldn't marry him until he'd had a taste of fending for himself.
Evan came out of the Caernarfon Police Station and went to retrieve his motorbike. Another good thing about transferring to the CID, he decided, would be giving up that bloody motorbike. It had been issued to outstation officers as part of an efficiency drive, so that they could cover outlying farms more easily, but Evan had never really taken to it. Not that he minded the wind and rain in his face. He'd been brought up in the mountains, after all. He just didn't feel any affinity for motorbikes.
He kicked it to life and pulled out of the station yard. It wouldn't have been so bad if he'd been issued an impressive 1000cc model, but this bike was so underpowered that it barely made it up the hill to Llanfair. Any burglar could easily outrun him up a mountainside.
The last of the housing estates was left behind, and green uplands soared on either side. A stream danced merrily beside him. Flowers grew in profusion, spilling over the drystone walls. The high pastures were dotted with sheep. It was the perfect pastoral scene, one that he usually relished, but today he looked around with a sinking feeling in the pit of his stomach. This was the calm before the storm. Maybe nothing would ever be the same again.
The town of Llanberis was chockablock with families on holiday. The ice cream vendor and the souvenir shops were doing a roaring trade. There was a long line waiting for the next train on the little rack railway up Mt. Snowdon, and a cheerful toot-toot announced that it had just started its climb to the summit. Evan slowed as holidaymakers strolled across the road, trailing children and dripping ice cream. He wondered what would be happening to them. Would they all be sent home? Would the whole area be quarantined?
He negotiated the holiday crowds successfully, then let the throttle out as the road narrowed and the pass rose ahead, snaking up to the high country. He felt the exhilaration of wind in his face. Green walls rose on either side, topped with sheets of scree and the rocky crags he knew so well--Snowdon and its outcroppings on his right, and, beyond the thin finger of lake, the twin peaks of the Glydrs on his left. Evan knew every route up the mountains, everychallenging climb in the area, but there hadn't been much time for climbing recently.
Nant Peris, with its old church and graveyard, passed on his right. Then there were no more houses until Llanfair. As he pulled up outside his little police substation, he saw a car parked outside it and a white-haired man standing at the station door. On hearing Evan he marched toward him.
"Are you the officer who is supposed to be on duty here?" he demanded in a well-bred English voice.
"That's right, sir. Constable Evans. How can I help you?"
"Aren't police stations supposed to be manned at all times?"
"Sorry, sir. I'm the only officer stationed up here, and I was called down to headquarters," Evan said. "There's an telephone outside, and they will always send up a squad car in an emergency. So what can I do for you?"
"What you can do is go and talk to some damned farmer," the man said. "We're here on a walking holiday, and we were just about to hike up Glydr Fach when we found the path had been blocked off." Evan glanced over at the car where two other elderly men with round cherubic faces watched from wound-down windows. "My fellow members of the clergy and I have been coming here every summer since 1956, and until now we have had no problems."
Evan was just realizing the implications of the man's complaint. "The path was blocked, you say?" he asked.
"Taped across, more like it," one of the other elderly gentlemen chimed in from the car. "Lots of yellow plastic tape. And not just one path either. We drove up to the second footpath, and it had tape across it too. And the words 'Keep Out.'"
"Some bolshie farmer trying to deny an ancient right of way," the first man said. "It happens from time to time. Some chap thinks he can ignore a public footpath across his land. But we never let them get away with it. We'd like you to go and talk to him, Constable. Let him know that it's against the law to block off a right of way."
"I'll come down and see it with you," Evan said, "but I don't think the farmer had anything to do with it this time. I don't knowwhether you've been reading the papers, but I'm afraid that foot-and-mouth disease has spread to this part of Wales. I was just at a briefing in Caernarfon, and it doesn't look good. It seems it's only a matter of time before the farmers here have to slaughter their flocks."
The man's bluster evaporated. "But that's terrible," he said with concern. "So you think that was why they've blocked off the footpaths?"
"I would imagine so, sir. I understand the Ministry of Agriculture's men are already in the area doing inspections, and they'll be doing everything they can to stop the disease from spreading--which would mean closing footpaths, I expect."
"Of course, I quite understand," the vicar said, nodding to his fellows. "They wouldn't want to risk having anyone carrying infected soil on his boots. Well, this is a setback, I must say."
"It will completely spoil our holiday," one of the men in the car said.
"I should think it will spoil a lot of holidays," Evan said. "The timing couldn't have been worse, right at the beginning of the school summer holidays too. It will be a disaster for all the local business people."
"Yes, I suppose it will. Never thought of that." The vicar stood staring up at the mountains with a wistful look on his face. "So what do you suggest, Constable? Do you think we should get out as soon as possible and try somewhere else?"
Evan glanced up at the hills, from which came the sporadic bleating of sheep. "You're all clergymen, you say? Then I suggest you gentlemen do some serious praying. We're going to need it."
EVAN ONLY KNOWS. Copyright © 2003 by Rhys Bowen. All rights reserved. No part of this book may be used or reproduced in any manner whatsoever without written permission except in the case of brief quotations embodied in critical articles or reviews. For information, address St. Martin's Press, 175 Fifth Avenue, New York, N.Y. 10010.
--This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

More About the Author

Rhys Bowen's books have been nominated for every major mystery award and she has won thirteen of them to date. She currently writes two historical mystery series, each very different in tone. The Molly Murphy mysteries feature an Irish immigrant woman in turn-of-the-century New York City. These books are multi-layered, complex stories with a strong sense of time and place and have won many awards including Agatha and Anthony. There are 13 book so far in this series plus two Kindle stories, The Amersham Rubies and The Face in the Mirror--a great way to introduce new readers to Molly's spunky personality.

Then there is Lady Georgie, Rhys's latest,and very popular, heroine. She's 35th in line to the throne of England, but she's flat broke and struggling to survive in the Great Depression. These books are lighter and funnier than Molly's adventures. They poke gentle fun at the British class system--about which Rhys knows a lot, having married into an upper class family rather like Georgie's, with cousins with silly nicknames,family ghosts and stately homes. The seventh book is called Heirs and Graces, and on November 5th The Twelve Clues of Christmas comes out in paperback, perfect timing for the holidays.
The series received the Readers Choice Award for favorite mystery series and Rhys was nominated for career achievement.

Rhys was born in Bath, England but spent time during her childhood with relatives in Wales. Those childhood experiences colored her first mystery series, about Constable Evans in the mountains of Snowdonia. 10 books including the Edgar nominee Evan's Gate. She has lived in Austria, Germany and Australia, but has called California her home for many years. She now escapes to a condo in Arizona during those cold California winters. When she's not writing she loves to travel, sing, hike, paint and play the Celtic harp.

Customer Reviews

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I love these books, good cozy reading.
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Each one is better than the last and they are hard to put down once one starts to read.
The female characters provide needed comic relief.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

8 of 8 people found the following review helpful By Harriet Klausner #1 HALL OF FAME on March 1, 2003
Format: Hardcover
Evan Evans grew up in South Wales, but fits in fine in the North Wales town of Llanfair as the townsfolk look upon him as one of their own. That situation changes dramatically when he's ordered to assist the Ministry of Agriculture workers about to destroy the farmers' sheep in an effort to stop the spread of foot-and-mouth disease. The villagers feel that Evan should push the government to test for the disease before any animal is destroyed.
The constable decides to escape the mess by traveling with his fiancée Bronwen to meet her parents and his mom. When they reach Swansea they learn that Tony Mancino is believed to have raped and killed the daughter of a powerful big shot in the community. If he is convicted he will get life. Tony killed Evan's father. Evan talks with Tony in an effort to find closure about his father's death but he comes away from the encounter convinced the thug is innocent of this crime. After wrestling with his conscience, he decides to search for the real killer, knowing that he will incur the wrath of his mother, the police and the townsfolk, all of who want to see Tony locked away for life.
Readers who like a bloodless cerebral who-done-it that captures the essence of Wales will want to read Evan Only Knows. The protagonist believes in immediate cause and effect justice even if it means helping his father's killer gain his freedom. Rhys Bowen is a master at characterizations, so much so that readers will feel as if they really know the people of Swansea. British police procedurals don't get better than this.
Harriet Klausner
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Amazon Customer on May 22, 2009
Format: Mass Market Paperback
This is a must read book in the series as Constable Evans faces his past. A quirky beginning propels Evan Evans out of Llanfair back to his home in South Wales. There Evan reveals his motives for moving to North Wales and faces the demons from his father's death. The female characters provide needed comic relief. His girlfriend, Bronwen's high energy globe-trotting mom is a complete contrast to Evans' homebody mother. Issues of loyalty and family weave through the surprisingly sophisticated plot. What kept me turning the pages to read this in one night was Evan's introspective struggle with moral issues. Evan's moral compass sets a higher standard than most fictional characters. It's ultimately satisfying to watch him peel back the layers and delve deeper until he finds not only the answer to the mystery but to some of his ethical quandries as well.

Elise Moore is a Christian writer. Visit her website [...]
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3 of 4 people found the following review helpful By charles falk VINE VOICE on May 17, 2003
Format: Hardcover
An entertaining mystery set in Wales, as gently witty as its title. Constable Evan Evans returns to Swansea on holiday in order to introduce his finacee, Bronwen, to his widowed mother. He finds that the ex-con who murdered his policeman father five years earlier has been arrested for the rape-murder of the daughter of a prominent local factory owner. Evans arranges to interview the accused, Tony Mancini, in jail and becomes convinced that he is innocent of the girl's death. Evan feels (unlikely as that may seem)duty-bound to pursue the real killer and exonerate Mancini.
The average reader may have identified the murderer and motive long before Constable Evans does, but Rhy Bowne keeps us entertained by humorous subplots: his mother's prickly personality, Bronwen's snobbish parents, an ex-girlfriend, and a refugee lamb. There is little violence, but enough suspense to keep the pages turning.
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11 of 16 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on April 4, 2004
Format: Mass Market Paperback
This series has swung from Disney to Grimm Brothers. The early fuzzy-bunny books were "charming" to the point of cloying, but if I have to choose one style or the other, I'll take the Disney style over the grimness of this book. I could not bear to read of the herds and flocks being destroyed. Bad enough it was all over the news; do I have to find it in my escape reading also? I'm going to be very careful about any Rhys Bowen purchases in the future, instead of treating her works as virtually auto-buys.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Lynda Pickler on June 14, 2013
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
Constable Evan series remind me of Maisie Dobbs Series ....I love them both! Fun followings their progress. I think anything Rhys Bowen writes is great.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Elaine on May 24, 2011
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
This group of books written by Rhys Bowen (some 17 titles) have been a delight to read. Each one is better than the last and they are hard to put down once one starts to read. They are easy read, have no/or very little objectional words, and no sex events described in the book. So...you see a book can be most enjoyable without objectional activity in the book.

My hats off to Rhys Bowen. I hope to read more of her books.
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2 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Dr. Cathy Goodwin TOP 1000 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on July 27, 2003
Format: Hardcover
I've enjoyed all of Rhys Bowen's books, including this one.
Evan does not want to be around to enforce the Ministry's rules for handling livestock in the foot-and-mouth disease epidemic. WIth a bit of help from a superior officer, he's off the duty roster and heading for Swansea with his fiance, Bronwen. The couple visits both sets of parents, starting wtih Evan's mother, an overly concerned soul who sends her love through her cooking.
Coincidentally, Tony Mancini is arrested for the murder of a young lady from Swansea. Tony already served time for shooting Evan's father, which he claimed was accidental. Evan begins to wonder if Tony really did murder Allison and, going out on a limb, begins to investigate.
Evan's investigation keeps the pages turning. Bronwen gets involved because she looks young and young people will talk to her like an equal. The ending is a little disappointing, as the motive seems to echo other novels of recent years.
And it's not too hard to guess the ending.
As usual, Bowen serves up vivid descriptions of Wales and sets a lively pace. However, by moving the action south, we lose some local village charm. And the horror of complying with requirements to prevent the spread of foot-and-mouth disease casts a disturbing shadow on an otherwise light-hearted novel. Then again, in real life, this disease cast a shadow on this otherwise delightful world.
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