NC Literary Hall of Fame



A Teen's Christmas in Wales: The 14th Penny Weaver Mystery by Judy Hogan

Judy Hogan
$15.00, paperback / $2.99, e-book
ISBN: 979-8-680249888
Fiction: Mystery
November, 2020
Available from

"A Teen’s Christmas in Wales reminds us that racism knows no boundaries. Penny, Kenneth, grandson Seb, and his Black girlfriend, Naomi, spend Christmas on Gower, Wales. When Naomi confronts Fergus, a middle-aged white man, with the new information that King Arthur was Black, there is an ugly confrontation. Later a retired attorney hears how Fergus treated Naomi. 'I’ve met a few people who needed sorting out. Can you share any tips?' Still later Penny tells Naomi, 'Have you thought about people who go through life in a certain role and that’s how they get through the day. They want the people around them to be familiar, to have the same politics and attitudes, but they don’t go deep into their thoughts and feelings, not like you and Seb already do.' Besides racism, the teens confront other challenges which they see as wrongs. The novel ends on a high note—a wonderful read for any season."
—Mary Susan Heath, author of Legs Astride the World

"In A Teen’s Christmas in Wales, Judy Hogan’s third mystery set on the Gower Peninsula, Penny and her husband Kenneth stay at Tormentil Hall, a bed and breakfast with the sea at its back door. This time Penny and Kenneth are chaperoning her grandson Seb and his girlfriend Naomi. The adults planned a busy agenda to keep the teens out of trouble. But the best laid plans go astray: a murder occurs, and Seb and Naomi along with two Gower friends Bridget and Guy, try to solve the mystery and become involved in a scary series of events that keep the reader in suspense. Of Judy’s 14 mysteries, the Gower ones are my favorites; and this last one with the two 14-year-old 'half-rascal, half brilliant, altogether darlings' (according to Penny’s friend Lucy) has touched my heart most."
—Katherine Wolfe, author of Time That Has Gone

"Seb, grandson of Penny Weaver and incapable of going unnoticed, travels to Wales with his chosen mate for life, Naomi. Naomi, unable to remain unnoticed, enriches the experiences of all as the two explore the caves and caverns of salty seacoasts and psyches. Judy Hogan delivers her 14th new mystery, A Teen's Christmas in Wales, by slaying the veiled boundaries of race, class, age, and gender with delicious breakthroughs. What other social endeavor offers up such stunning treats as Naomi, Seb, and Penny sharing food, weather, and curious intellect with an entire town, and their guests, during a holiday season? This delightful read, with elegant poetic quotes from Dylan Thomas’s A Child’s Christmas in Wales, is a 'calling in' for readers to explore their own intersections within their daily lives. Salt of the earth it is."
—Anne Stone, rich in lore and words.

Judy Hogan’s newest book is The Death of a Hell-Razor: The Ninth Penny Weaver Mystery. Her grandmother's diary: Grace: A China Diary, 1910-16 came out from Wipf and Stock in 2017. Her first two mystery novels, Killer Frost (2012) and Farm Fresh and Fatal (2013) were first published by Mainly Murder Press in CT. Her third, The Sands of Gower, which is the first one written, was published December 1, 2015 by Hoganvillaea Books. The second one written, Haw, was published May 1, 2016. Nuclear Apples? and Formaldehyde, Rooster came out in September and December 2016. Political Peaches, the reprinted Killer Frost, and the reprinted Farm Fresh and Fatal came out in 2018, as well as Tormentil Hall and The Death of a Hell-Razor. Judy founded Carolina Wren Press (1976-91) and was co-editor of Hyperion Poetry Journal (1970-81). She has published seven volumes of poetry and three nonfiction works with independent presses. She has taught all forms of creative writing since 1974. In 1983 she helped found the North Carolina Writers’ Network and served as its first president (1984-7). She joined Sisters in Crime in 2007 and has focused on writing and publishing traditional mystery novels. In 2011 she was a finalist in the St. Martin’s Malice Domestic Mystery contest for Killer Frost. In 2015 she decided to set up Hoganvillaea Books, her own publishing imprint, in order to publish more of her mysteries. The Sands of Gower: The First Penny Weaver Mystery was her first release under this new imprint. Her Penny Weaver series takes up interracial community issues. Most of the novels take place in the central North Carolina fictional village of Riverdell, but three take place on the Gower Peninsula in Wales where Penny meets and falls in love with Kenneth Morgan, a Welsh Detective Inspector. She has written 17 Penny Weaver mysteries, and will continue to publish them. In 2019 the first of 4 books about her experiences in Russia and with Russians, Baba Summer, Part One, will come out from Adelaide Books of New York. The twists and turns of Hogan’s life’s path over the years have given her plenty to write about. She is also a small farmer, a community activist, currently trying to stop coal ash dumping in her community. She lives in Moncure, near Jordan Lake.

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