Murder In The Afternoon: (Kate Shackleton Mysteries) by Frances Brody

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Murder In The Afternoon: (Kate Shackleton Mysteries) by Frances Brody

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Buy Murder In The Afternoon: (Kate Shackleton Mysteries) by Frances Brody at Amazon.co.uk or Amazon.com

Category: Crime (Historical)
Rating: 4.5/5
Reviewer: Sue Magee
Reviewed by Sue Magee
Summary: The third book in the Kate Shackleton series set in 1920s Yorkshire continues the high standard set by the earlier two books. Twisty plot, great location and well-drawn characters. What more can you ask?
Buy? Yes Borrow? Yes
Pages: 400 Date: March 2012
Publisher: Piatkus
External links: Author's website
ISBN: 978-0749954871

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Kate Shackleton's business as a private investigator is beginning to attract interest but when there's a loud banging on the door very early one morning she soon learns the truth of the old adage that when family comes in, money doesn't. The visitor looks familiar but Kate can't quite place where she's seen the woman before. Eventually it emerges that Mary Jane Armstrong is Kate's sister. Kate was adopted as a baby and knew nothing of her natural family but Mary Jane needs help. Her children had taken food for their father at the quarry where he worked and ten-year-old Harriet reported finding her father dead on the floor of the hut, but when searchers returned to the quarry there was no sign of a body or of Ethan Armstrong either. Local opinion said that her husband had abandoned them, but Mary Jane believed her daughter.

You won't find the village of Great Applewick on any map but if you know this part of Yorkshire then you'll know exactly what sort of place it is. With work available at the local quarry the villagers are above subsistence level but the quarry needs to expand and that can only be into farmland. There are those for and those against but Ethan Armstrong has always been politically motivated. He's either loved or loathed in the village and there's not a lot of difficulty in believing that he might have left his family. They're living in a tied house and a mason who's getting married has mixed feelings: he was apprenticed to Armstrong and owes him a lot, but if he's gone then the house might be available.

Kate's assisted in her business by ex-policeman Jim Sykes, an excellent creation. He's resourceful (and a great travelling salesman!) but much narrower in his thinking than Kate Shackleton. She'll see avenues he doesn't see - and is capable of seeing a solution which is outside the law - anathema to Sykes, who's still a policeman at heart. They work well together though - on and off the page. Frances Brody has a sure touch when it comes to characterisation - even minor characters come fully clothed.

The plot is superb too. I had quite a few people chalked in as the villain but never even considered the real perpetrator despite the fact that when I looked back it was perfectly obvious. It's a meaty story too with a real feel for the twenties. There's a lot going on but Brody handles all the different plot lines supremely well. I'd like to thank the publishers for sending a copy to the Bookbag.

The test of a good series is whether or not you tire of them - or spot the formula - if you read a few of them in quick succession. I've read the first three books in the series in a matter of a couple of weeks and my only regret is that I have to wait some months for book five to appear. The last time I experienced a similar pleasure was when I read the early Alan Banks books by Peter Robinson as a treat one Christmas.

Frances Brody's Kate Shackleton Mysteries in Chronological Order

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Buy Murder In The Afternoon: (Kate Shackleton Mysteries) by Frances Brody at Amazon You can read more book reviews or buy Murder In The Afternoon: (Kate Shackleton Mysteries) by Frances Brody at Amazon.co.uk Amazon currently charges £2.99 for standard delivery for orders under £20, over which delivery is free.
Buy Murder In The Afternoon: (Kate Shackleton Mysteries) by Frances Brody at Amazon You can read more book reviews or buy Murder In The Afternoon: (Kate Shackleton Mysteries) by Frances Brody at Amazon.com.

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