A Woman Unknown: (Kate Shackleton Mysteries) by Frances Brody

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A Woman Unknown: (Kate Shackleton Mysteries) by Frances Brody

Category: Crime (Historical)
Rating: 4.5/5
Reviewer: Sue Magee
Reviewed by Sue Magee
Summary: Fourth in the series but it reads well as a standalone and has great characters, superb location and an elegant plot. Highly recommended.
Buy? Yes Borrow? Yes
Pages: 384 Date: March 2013
Publisher: Piatkus
External links: Author's website
ISBN: 978-0749954970

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Deirdre Fitzpatrick has a rather strange marriage - just how strange we'll find out. Her husband is generally well meaning - but he hires Kate Shackleton to find out where his wife goes when she says that she's taking care of her mother. Everett Runcie might be described as well meaning, but only in circumstances where you go on to describe his shortcomings. He's a banker facing ruin and his rich, American wife will no longer tolerate his infidelities or pay for his mistakes. She wants a divorce. Back in the early nineteen twenties divorce wasn't readily available, but one way was for adultery to be proved and many an accommodating husband would provide the grounds. Only - on this occasion - the chambermaid who expected to find a couple in bed together found Everett Runcie's body.

Before you go any further there's a couple of things which you ought to know. I'm not a great fan of historical crime and less of a fan of books where the investigation is undertaken by an enthusiastic amateur, who gets to the solution streets ahead of the police. Normally it's a book I would have passed over, but I looked at the cover and realised that I knew that building - and I started reading. I loved it from page one until I got to the end.

Initially it was the character of Kate Shackleton which appealed to me. It some time since the war ended but she's still not come to terms with whether she is - or isn't - a war widow. Her husband Gerald didn't return from the front - he's reported missing - but his body (like so many others) was never found. She does her best to move on without really going anywhere and the relationship with a senior policeman seems doomed to failure, but is it because she wonders if Gerald might yet be found or because she's not certain about the extent to which she would ever be a part of Marcus Charles' life?

The plot is neat, elegantly constructed and with the sort of twists which mean that you'll go back and read it again. You might know who did it, but there's still be the joy of seeing the how develop. The writing is a real pleasure to read and it's supported by a real knowledge of the times - how people acted, how they got around things and how they made life work. There's a sense too of an author who knows far more than she's telling about the time and the place.

Talking of the place - Leeds is just about a character in its own right. I first knew the city in the sixties when Leeds was not that much changed from how it had been in the twenties and I walked the streets with Kate. It was a delightful trip through memory.

I'd like to thank the publisher for sending a copy to the Bookbag.

Although it's set just after another war we think that you might also enjoy London Calling: a Mirabelle Bevan Mystery by Sara Sheridan.

Frances Brody's Kate Shackleton Mysteries in Chronological Order

Buy A Woman Unknown: (Kate Shackleton Mysteries) by Frances Brody at Amazon You can read more book reviews or buy A Woman Unknown: (Kate Shackleton Mysteries) by Frances Brody at Amazon.co.uk.

Buy A Woman Unknown: (Kate Shackleton Mysteries) by Frances Brody at Amazon You can read more book reviews or buy A Woman Unknown: (Kate Shackleton Mysteries) by Frances Brody at Amazon.com.


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