Murder on a Summer's Day: (Kate Shackleton Mysteries) by Frances Brody
|Murder on a Summer's Day: (Kate Shackleton Mysteries) by Frances Brody|
|Category: Crime (Historical)|
|Reviewer: Sue Magee|
|Summary: The 5th book in the Kate Shackleton series is the best yet - great plot, excellent characters and a location to die for. Highly recommended.|
|Buy? Yes||Borrow? Yes|
|Pages: 416||Date: October 2013|
|External links: Author's website|
It was Kate Shackleton's cousin in the India Office who sought her help to find Maharajah Narayan who had gone out hunting on the Bolton Abbey Estate and not returned, although his horse - a flighty Arab - returned riderless. The following morning a body was found - but this proved to be one of the grooms who had accompanied Narayan earlier in the day. Had he slipped jumping across the Strid and drowned? The jump across the river Wharfe looked tempting and people were warned of the dangers, but it was known that young men regularly crossed that way rather than walking to the wooden bridge or the stepping stones. Later in the day Narayan's body was found. He'd been shot through the heart and a clumsy attempt had been made to hide the body - but only Kate Shackleton believed that there was foul play. The authorities seemed determined that what had happened would be written off as a tragic accident.
Kate Shackleton is probably my favourite detective at the moment - and that's coming from someone who groans at the thought of the enthusiastic amateur getting involved in detection and who's not that keen on historical crime. She's a widow, who began looking for missing people accidentally but it's grown into a business which employs an assistant - an ex-policeman. She's shrewd and I felt that I knew her well before I finished the first of the five books I've now read. But every character in the book comes off the page well - even the people you only meet fleetingly. It's not quite a cast of thousands - but when Indian princes arrive on the scene very few of them do it without an entourage and Civil Servants seem to appear en masse - but Frances Brody marshalls them with skill and I was never left wondering who was who. That's the mark of an exceptional writer.
I've known the location - Bolton Abbey - for sixty years and Brody has it perfectly. You could go there today and walk the plot. What happens fits perfectly into a real landscape and as it would have happened some ninety years ago. The Great War is still fresh in people's minds and Kate is only just beginning to get over the loss of her husband at the front. Brody has the manners of the time - the prejudices - perfectly. Lydia Metcalfe, the daughter of a local farmer, has caught the affections of the Maharajah Narayan and it seems that he was going to make her his second wife, but her family regard her as 'no better than she ought to be' and the couple can't stay with the upper echelons of local society, despite Narayan's position.
But it's the plot you want to know about isn't it? Well, it's brilliant. On the face of it there might have been 'a tragic accident' but could Narayan's shooting of a white doe have had repercussions? Could Lydia's father have taken exception to the position his daughter was placed in? Was there a connection with the death of the young groom? The more Kate looks the more complex the situation appears - and when you bring in Indian politics the possibilities seem endless. But there was a sigh of satisfaction when Brody tied it up so well. I'd like to thank the publishers for sending a copy to the Bookbag.
You can read the books in any order - I began with the fourth and then went back to the beginning - but if this book appeals then you could go back to the first book and read them in order. I doubt that you'll regret it!
You can read more book reviews or buy Murder on a Summer's Day: (Kate Shackleton Mysteries) by Frances Brody at Amazon.co.uk
You can read more book reviews or buy Murder on a Summer's Day: (Kate Shackleton Mysteries) by Frances Brody at Amazon.com.
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