A Death in the Dales by Frances Brody
|A Death in the Dales by Frances Brody
|Category: Crime (Historical)
|Reviewer: Sue Magee
|Summary: The seventh book in the series and there's no sign that it's getting at all tired - in fact it's going from strength to strength. Ingenious, well researched and a darned good read. Highly recommended. Frances Brody popped into Bookbag Towers to chat to us.
|Date: October 2015
|External links: Author's website
Kate Shackleton's niece, Harriet, was recovering from diphtheria and Kate decided to take her away to the country for a fortnight to help her recuperate. Her friend - and would-be suitor - Dr Lucian Simonson had inherited a house in Langcliffe from his aunt Freda and Kate was pleased to accept the offer of the property for a couple of weeks. There was a hidden message that she might also see if she'd like to make her residence there more permanent, but Kate was in no hurry to make her mind up about remarriage. Her private investigations suited her well and it wasn't long before she was approached to look into a crime which had troubled Lucian's Aunt Freda. The old lady had witnessed a murder, but her evidence was dismissed and she went to her grave believing that the wrong man had gone to the gallows.
I'm often asked what I read for enjoyment, which books I would choose to take away on holiday with me. This year the answer was simple: with a Kate Shackleton mystery to hand, we set off for Yorkshire's east coast - and I had a niggling regret that we weren't heading for the Settle area because one of the many wonderful points about Frances Brody's Kate Shackleton stories is that you can walk the book. Her research into suitable locations for her mysteries is meticulous and you get a real taste of what the area was like in the twenties. In fact you get a feeling for the twenties - the scourge that was diphtheria, the way people lived and the attitudes.
It's not just a period piece though - this is a very good story and deceptively complex. We start with a shoe box of papers which Freda Simonson had accumulated about the murder of Rufus Holroyd - and I did wonder where this was going. A man had already paid the ultimate penalty - and that obviously could not be put right - but I needn't have worried. In Brody's hands the investigation took on a life of its own - and then there were the other problems which floated Kate's way: the local landowner's wife who wanted some indiscreet letters retrieved from their recipient and Harriet made friends with a young girl whose younger brother had gone missing. It all blends into a very satisfying whole.
We do get more than a glimpse of Mrs Sugden, Kate Shackleton's housekeeper, and Sykes, her assistant, but don't worry if these names mean nothing to you. This book would read perfectly well as a standalone, but you will get more out of it if you've read the earlier books - and why deprive yourself of the pleasure? I didn't unravel the mystery, but the solution was very satisfying.
I'd like to thank the publishers for sending a copy to the Bookbag.
It's very difficult to recommend further reading which comes up to the standard of the Kate Shackleton books, but we have enjoyed Sara Sheridan's Mirabelle Bevan Mysteries.
Frances Brody was kind enough to be interviewed by Bookbag.
You can read more book reviews or buy A Death in the Dales by Frances Brody at Amazon.co.uk Amazon currently charges £2.99 for standard delivery for orders under £20, over which delivery is free.
You can read more book reviews or buy A Death in the Dales by Frances Brody at Amazon.com.
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