Death at the Seaside by Frances Brody
|Death at the Seaside by Frances Brody
|Category: Crime (Historical)
|Reviewer: Sue Magee
|Summary: The eighth book in the Kate Shackleton mysteries moves to Yorkshire's east coast for a neatly plotted tale which proves to be a busman's holiday for the sleuth.
|Date: October 2016
|External links: Author's website
Kate Shackleton felt that she needed a holiday and since it was August when nothing ever happened, she decided that it was the ideal time to visit her friend Alma and goddaughter Felicity in Whitby. The timing was good too - Mrs Sugden was going to visit her cousin in Scarborough and Jim Sykes was taking his family to Robin Hood's Bay. Perfect! Well, it would have been except for a couple of things...
In Whitby Kate walked past the jewellers where she and her late husband had bought her wedding and engagement rings. Would she always think of this with sadness each time she passed the shop? Might it not be better to go in and buy a bracelet for her goddaughter (she had her eye on something in the window) so that there was something positive with which to associate the shop? She went in - only to find the jeweller dead in front of his open safe.
As if this wasn't bad enough, Felicity was missing and Alma was, not unreasonably, beside herself. It wasn't that she'd been abducted, or come to some harm in Whitby. Felicity had left a note for her mother saying that she was going away for a while and another note for Kate, saying that she was sorry to miss her visit. So Felicity obviously expected to be away for more than a fortnight, but where had she gone and why?
Any Kate Shackleton mystery is a treat: the series is well-written, carefully plotted and there's always a brilliant evocation of time and place. Frances Brody goes to a great deal of trouble to get this right. I'll confess to preferring the books about the areas in and around Leeds, because I can walk the plot along with Shackleton: Whitby's not really a town I know that well. As a child we always went to Scarborough and for some reason Whitby was rather frowned upon, but Death at the Seaside has given me a taste for the place. I'm determined to go and then reread the book.
And that's the great thing about the Kate Shackleton stories: the next time around you might know who killed the vicar, or whoever, but you'll have the added pleasure of seeing how it was done, because Frances Brody doesn't cheat and produce some piece of information right at the end which explains everything: all the clues are there. On a second read you have the joy of saying Ah, that's why... I'm already looking forward to the next book in the series.
I'd like to thank the publishers for sending a copy to the Bookbag.
The book is set in a slightly later period - the nineteen fifties rather than the late nineteen twenties - but we think that you'll find Mirabelle Bevan to be a similarly engaging sleuth. For more from Whitby, try The Chinaman's Bastard by Amanda Taylor.
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