Dying In The Wool: (Kate Shackleton Mysteries) by Frances Brody
|Dying In The Wool: (Kate Shackleton Mysteries) by Frances Brody
|Category: Crime (Historical)
|Reviewer: Sue Magee
|Summary: The first book in the Kate Shackleton series is a great opener; it's got the period and the location perfectly. The characters come off the page and shake your hand. The pace is great and the plot had me guessing until the final pages. Brilliant!
|Date: October 2009
|External links: Author's website
Kate Shackleton had gained something of a reputation for solving mysteries and there were plenty of those at the end of the Great War. She tracked down men who were then reunited with their families and even those who had no wish to be found and were not reunited. She had her own reasons for doing this - it made her feel more positive about her own situation. Her husband Gerald was posted missing, presumed dead in the last year of the war and it was the one mystery she couldn't solve, no matter how she tried. But her successes in other areas led to her first professional investigation.
Tabitha Braithwaite was getting married but there was a problem which she couldn't get over - or round. Some years earlier her father had gone missing in strange circumstances. It appeared that he'd tried to commit suicide (in those days it was a criminal offence) but had gone missing the following day and had not been seen or heard from since. Joshua Braithwaite was a mill owner and wealthy, but his absence seemed to have been strangely unlamented other than by Tabitha and it did happen at the same time as the Low Moor mill explosions which cost many lives. Braithwaite's absence must have seemed rather low on the list of priorities. Tabitha felt that he was still alive and she was determined that he would walk her down the aisle on her wedding day. When she called in Kate Shackleton that was only a matter of a few weeks away.
Sometimes even book reviewers on a tight schedule have to have a treat and over the Bank Holiday mine has been to go back to the beginning of a series that's intrigued me. A few months ago I loved A Woman Unknown by Frances Brody, but it was the fourth book in the Kate Shackleton series and I've been longing to know if the series was improving as it went along (even Rebus didn't start out that impressively) or if I'd found something really special. I think it's the latter, because Dying in the Wool is superb.
The period is pitch perfect. If you listen very carefully you can still hear the echo of the guns from the other side of the channel, with the mills recovering from the slump after they made all that khaki. The location is nowhere you'll find on a map but if you know mill country you'll be able to hear the rumble of the machinery and you'll understand what the life was like. Kate Shackleton is a superb creation - of her time but somehow determined to move beyond its restraints and she's perfectly offset by her assistant, Sykes - a former policeman who thinks that he doesn't look like a former policeman. It's the plot that's the best bit though - and it really had me guessing until the final few pages. Superb. I'd like to thank the publishers for sending a copy to the Bookbag.
If this book appeals then we think that you might also enjoy The Kingdom of Bones by Stephen Gallagher.
You can read more book reviews or buy Dying In The Wool: (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.
You can read more book reviews or buy Dying In The Wool: (Kate Shackleton Mysteries) by Frances Brody at Amazon.com.
Like to comment on this review?
Just send us an email and we'll put the best up on the site.