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review 2017-02-09 03:32
Secrets and Small-Town Lies
A Death in the Dales (Kate Shackleton Mysteries) - Frances Brody

The latest in this savvy historical mystery takes Kate to a small town full of dark secrets. A mystery that is also a character(s) study. Worth the read!

Reviewed for Affaire de Coeur Magazine: http://affairedecoeur.com.

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review 2015-10-02 13:19
A Death in the Dales (Kate Shackleton Mysteries) - Frances Brody

I received a copy of this book from the publishers and this is my honest opinion of the book.


Kate Shackleton has taken her niece, Harriet, to the countryside to recuperate after an illness. It will also give Kate time to assess her relationship with Lucian Simonson. Staying in Lucian's deceased Aunt Freda's home Kate becomes aware that Freda was a witness to a murder 10 years previously and that she was adamant that the wrong person had been convicted and hung for the crime. Kate is at first reluctant to

Although this is only the second Kate Shackleton book I have read it was lovely to be back with the characters of Kate, Mr Sykes and Mrs Sugden. This time they are joined by Kate's niece, Harriet, who adds another element to the story, keen as she is to be a detective, like her aunt.


The scenery and characters are well drawn. I could easily picture the village and the locals, some of whom have secrets to hide. The atmosphere and feel of the 1920s was portrayed in a great way and I found myself transported back to what I imagine a country village on 1926 would be like.


The mystery was engaging. Was the wrong man hanged ten years ago for the brutal murder of the local pub landlord? Another suspicious death throws confusion into the mix. What does the disappearance of a young boy and an old affair that ended years ago have to do with it. It was lovely to read along and play armchair detective, seeing if I could guess the culprit.


The Kate Shackleton investigations are what I like to call 'gentle' murder mysteries, if you'll excuse the oxymoron. The blood, guts and gore aren't there and this was a time before DNA so investigations are centred on brain power unsupported by science. There's no swearing, violence is hidden and social hierarchy is shown to be important. They are books to curl up with on a rainy day, between episodes of Poirot and Miss Marple.


This is the seventh book in the series and though I prefer to read a series in order this could be read as a standalone. Whilst I'm waiting for the next book I'll just have to go back to the beginning.

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review 2015-10-01 08:28
A Death in the Dales blog tour
A Death in the Dales (Kate Shackleton Mysteries) - Frances Brody



Frances Brody


Published in paperback original by Piatkus, on October 1st 2015, price £8.99

The new fantastically quirky crime novel featuring amateur sleuth extraordinaire Kate Shackleton


A murder most foul



When the landlord of a Yorkshire tavern is killed in plain sight, Freda Simonson, the only witness to the crime, becomes plagued with guilt, believing the wrong man has been convicted. Following her death, it seems that the truth will never be uncovered in the peaceful village of Langcliffe . . .


A village of secrets


But it just so happens that Freda's nephew is courting the renowned amateur sleuth Kate Shackleton, who decides to holiday in Langcliffe with her indomitable teenage niece, Harriet. When Harriet strikes up a friendship with a local girl whose young brother is missing, the search leads Kate to uncover another suspicious death, not to mention an illicit affair.


The case of a lifetime



As the present mysteries merge with the past's mistakes, Kate is thrust into the secrets that Freda left behind and realises that this courageous woman has entrusted her with solving a murder from beyond the grave. It soon becomes clear to her that nothing in Langcliffe is quite as it appears, and with a murderer on the loose and an ever-growing roster of suspects, this isn't the holiday Kate was expecting.




I was quite trilled when I was given a chance to read the latest Kate Shackleton book since this is a series I have been meaning to try out but never got to. 


Amateur sleuth Kate Shackleton and her niece Harriet is on holiday in the little village of Langcliffe. Harriet has recently recovered from diphtheria and Kate thought it would be good for her to get away from the town and spend two weeks in the country. Kate is also planning to spend some time with Lucian Simonson, the local doctor to see if they have a future together and its his late aunt's hour they are living in during their stay. But it seems that Lucian aunt all along wanted to meet Kate and to get Kate to help her clear an innocent man's name. It seems that 10 years prior to the present day in the book a man was killed and Freda witness the murderer, but she is convinced that the wrong man was convicted.  Now it seems that Kate has a new mission.


This is the kind of book you want to curl up in the sofa with and with a large cup of tea or coffee. It's a cozy mystery book and it was no problem whatsoever getting into the story and get to know the characters. I did think the pacing of the book was a bit slow and I felt that not much happened for a while in the book other than Kate trying to find out the truth about the murder and looking after Harriet. The town's people are quite convinced that the right man was convicted for the murder and it's been ten years since the murder so Kate hasn't got that much to go on. So much of the book was spent trying to find anyone that would have motive and means to kill the poor man. But towards the ending it got better when it pieces started to come to together. And, Frances Brody really manages to write an ending I never expected. I'm really impressed with that. 

One thing I reflected on while I read the book was that Kate didn't seem that in love with Lucian. She is contemplating a future as a doctor's wife, but I really didn't feel any passion between them. It felt more like two old friends when they were together. I have only read this book, but I feel that she really needs someone more passionate than Lucian. I hope she finds him. 

It was a good book. I enjoyed reading it. The pacing could have been better, but I do look forward to reading more books in this series especially the books before because I curious to learn more about Kate and her family.


Thank you Piatkus for providing me with a free copy for an honest review!


Frances Brody is the author of the Kate Shackleton mysteries, as well as many stories and plays for BBC Radio, scripts for television and four sagas, one of which won the HarperCollins Elizabeth Elgin Award. Her stage plays have been toured by several theatre companies and produced at Manchester Library Theatre, the Gate and Nottingham Playhouse, and Jehad was nominated for a Time Out Award.









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review 2015-04-13 17:12
Dying in the Wool (Kate Shackleton
Dying In the Wool - Frances Brody

Kate, a still-young, well-to-do war widow has found herself doing amateur detective work here and there. An old VAD friend asks her to do so professionally. Her father has been missing for years, presumed a suicide. Kate has a tight schedule to solve a disappearance before the Braithwaite wedding. 


The first chapter of the novel does not flow and does a great deal of showing-not-telling while I was still reeling from the first person past tense. That alone was worth docking a half-star. Readers, do not let that deter you! The story will pick up pace very quickly, and while it's not on par with the later Kate Shackleton novels, it's entertaining and fun to read.

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text 2015-04-07 16:00
I started on Kate Shackleton's first adventure...

Oof. Let me tell you, the author has improved by leaps by A Medal for Murder, and bounds by Murder in the Afternoon. (Perhaps tellingly, the latter is dedicated to her assistant, Amy Sophie McNeil.) If I hadn't read those two before starting this, I might never have gone on - which would have been a shame! Here, the characters and the setting are just as well thought out, and I expect the ensuing mystery will be just as cleverly constructed, but the storytelling is amateurish, expository - the worst kind of telling-not-showing. And, were I the author, I would have thought twice about having so many references to manure in the first chapter.

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