This time last year I reviewed another Frances Brody novel; Death of an Avid Reader. That was the first I had read in the Kate Shackleton series, though it was the sixth book to have been published, and A Death in the Dales is the seventh to follow the adventures of Kate Shackleton, an amateur detective working just after the end of the First World War.
This story finds her relocated from her home in Leeds to a small village in the Yorkshire dales, where she takes her niece to recuperate from diphtheria. Whilst there, of course, she gets embroiled in a number of mysterious circumstances; a missing boy, a decades-old murder, and an illicit affair.
As I mentioned in my previous review, these stories are known as cosy crime. They aren’t going to portray gruesome murders and terrifying crimes; it’s all about the gradual solving of the mystery by Kate Shackleton. In the manner of Jessica Fletcher in Murder She Wrote, mystery seems to follow her around, even on holiday she can’t escape it!
It’s no surprise that the seemingly separate mysteries of murder, affairs of the heart and missing children are woven together, and there’s a lot of fun to be had in guessing which way things are going to turn next. Frances Brody has created a strong female heroine who is completely of her time; a woman who has had to carve out a life for herself in a post-war world where nothing is as it was before. The supporting characters are all fairly recognisable bit-part players in this kind of story, but are no less entertaining for it.
Fans of Agatha Christie would find lots to love with the Kate Shackleton series; she might not be Miss Marple or Hercule Poirot, but she’d run them pretty close.
A Death in the Dales
First published: 1st October 2015
Review copy provided by publisher