As a founder member of Mystery Women in 1997, promoting Crime Fiction has always been my passion.
Following the closure of Mystery Women, a new group was formed on 30th January 2012 promoting crime fiction.
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Published by Piatkus, 2 October 2014.
Lady private detectives are thin on the ground here in
the 21st century; in the 1920s they were almost unheard of,
especially outside London. But crime, mystery and fiction know neither temporal
nor geographical boundaries, and Kate Shackleton, Frances Brody’s former VAD
nurse turned private eye, is never short of cases to investigate.
of an Avid Reader is based largely
around the Leeds Library, a real place which in 2014 is still very much alive,
and one of the few surviving independent subscription libraries in the UK. The
story opens, however, with a trip to London, where Kate has been summoned by an
aristocratic lady with a secret past.
quest to find the lady’s long-lost daughter intersects with her attempt to help
quash rumours of a ghost at the Library – but the discovery of the murdered
body of a well-respected member of the institution soon takes precedence,
especially when the police light upon a suspect who Kate is convinced is
of the series will be familiar with the background and supporting cast: Sykes,
Kate’s ex-policeman sidekick; Mrs Sugden her outspoken housekeeper; Sookie the
cat; the Jowett motor car. All are present and correct, along with a well-drawn
1920s Leeds which is still recognizable ninety years later. Kate herself is
fiercely independent, determined, astute and neither squeamish nor lacking in
would be easy to classify this series as cosy crime, but it doesn’t fit neatly
into that category. The language fits the period; women didn’t swear, and men
watched their tongues in female company. But Brody describes bodies and
injuries in sufficient matter-of-fact detail; and she doesn’t draw back from
less savoury topics such as incest, adultery and violent death.
of an Avid Reader, the plotlines ultimately weave together neatly, but with
more than a few intriguing tangles along the way. And as a bonus, a cute
Capuchin monkey makes a guest appearance!
a pseudonym of Frances McNeil who lives in Leeds where she was born and grew
up. She worked in the USA as a secretary in Washington DC and New York. Frances
studied at Ruskin College, Oxford and read English Literature and History at
York University.Starting her writing life in radio, she has written scripts for
television and theatre. Frances turned to crime for her first novel, Dying
in the Wool, set on the outskirts of Bradford, Yorkshire in the
1920s.Four further books have followed
featuring Kate Shackleton,
Lynne Patrick has been a writer ever since she could pick up a pen,
and has enjoyed success with short stories, reviews and feature journalism, but
never, alas, with a novel. She crossed to the dark side to become a publisher
for a few years, and is proud to have launched several careers which are now
burgeoning. She lives on the edge of rural Derbyshire in a house groaning with
books, about half of them crime fiction.