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by Piatkus, 6 October 2016. ISBN: 978-0-349-40658-9
Kate Shackleton first became
an investigator after the Great War when she developed her detective skills to
hunt for her husband, Gerald, who was listed at Missing In Action. Soon Kate
was helping other distressed and desperate people to seek out their missing
loved ones and this turned into a Private Investigation business, still
focusing mainly on locating the missing.
years after the end of the War Kate received proof that Gerald was dead and she
has learned to accept her loss. However, her detection business continues to
thrive, aided by her assistant, Jim Sykes, and her housekeeper, Mrs Sugden.
is the middle of the summer and Kate and her assistants all agree that nothing
happens in August and they might as well take a well-earned break from
detection. They depart to their holiday destinations, all of them in Yorkshire.
Kate chooses Whitby, the seaside resort where she and Gerald first met and
became engaged. It is also the town where Kate’s old school friend, Alma,
lives. Alma’s daughter, Felicity, is Kate’s god-daughter and Kate is very fond
the first afternoon of Kate’s holiday she makes a nostalgic visit to the
jeweller’s shop where Gerald had bought her engagement ring and discovers the
shop owner dead in his back room. Things get even more complicated when Kate
hears that Felicity has disappeared. Worse is to follow. Alma’s husband had
vanished years before and she is scraping a precarious living as a fortune
teller on Whitby pier. She had hopes of marrying the jeweller but everybody
else who knew him was convinced that marriage to Alma did not figure in his
plans. Kate realises that Alma could be suspected of lashing out in anger if
she discovered the unwelcome truth. Even more worrying for Kate is the
knowledge that Felicity has never ceased to hope her father would return. It is
known that she went to the jeweller’s shop to pawn the watchguard that is her
family’s only valuable possession. Kate is racked by the fear that Felicity
resented the jeweller’s attentions to her mother enough to lash out and kill
him and then ran away in panic.
the local police sergeant indicates that he suspects Kate of involvement in the
murder and of signalling to smugglers, she knows she needs help to discover the
truth. Fortunately, both Jim Sykes and Mrs Sugden are happy to cut short their
holidays and rally round.
Death at the
is the eighth book in the Kate Shackleton series and it is definitely a series
that moved from strength to strength. Kate is a delightful protagonist, honest,
honourable and brave. She is a wonderful depiction of the young, childless
widows that were so numerous after the First World War; not bitter but regretful
and taking a strong interest in the nieces, nephews and godchildren who, in
some measure, fill the gap left by the children she never had. All the other
characters are skilfully portrayed and, although this is part of a series, it
is not necessary to have read the earlier books to enjoy this novel. Although I
would recommend any reader who likes historical crime fiction to read them all
– you are in for a treat. The plot is intriguing and, true to its title, Death
at the Seaside has superb descriptions of Whitby and its surrounding
countryside. Definitely a page turner.
Frances Brodyis 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,
Carol Westronis a successful short
story writer and a Creative Writing teacher.She is the moderator for the cosy/historical crime panel, The Deadly
Dames.Her crime novels are set both in
contemporary and Victorian times.The
Terminal Velocity of Cats is the first in her Scene of Crimes novels, was published
July 2013. Her latest book The Fragility
of Poppies was published 10 June 2016.