I’m delighted to be today’s stop on the blog tour for DEATH AT THE SEASIDE by Frances Brody.
Title: Death at the Seaside (Kate Shackleton Mysteries 8)
Author: Frances Brody
Publisher: Little Brown Books
Publication Date: 6 October 2016
Nothing ever happens in August, and tenacious sleuth Kate Shackleton feels like she deserves a break. Heading off for a long-overdue holiday to Whitby, she visits her school friend Alma who works as a fortune teller there.
Kate had been looking forward to a relaxing seaside sojourn, but upon arrival discovers that Alma’s daughter Felicity has disappeared, leaving her mother a note and the pawn ticket for their only asset: a watch-guard. What makes this more intriguing is the jeweller who advanced Felicity the thirty shillings is Jack Phillips, Alma’s current gentleman friend.
Kate can’t help but become involved, and goes to the jeweller’s shop to get some answers. When she makes a horrifying discovery in the back room, it soon becomes clear that her services are needed. Met by a wall of silence by town officials, keen to maintain Whitby’s idyllic façade, it’s up to Kate –ably assisted by Jim Sykes and Mrs Sugden – to discover the truth behind Felicity’s disappearance.
And they say nothing happens in August . .
Huge thanks to Clara at Little Brown Books for inviting me to take part in this blog tour and for providing me with a copy of Death at the Seaside for review.
Death at the Seaside is the 8th book in Brody’s series following private investigator, Kate Shackleton, as she gets herself caught up in yet another mystery. Taking a holiday in Whitby in order to visit her old school friend Alma and goddaughter Felicity, Kate accidentally stumbles across a murder. The victim is known both to Kate and, even more so, to her friend Alma. When Felicity is then found to be missing, Kate finds herself caught up in both the murder and finding Felicity. Not the relaxing holiday she anticipated! Fortunately, her partner Jim Sykes and housekeeper Mrs Sugden are on hand to assist…
I thought the characterisation in the book was well done. The ‘roaring 20s’ was the time when women started to gain some independence and empowerment after the First World War and after gaining the vote. Kate Shakleton is the perfect example of a modern woman at that time – a widow making her own way in the world by pursuing a career rather than looking for another husband – an example of 1920’s-style girl power! I enjoyed the contrast between Kate and the other characters, namely the very proper Jim Sykes and the scatty Alma. I must admit that I never warmed to Alma’s character, finding her too unreliable and flaky for my taste.
I also enjoyed the descriptions of 1920’s Whitby with its grand hotel, tea rooms and pier, complete with a fortune teller booth! I felt myself transported into a Miss Marple-esque alternative universe.
After my recent spate of psychological thrillers and comedic chicklit books, Death at the Seaside was a nice chance of pace. Set in the 1920’s, Death at the Seaside is a cosy old-fashioned mystery story which relies solely on the plot and avoids any blood and violence. I am a big fan of cosy mysteries and I have recently found myself enjoying stories set in years gone by, as such I thoroughly enjoyed Death at the Seaside. I found it to be an easy and enjoyable read. The pacing of the story is gentle but good and the plotline is well thought-out, leaving me guessing as to the perpetrator of the crime until the very last chapter.
Whilst being the 8th book in the series, this can certainly be read as a standalone novel. There are a few references to past events and reading the remainder of the series would likely provide some further insight into the repeating characters: Kate, Jim Sykes and Mrs Sugden, however I have not read any of the earlier books in the series and that did not in any way ruin my enjoyment of this book.
I would recommend this book for fans of traditional murder mysteries or for anyone looking for a gentle and easy read. I am now looking forward to catching up with the rest of Brody’s Shakleton series and I certainly hope to hear of further additions to the series in the future.
About the Author
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.
Don’t forget to check out the other stops on this blog tour!