Death at the Seaside by Frances Brody
Published: 6th October 2016
Available in Paperback and on Kindle
BlurbNothing ever happens in August, and tenacious sleuth Kate Shackleton 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 . . .
Death at the Seaside by Frances Brody is my first Kate Shackleton mystery and one I was very much looking forward to as being a Yorkshire girl I love it when places are set somewhere I know, like Whitby which is a place I love.
Kate Shackleton a woman who has been widowed by the WW1 and has taken up investigating with her friend Jim Sykes and her housekeeper Mrs Sugden. This story is set in August 1927 when Kate and her assistants believe nothing much will happen in their hometown of Leeds so decide to each have a well-earned break on the East Coast.
Kate heads to Whitby to visit old school friend Alma and her daughter Felicity. On arrival Kate takes a walk round Whitby reacquainting herself with memories from her past with husband Gerald. When she enters the jewellers where Gerald bought her wedding and engagement rings Kate makes a shocking discovery, the owner Jack Phillips is lying dead in the back room. Alarmed by her discovery Kate goes for help and soon finds herself as a prime suspect for murder.
To make Kate’s visit even worse she discovers that her goddaughter Felicity has disappeared along with her boyfriend Brendan and a pawned watch-guard. Can Kate help Alma find Felicity and work out who killed Jack Phillips and are the two things linked? One thing is certain, Kate is going to get the nice relaxing holiday she was planning.
The overwhelming feeling I had when reading this book was how much like an Agatha Christie novel this was with murder described in not much detail and the sleuthing taking place by amateur investigators at a very gentle pace. Kate Shackleton reminded me instantly of “Miss Marple”, but a few years younger with her need to solve the mystery. I loved her very English and “proper” way of doing things like when she was reluctant to meet with new acquainted men in the hotel bar.
I think Frances Brody has perfectly captured the essence of Whitby and the period of the 1920s from the details of the town to the descriptions of social etiquettes of the time. It shows she has done her research well to make a realistic story.
I loved the flow of this mystery a number of people are suspected and there are a few twists to overcome before the murderer is revealed making this a very enjoyable read. I’m so glad to have found this new to me author as I love her writing style and am looking forward to going back and reading her previous works as they are perfect for when you want a little mystery but nothing too gruesome.
I’d like to thank the publishers Piatkus for this copy to review in exchange for my honest opinions and also for inviting me on the blog tour.