#Blogtour Death In The Stars – Frances Brody

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Yorkshire, 1927. Eclipse fever grips the nation, and when beloved theatre star Selina Fellini approaches trusted sleuth Kate Shackleton to accompany her to a viewing party at Giggleswick School Chapel, Kate suspects an ulterior motive.

During the eclipse, Selina’s friend and co-star Billy Moffatt disappears and is later found dead in the chapel grounds. Kate can’t help but dig deeper and soon learns that two other members of the theatre troupe died in similarly mysterious circumstances in the past year. With the help of Jim Sykes and Mrs Sugden, Kate sets about investigating the deaths – and whether there is a murderer in the company.

When Selina’s elusive husband Jarrod, injured in the war and subject to violent mood swings, comes back on the scene, Kate begins to imagine something far deadlier at play, and wonders just who will be next to pay the ultimate price for fame . . .

This may well be the ninth book in Francis Brody’s series featuring Kate Shackleton, but as I have discovered with both Death In The Stars and indeed with each of the previously delightfully written Shackleton mysteries I have read, this is no barrier to picking up this book to read as someone new to the series.

Suspenseful, and living every bit up to the description of ‘mystery’, it keeps you guessing all the way between clues, red herrings, characters complicit in the story and those included to misguide you along the way.

With a background that clearly creates the atmosphere of this twenties tale, this charming read is a great way to while away a pleasant few hours.

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Death At The Seaside – Frances Brody

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Nothing 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 . . .

I’m a big fan of cosy mysteries, so it’s quite surprising to note that this was the first Frances Brody novel I have read, despite the fact that this is the eighth book in her series featuring Kate Shackleton. With that in mind it was no hinderance to my enjoyment of the novel. As far as I could tell there are no spoilers in here for previous books, and I felt no need to have read any of them before this one, although there are plenty of references to past events that have given me a keen interest in catching up with some of the earlier books.

It’s a great read that’s ideal for snuggling up in a cosy armchair on a wet miserable afternoon and transporting yourself to the beautiful seaside resort. I loved the genuine sense of time and place I felt when reading Death at the Seaside, falling completely for the 1920’s atmosphere, of this truly British seaside mystery.

There are delightful characters, and a an intriguing plot line to ensure you keep turning the pages, which you will clearly want to keep doing.  If you love some good old fashioned escapism, this is definitely the book for you.