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Posts Tagged ‘Kate Shackleton’

Death at the Seaside (Kate Shackleton Mysteries Book 8)

I received a free copy of this book from NetGalley for review.

Kate Shackleton has decided to close her business of private investigators for some time in August and she has gone to Whitby for a fortnight to relax.  She hopes to catch up with an old friend, Alma and her daughter Felicity who live in Whitby.

On her first day she finds the body of a jeweller in his shop when she goes in to buy a bracelet.  At first she is suspected of the murder herself especially when she has been found on the cliffs with a torch after dark on the same day in suspicious circumstances.  Her friend Alma is at her wits ends because Felicity has disappeared and Kate decides to help look for her.

I enjoyed this eighth volume in the Kate Shackleton series.  Kate herself is resourceful and sensible and very observant. She has collected many friends over the course of her investigations and her assistant, Jim Sykes and her housekeeper Mrs Sugden, both on holiday nearby are soon involved in Kate’s investigations.

I though the author brought Whitby to life and I enjoyed the descriptions of it.  I thought the way the people of the town closed ranks and refused to talk to Kate let alone the police was well done too.  If you enjoyed crime novels set in the 1920s then do try this series as I think it is one of the best around at the moment.

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A Death in the Dales (Kate Shackleton series Book 7)

Kate Shackleton has been offered the use of a house in the Dales by her friend Lucian Simonson.  She decides she will take her niece, Harriet there for a short holiday to help her recover from diphtheria. Kate decides she will have a holiday from her own investigations as well.

Almost on her arrival she is approached by a Mr Wrigglesworth who wants her to investigate a murder which was witnessed by Lucian’s Aunt Freda – the former owner of the house in which Kate and Harriet are staying. Kate’s curiosity gets the better of her good resolutions and she quickly become involved in investigating what appears to be a past miscarriage of justice as well as a suspicious death in the present.

I found this is a satisfying and enjoyable read. I liked Harriet as a character and I hope we shall see more of her in later books.  I thought the author captured the atmosphere of the Dales village very well indeed.  People are suspicious of newcomers and don’t want to talk about past crimes which make Kate’s investigations difficult.
I liked the way the author dealt with Kate’s budding romance with Lucian and I thought it was very sensitively handled.  This is an enjoyable addition to this series.

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Murder on a Summer's Day (Kate Shackleton, #5)

This is the fifth book in the Kate Shackleton mystery series set in nineteen twenties Yorkshire. Kate, a young widow, is a private detective specialising in missing people. She receives a phone call from her cousin, James, who works for the India Office and who wants her to find a missing Maharajah without making too much fuss about it. Not the easiest of tasks and Kate finds the secrecy aspects of the case somewhat irksome.

I enjoyed this well written and interesting mystery. It brings a forgotten era vividly to life and also shows ordinary people going about their lives. I thought the descriptions of the Maharajah’s relatives’ entourages were very good and I could imagine the tents and the gorgeous silks, carpets, and clothes. I liked the way the characters interacted and I like Kate herself and the way she works.

This series can be read in any order or as standalone novels but if you read them in order then you can follow Kate’s development and the way her job has grown.

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A Woman Unknown: A Kate Shackleton Mystery (Kate Shackleton Mysteries Book 1)

A man is found dead in the Metropole hotel in Leeds and Kate Shackleton’s friend and erstwhile lover, Marcus Charles is sent from Scotland Yard to investigate. The dead man is someone with whom Kate is acquainted and his widow asks her to investigate his death for her.

Marcus does not seem keen to have Kate involved in the investigation even though she can ask questions and get answers where he might not be able to. Kate also has a case of her own to investigate – Deirdre Fitzpatrick – a young married woman who is causing her husband concern by disappearing for days at a time.

This is the fourth book in this intriguing mystery series set in nineteen twenties West Yorkshire. It is well written with an interesting heroine and the era is brought vividly to life. I like Kate’s employee, Sykes the ex-policeman and he plays quite a big part in this episode.

The period details are well done and I enjoy the background because I used to live in the area myself and have stayed more recently in the Metropole. I like the way the author demonstrates the problems Kate faces as a single woman though her status as a widow gives her more options than she would have as a spinster. If you want a mystery series which is not set in London or the Home Counties then try this one – it is something a bit different.

As an aside the Metropole is still there in Leeds and it does look like the picture on the cover of the book.  I have stayed there several times.

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Murder in the Afternoon: A Kate Shackleton Mystery (Kate Shackleton Mysteries Book 3)

Kate Shackleton is woken early one morning by a young woman who claims to be her sister. Mary Jane Armstrong’s husband, Ethan has disappeared and the police are not taking the matter seriously as they believe he has left her. Kate is dubious about Mary Jane but when she goes to her home and meets her young daughter, Harriet, who is the spitting image of Kate at that age she is convinced.

Curiosity soon drags Kate into the case and she is convinced that Harriet saw her father dead when she went to take him some food while he was working near a local quarry. When Harriet gets help the body is nowhere to be seen.

This is an intriguing story which shows Kate battling against the culture of the time to carve out a place for herself as a private detective. Her assistant, Jim Sykes, plays a large part in this story and it was interesting to see him battling with the disadvantages of no longer being a policeman. The story is narrated by Kate herself with some chapters showing in the third person what other people in the story are doing.

I loved the ending especially the way the personal advertisement in the newspapers is dealt with. The tension is built up gradually during the book and I just wanted to keep reading to find out how it was all going to fit together. I read all of it in one day and stayed up late to finish it because I had to know how it ended.

I like the series characters – Kate herself, her housekeeper and her parents as well as her lover – Marcus Charles. The series started with Dying In The Wool but the books can be read in any order. If you like Daisy Dalrymple, Phryne Fisher or Maise Dobbs then give Kate Shackleton a try.

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A Medal For Murder: Number 2 in series (Kate Shackleton Mysteries)

Set in the early nineteen twenties, this is a fascinating story of a murder, a potential kidnapping and blackmail with theft thrown in as well. Kate Shackleton – private investigator – and her employee Jim Sykes, a former policeman are asked to contact a pawnbroker’s clients for him after he suffers a robbery at his shop.  This leads Kate to Harrogate where she is to watch the last night of a play produced by an acquaintance.  But it seems murders follow her around and she finds the body of a local businessman, Laurence Milner, as she leaves the theatre.  This brings her into contact again with Inspector Charles from Scotland Yard who featured in Kate’s previous case Dying in the Wool (Kate Shackleton Crime Story)]]

I really enjoyed this quite complex and far ranging story.  It is narrated by Kate herself for the most part but there are some chapters which reveal other parts of the story to the reader.  There are many twists and turns before everyone’s secrets are revealed and both for the reader and for Kate it is not always easy to see who can be trusted and who can’t.  I can empathise with Kate and the restrictions placed on women in that era in spite of their newly acquired right to vote.  In some ways Kate is fortunate being a widow as she has rather fewer restrictions on her than others have.  Even so, reputation is all and she has to be careful what she does.

I like the author’s style of writing and it makes a refreshing change to find a book set in other parts of the country than London.  Most of the action in the book takes place in and around Harrogate and Kate herself lives near Leeds.  This book is well worth reading if you want a crime novel which is a little out of the ordinary – I recommend it.

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Dying in the Wool by Frances Brody

Kate Shackleton – widowed during World War I – has made a reputation for herself finding missing people.  Her friend Tabitha asks her if she will try and find her missing father before her own wedding.  Kate at first is reluctant to do so as she feels it is impossible after nearly 7 years to find Joshua Braithwaite – alive or dead, and she’s not comfortable being paid for something she’s always done free.  She decided to try because there seemed to be a lot about Joshua’s disappearance which hadn’t been explained.  The more information Kate uncovers the more uneasy she becomes.  Ably assisted by Jim Sykes – a former policeman – Kate uncovers a tangled web of relationships and secrets.

Interspersed with a few of flashbacks to 1916 when Joshua went missing, the story is narrated by Kate.  The style is down to earth and easy to read with flashes of humour.  I liked both Jim and Kate and I thought all the characters were realistic and true to their time.  I enjoyed the story which had the right degree of complexity and enough clues to lead the reader to the right conclusion though there were plenty of red herrings.

If you enjoy crime stories which are a bit different, with not too much violence, you will enjoy this one. This is an excellent start to the series and I’ve just (2014) read the book for the second time and enjoyed it even more.

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