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...
This is the third Kate Shackleton mystery I have read and I have to say, they are rapidly becoming a favorite series! Kate Shackleton is a widow, who after looking for more information about what happened to her husband in the war, becomes an investigator aided and abetted by Jim Sykes and Mrs Sugden.
In this 8th installment Kate is off to visit an old school friend in Whitby, Alma Turner and her daughter Felicity. What she is not expecting to find is a dead body in the jeweller's or that Felicity has run away with her intended. Soon Kate is up to her neck in intrigue, finding herself under suspicion and locked up in the cells, thinking the worst of her school friend who maybe she doesn't know all that well after all and wondering exactly who might be a killer in the beautiful seaside town.
Death At The Seaside was an absolute pleasure to read, with stunning settings, amazing characters and a mystery that will hopefully bamboozle you as much as it did me! I really enjoyed the chapters that were written from both Felicity's and Alma's points of view. I can't imagine it's a good thing that the thing you're remembered for from school is fainting and Alma strikes me as rather useless unless she has a man! It was nice that all the subterfuge wasn't just happening in Whitby but also in a tiny sailing boat while Felicity desperately tries to find the father who left when she was small.
Favorite characters include Kate herself, her no-nonsense housekeeper Mrs. Sugden, local policeman Sergeant Garvin, Mr Cricklethorpe, and Alma herself - mainly because she just seems so scatty! They're all vividly written and so very lifelike that you almost expect to look up and see them in front of you. I was also very much intrigued to see the return of Chief Inspector Marcus Charles, Kate's love interest for want of a better phrase. Having proposed (and been turned down) in previous books I will always wonder what will happen between them!
I absolutely adore the 1920's setting and Frances Brody's lady investigator is perfect, reminiscent of Miss Marple, Daisy Dalrymple, and Phryne Fisher - some of my favorite period female detectives! There are hints and red herrings scattered all the way through Death At The Seaside and just when you think you've got it worked out? Boom! All your expectations are smashed and it's most definitely not who you think it was. I have the other 5 books in the series sitting in a pile here and I'm waiting for next rainy day where I can curl up and lose myself in the 1920's again! Oh, and if the absolutely stunning covers of the Kate Shackleton mysteries don't make you want to pick up the books to read then I don't think we can be friends anymore....
Death At The Seaside - Frances Brody
ISBN - 9780349406589
Publisher - Piatkus
Release date - October 6 2016
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.
Disclaimer: I received a free copy of this book from the publishers in exchange for an honest review.