Monday, 2 October 2017

Death In The Stars - Frances Brody


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...


I'm absolutely thrilled to be on the blog tour for the ninth installment of the Kate Shackleton mysteries, Death In The Stars. I've now read five of these wonderful mysteries and I'm completely hooked! Last October I read (and loved) Death At The Seaside but Death In The stars couldn't be in a more different setting.

Selina Fenelli, known to legions of fans as the Silver Songbird asks Kate to accompany her and a friend from the theatre to an eclipse viewing at a local boy's school. At first, Kate thinks nothing of it, that Selina only asked her because she knows she has contacts at the local airfield and can arrange to have the three of them flown to the school. However, Selina has a different reason for asking. Over the last eighteen months two of her fellow stars on the music hall tour have died, seemingly in tragic accidents, but Selina isn't so sure and is terrified that something is going to happen to her or Billy, the chap accompanying them to Giggleswick for the eclipse.

When Billy dies at the school Kate realises that Selina might not be paranoid about the previous accidents after all but as Billy was a known drug user thanks to injuries from the war it's thought his death was either a tragic overdose or simply natural causes. Kate being Kate decides to investigate anyway, albeit reluctantly, and after finding a cigar on the school grounds that might not be an ordinary cigar the investigation picks up steam.

Mrs. Shackleton is once again aided and abetted by her housekeeper, Mrs. Sugden, and ex-policeman Jim Sykes, along with the addition of Alex, the head boy from Giggleswick, who wants to be a doctor but given his help in this case might also have a career as a detective, and her niece, Harriet. Appearances from Selina's fellow performers lend some light relief but it's impossible to get away from the darkness that has settled around the theatre. As in previous books everybody is a suspect, including Jarrod Compton, Selina's elusive husband who, along with Billy, was severely injured in the war. Compton is probably the main suspect from the start as he doesn't seem to like anybody being too involved in Selina's life and because of his facial disfigurement is always covered from head to toe, adding an aura of deceit to his person.

Yet again the 1920's setting is perfect, from the theatre and the music hall stars coming towards the end of their popularity to the simplicity of life back then. The mystery is completely gripping with twists and turns on every page. As usual, I got sucked into the red herrings that Frances Brody so wonderfully included and it wasn't until just before the big reveal of the villain that I realised who that really was. If you like your crime in a more gentle fashion without the blood and guts, then the Kate Shackleton mysteries are definitely worth a read. I mentioned Miss Marple, Daisy Dalrymple, and Phryne Fisher in my review of Death At The Seaside but this time I need to add that Kate Shackleton is definitely up there with the best of them and is becoming a firm favorite.



Death In The Stars - Frances Brody
ISBN - 9780349414317
Publisher - Piatkus
Release date - October 5th, 2017

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.




1 comment:

  1. The roaring twenties (one of my favourite times) and mystery/crime seems a perfect combo for me. I've never heard of this series before but after reading your review, I'm adding it to my wishlist.

    Happy readings!
    Tânia @MyLovelySecret

    Halloween Book Bingo

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