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Death in the Stars: Longlisted for the CWA Historical Dagger
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Death in the Stars: Longlisted for the CWA Historical Dagger (Paperback)

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Synopsis

'Frances Brody has made it to the top rank of crime writers' Daily Mail



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 . . .



Praise for Frances Brody's Kate Shackleton series:



'Frances Brody matches a heroine of free and independent spirit with a vivid evocation of time and place . . . a novel to cherish' Barry Turner, Daily Mail



'Brody's excellent mystery splendidly captures the conflicts and attitudes of the time with well-developed characters' RT Book Reviews



'Kate Shackleton is a splendid heroine' Ann Granger



'Kate Shackleton joins Jacqueline Winspear's Maisie Dobbs in a subgroup of young, female amateur detectives who survived and were matured by their wartime experiences. As self-reliant women in a society that still regards them a second-class citizens, they make excellent heroines' Literary Review



'Frances Brody skilfully holds our attention, making us want to read on and then look forward to the next Kate Shackleton mystery' Gazette & Herald



'Kate Shackleton is a delightful leading character. The flavour of post First World War England is beautifully portrayed. An enjoyable and gripping mystery story' CrimeSquad.com



'The author keeps us highly entertained with an interesting and exciting plot, impeccably researched, and a style of writing that has the reader turning the pages eagerly to discover the truth of the mystery. Francis Brody is fast becoming "the queen of light crime fiction"' Gazette & Herald



'This is whimsical, colourful stuff and readers will warm to the entrepreneurial yet fragile Kate' Take a Break



'Refreshing and highly entertaining, especially for the winter nights' Gazette & Herald

Fiction & PoetryCrime & Thrillers Publisher: Little, Brown Book Group Publication Date: 05/10/2017 ISBN-13: 9780349414317  Details: Type: Paperback Format: Books
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Frances Brody is the author of ten mysteries featuring Kate Shackleton as well as many stories and plays for BBC Radio, scripts for television and three sagas, one of which won the HarperCollins Elizabeth Elgin Award. A Woman Unknown was short-listed for the Mary Higgins Clark Award. Her stage plays have been toured by several theatre companies and produced at Manchester Library Theatre, the Gate and Nottingham Playhouse. Jehad was nominated for a Time Out Award. Frances lived in New York for a time before studying at Ruskin College, Oxford, and reading English Literature and History at York University. She has taught in colleges, and on writing courses for the Arvon Foundation.

More books by Frances Brody

Customer Reviews

A tenth book in the series, and a successful novel in its own right, this latest mystery for the private detective Kate Shackleton brings in some new ideas and some new challenges. One of the popular wave of women detectives in the interwar period depicted in long series, this is one of the more serious books which depend on careful sleuthing rather than amusing adventures. While being undoubtedly well written, this is a rather earnest series of novels which feature a war widow who has constructed a new life as a detective for hire. She also has an interesting background as she was adopted into the family of a well off senior policeman and was brought up in very comfortable circumstances, with impressive social links, but her birth family was far more humble. These issues have been worked through in earlier books in the series, as well as her acceptance that her husband has died in the First World War. She has a helpful housekeeper Mrs Sugden and an employee, Jim Sykes, who have gained experience in enquiries, but it is Kate that takes the lead in discovering the true situation. This book is set in 1927, when an eclipse is promised and many people are eager to witness it. Kate is approached by Selina Fellini, a famous singer and music hall star, to accompany her and her fellow star Billy Moffatt to a boys’ school to witness the solar eclipse in the company of many experts. Kate is intrigued by the request, especially when the singer asks her to charter a plane, which is a fascinating idea in that even at this point it was possible to bypass road and rail traffic. Billy is discovered unconscious and Kate promises to accompany him to hospital. As murder mysteries go, this is a studied and realistic death, rather a poisoning or quick death as mostly preferred by the traditional detective writer. As other mysterious deaths emerge, the stage is literally set for confusion and danger, as no one is above suspicion. Some of the characters still bear the mental scars of the recent war, and the waning popularity of music hall acts in the face of films affects how ambitious the acts involved can be at this point. To a certain extent it is not so much solving the mystery as observing the characters and settings which Brody handles confidently and well. This is to an extent a book for fans of the series, but enough background emerges that I believe it would work as a standalone novel. It is not as amusing as some books of this type, but it is an enjoyable book which maintains the reader’s interest and is backed by convincing research. Brody succeeds in creating a world which convinces and characters who sound realistic. This is quite a tense read at points, but owes more to the tradition of Golden Age mystery than modern thriller.

- 15/01/2018
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