Wednesday, September 30, 2015

Review 'A Death in the Dales' by Frances Brody new fantastically quirky crime novel featuring amateur sleuth extraordinaire Kate Shackleton.

A murder most foul..

When the landlord of a Yorkshire tavern is killed in plain sight, Freda Simonson, the only witness to the crime, becomes plagued with guilt, believing the wrong man has been convicted. Following her death, it seems that the truth will never be uncovered in the peaceful village of Langcliffe.

A village of secrets…

But it just so happens that Freda's nephew is courting the renowned amateur sleuth Kate Shackleton,
who decides to holiday in Langcliffe with her indomitable teenage niece, Harriet. When Harriet strikes up a friendship with a local girl whose young brother is missing, the search leads Kate to uncover another suspicious death, not to mention an illicit affair.

The case of a lifetime..

As the present mysteries merge with the past's mistakes, Kate is thrust into the secrets that Freda left behind and realises that this courageous woman has entrusted her with solving a murder from beyond the grave. It soon becomes clear to her that nothing in Langcliffe is quite as it appears, and with a murderer on the loose and an ever-growing roster of suspects, this isn't the holiday Kate was expecting.

My Review:

A couple of months ago I read my first book by Frances Brody, ‘Death of an Avid Reader’. Since I really enjoyed that book, I was super excited to receive ‘A Death in the Dales’, the seventh book in the series. And I began reading as soon as I was able.

In ‘A Death in the Dales’ our female detective Kate Shackleton is on holiday with her teenage niece Harriet. This holiday is supposed to give Kate her much needed rest and Harriet her strength back, after a short sickbed. Together Kate and Harriet stay in Langcliffe, in the house of Lucian’s deceased Aunt. Since Lucian is courting Kate, this vacation seems to be the perfect way to see if a marriage will work between them and to get the house of Lucian’s Aunt Freda cleaned up. But soon Kate finds out Freda witnessed a murder years ago, where an innocent man was hanged for. Freda was never able to prove the man’s innocence and it haunted her till the day she died.
Now Kate is determined to get to the bottom of this, together with the help of her niece.

I loved the mystery in ‘A Death in the Dales’, and the way it stayed mysterious until the very end. The characters and the way this book takes place in the 1920’s, makes this book even more enjoyable. I loved how the characters interacted with each other and how the etiquettes in that time came back in this book. It’s just so fun to read about that time and to imagine yourself as a part of that time.

The character I liked the most was definitely Kate. It can’t be easy to be a young amateur female detective in the 1920’s. But Kate Shackleton really did it well. I loved how strong she was and how she worked hard to find out the truth. She was kind and passionate and she really is just a perfect female heroine.
There also is a little romance in this book. Lucian is obviously trying to charm Kate. And although Kate seems to like Lucian, I just didn’t like the guy from the beginning. I don’t have an obvious reason for it, but I just felt like something was of with him. Thankfully, the author revealed everything in the end and I don’t have to wonder about him anymore.

This being the second book in the Kate Shackleton series I read, I can definitely say I really recommend this book. It’s a fun book and works perfect for a cold evening. 

My Rating: 



About the Kate Shackleton Series:


The Kate Shackleton Mystery series is a mystery series about a young female detective in the 1920s. ‘A Death in the Dales’ is already the seventh book in this series.
The first book ‘Dying in the Wool’ came out in the UK in October 2009 and in the US in February 2012. The second book ‘A Medal for Murder’ was published in the UK in October 2010 and in the US in February 2013. The third book ‘Murder in the Afternoon’ followed publication in the UK in September 2011 and in the US in February 2014. The fourth book ‘A Woman Unknown’ was published in the UK in September 2012 and the fifth book ‘Murder on a Summer’s Day’ followed in October 2013. The sixth book ‘Death of Avid Reader’ was published in October 2014. 'A Death in the Dales' will be published on paperback on October 1st 2015 by Piatkus.  


About the Author:


Frances Brody is the author of five mysteries featuring Kate Shackleton 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. 

For more information about Frances Brody and The Kate Shackleton mystery novels please visit her website, Goodreads, Amazon, Facebook and Twitter

I received this book in exchange for my honest review from the Little, Brown Book Group.

Release Day Party 'Devil and the Deep' by Megan Tayte

Today I’m super excited to participate in the Release Day Party of ‘Devil and the Deep’ by Megan Tayte. ‘Devil and the Deep’ is already the fourth book in The Ceruleans series, and I seriously can’t wait to start reading this one. The Ceruleans is a Young Adult Paranormal Romance series and really awesome.


Scarlett is living her happy-ever-after, back in the real world. Only the ‘happy’ part is proving problematic.

For starters, there’s the isolation. Being a Cerulean among humans is fraught with risk, so her time with people can only be fleeting. Which means being with Luke but not being with Luke.

Then there’s her Cerulean light, her power over life and death. Less awesome talent, as it turns out, and more overwhelming responsibility. And it comes with rules – rules that are increasingly difficult to obey.
But what’s really pushing Scarlett to the precipice is something much bigger than herself, than her life in the cove. A force to be reckoned with:


When long-buried truths are exposed, will Scarlett keep her head above water – or will she drown in the blood-dimmed tide that is unleashed?

This book is available through Amazon US and Amazon UK

Interested in my reviews of the first three books? Please go here: 'Death Wish', 'Forget Me Not', 'Wild Blue Yonder'.



It began with screaming. Shrill, ear-piercing, horrified screaming.

A girl shrieked, ‘Blood! Look, look – it’s everywhere!’ and pressed her hand to her mouth.

A man shouted, ‘Good grief!’ and another, ‘Great Scott!’

An old lady swooned gracefully and would have tipped over the balustrade of the riverboat had a lanky lad not caught her.

The cause of the excitement – a woman lying slumped on the long table on deck, cheek on her bread plate, headdress in the butter dish – twitched a little.

‘She’s alive!’ cried a lad beside her delightedly. ‘She moved!’

‘Did not,’ argued another.

‘Did too!’

‘Gentlemen,’ interjected a short, portly man with a twirly black moustache, ‘if you will forgive my intrusion, it must be noted that this woman has a bullet hole in her head and is logically, therefore, quite definitely deceased.’

Another old dear folded to the deck with a prolonged ‘Ohhhhhh’ and her husband grabbed a feathered fan and began wafting cool evening air in her face while calling, ‘Smelling salts – does anyone have any?’
I tried to keep a straight face. Really I did. I bit my bottom lip until I tasted my cherry-red lipstick. I pinched my leg through the cream satin of my gown. I dug my long cigarette holder into the sensitive flesh of my arm.

But it was no good.

The ‘What ho, chaps’ posh accents.

The buxom woman sagging in the arms of an elephant hunter wearing Converse All Stars.

The production of smelling salts in a bottle whose label read Pepto-Bismol.

The corners of the little round man’s moustache coming looser with his every word.

The fast-pooling puddle of pinkish blood on the bread plate, buffeted by the steady in-and-out breaths of the corpse.

Take it from a girl who’s really died – death on the River Dart, Devon, is hilarious.

‘Dear me, Ms Robson here appears to be quite overcome with shock,’ said the guy at my side suddenly, and he slipped an arm around me and turned me away. ‘Come, madam. Let us get some air.’

I smiled at him. Then grinned. Then choked back a guffaw. Thankfully, by the time full-scale hilarity hit me I’d been led to the rear of the boat, away from the rest of our party, and could bury my face in the bloke’s chest and shake mutely with laughter.

The gallant gentleman rubbed my back soothingly as I let it all out and said loudly, for the benefit of any onlookers, ‘There there, pignsey, there there.’

‘Pigsney?’ It was the final straw. My high-heeled sandals gave way and I melted into a puddle of mirth on the deck.

‘I’ll have you know, Scarlett Blake,’ hissed Luke, my boyfriend a.k.a. gallant gent, hoiking up his too-tight corduroy trousers so he could squat down beside me, ‘I Googled “old-fashioned terms of endearment” and pigsney’s a classic.’

I wiped tears from my eyes, dislodging a false eyelash in the process, and tried to catch my hiccupping breath as Luke went on.

‘Means pig’s eye. No idea why that’s appealing, but apparently in the seventeenth century, calling a lady pigsney was the very height of courting.’

Through his fake specs Luke’s blue eyes fixed me with a stare so earnest I almost managed to stop laughing.

‘But this is a Death on the Nile-Stroke-Dart murder mystery night, Luke,’ I managed to get out. ‘Set in the nineteen thirties, not the seventeen thirties.’

‘Ah,’ he said, ‘but my character tonight, Mr Fijawaddle, is a historical fiction writer, isn’t he? So as well as dressing like a brainy recluse – and I’m warning you now, I won’t hear another slur against this tweed jacket – he’d know all kinds of obscure terms. Like ginglyform and jargogle and nudiustertian and bromopnea and farctate and quagswag and philosophunculist.’

His showing off sobered me just enough to control the giggles. ‘You made those words up,’ I accused, poking a crimson talon into his mustard-yellow shirtfront.

He blinked at me innocently. ‘Did not. I told you before we left the house, I did my homework.’

I narrowed my eyes. ‘All right then, Mr Fijawaddle, what does that last word you said mean?’


‘Yes, that.’

‘Er…’ Luke gave me a sheepish grin.

‘Spill it,’ I said menacingly. As menacingly as a girl dressed up as a vintage Hollywood starlet with cute little pin curls and rouge aplenty can be, that is.

‘Philosophunculist,’ recited Luke. ‘Noun. A person who pretends to know more than they do in order to impress others.’

I threw my head back and laughed. ‘Busted!’

Luke slipped an arm around me and pulled me close. Really close.

‘Bet you like it when I use long words,’ he said huskily, eyes fixed on my too-red lips.

‘Bet you like it when I wear a clingy nightgown as a dress,’ I replied, eyes fixed on his too-kissable lips.
‘Brazen hussy,’ he growled at me.

‘Randy boffin,’ I murmured back.

Then neither of us said another word for quite some time.

About the Author:


Once upon a time a little girl told her grandmother that when she grew up she wanted to be a writer. Or a lollipop lady. Or a fairy princess fireman. ‘Write, Megan,’ her grandmother advised. So that’s what she did.
Thirty-odd years later, Megan is a professional writer and published author by day, and an indie novelist by night. Her fiction – young adult romance with soul – recently earned her the SPR’s Independent Woman Author of the Year award.

Megan grew up in the Royal County, a hop, skip and a (very long) jump from Windsor Castle, but these days she makes her home in Robin Hood's county, Nottinghamshire. She lives with her husband, a proud Scot who occasionally kicks back in a kilt; her son, a budding artist with the soul of a palaeontologist; and her baby daughter, a keen pan-and-spoon drummer who sings in her sleep. When she's not writing, you'll find her walking someplace green, reading by the fire, or creating carnage in the kitchen as she pursues her impossible dream: of baking something edible.

For more information about Megan Tayte please visit her website, Goodreads, Facebook, Twitter and Google



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