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.


  1. I really like the sound of the 1920s setting and Kate sounds like an inspiring character. Cute title and cover too!

    1. I totally agree about that cover. It's cute and really fits the 1920's setting I think. I loved Kate and if she was a person in real life I would totally be fangirling her :D

  2. This sounds like a well written mystery and it's great that the mystery kept on till the end. I like the sound of the historical setting combined with the mystery, sounds like a good mix of genres. I like the style for this series covers. Great Review!

    1. Thank you Lola. It really is a fun series to read. When I read my first book by Frances Brody a little while ago, I didn't expect to like this story.. But I really did.

  3. This sounds so good Maureen. I think I would like Kate Shackleton. The 1920's setting just tickles me, as this is one of my favorite time periods :)

    1. It really is good! If the 1920's is your favorite time period, I really think you would enjoy this series. It's a good read with a little bit of everything.. Mystery, Adventure, Family life and even some romance.


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