I’m delighted to be taking part in the blog tour for Frances Brody’s Death at the Seaside which will be published on 6th October by Piatkus.
Death at the Seaside marks the eighth outing for amateur sleuth Kate Shackleton. This is the first of the Shackleton Mysteries that I’ve read, but I didn’t feel as though I was missing out on any background or references to previous cases or events, so it seems that this novel at least can be read as a stand alone.
Kate is taking a holiday in Whitby – visiting her school friend Alma, whose daughter Felicity is Kate’s goddaughter. Things don’t get off to the best start, however, when Kate discovers a dead body on her first day in Whitby, and then finds that her goddaughter has gone missing!
Are the two events connected? Kate tries not to get involved, but it seems that she has no choice as she gets swept up in the events against her will.
Death at the Seaside falls comfortably into the “cosy” crime category, and for me this made a nice change from the twisty thrillers and murkier plot lines that I often turn to. As such, this novel doesn’t have an ever increasing body count and a race against time to find a deranged serial killer. Rather, this is an investigation into a small town and its population, and one of the most enjoyable aspects of the novel for me was unravelling the various relationships and links between people within the small community.
I found Kate to be a really interesting character. Set in the 1920s, Brody has perfectly captured the attitudes of the time, and I enjoyed Kate’s perseverance in pursuing her goals in what would have been considered an unusual job for a lady at the time. Not outwardly rebellious, she just gets on with the task at hand, doing what she thinks is right.
I did find the investigation a little slow to get started, however. Whilst this is explained by the fact that Kate is on holiday and deliberately trying to stay out of the investigation, it did make for a bit of a slow start to the novel, although it became more interesting as Kate and her team get to work. Given the holiday setting, I suspect that this is atypical of the series, and I think that it would be interesting to see Kate in action whilst actually working, rather than just getting caught up in events.
I would say that if you enjoy stories along the lines of Agatha Christie’s Miss Marple, then you will probably enjoy Death at the Seaside and the preceding Kate Shackleton Mysteries:
- Dying in the Wool
- A Medal for Murder
- Murder in the Afternoon
- A Woman Unknown
- Murder on a Summer’s Day
- Death of an Avid Reader
- A Death in the Dales
Many thanks to Clara Diaz for providing a copy for review.
Make sure you check out the other stops on the tour:
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.