Today I’m delighted to share with you my review of Death in the Stars, the ninth outing for private investigator Kate Shackleton.
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…
As I’ve mentioned, Death in the Stars is the ninth book in the Kate Shackleton Mysteries, featuring the wonderful Kate and her small team comprised of Mrs Sugden and former police officer Jim Sykes, but you don’t need to have read the whole series to appreciate this one. I’ve only read the previous novel, Death at the Seaside, and I don’t feel that this puts the reader at a disadvantage at all.
I have to admit that I did prefer this novel to the previous one. In Death at the Seaside, I felt that Kate, who was on holiday at the time, wasn’t fully invested in the case, which she (almost literally) stumbled across. Here, Kate and her team are involved from the beginning, and I felt that this novel had more investigative work involved in order to solve the mystery which made it a more interesting tale.
I really like Kate as a character, and I’m sure that her chosen profession would have been somewhat frowned upon in the 1920s. Interestingly, Brody chooses not to explore this element in the novel (it may be covered in earlier novels in the series), which was something I was quite grateful for. Whilst this might have given the novel a more real setting, not everything has to comment upon the social standards of the time, and this allows the reader to focus on the crime and spotting the clues before the big reveal at the end.
Death in the Stars depicts a fascinating mystery with multiple clues, suspects and red herrings thrown in along the way. I did work out the “whodunnit”, but I of course kept reading to make sure that I was correct! A wonderful “cosy crime” novel with an excellent main character.
Death in the Stars is published today by Piatkus – many thanks to Clara Diaz at Little, Brown Book Group for providing a copy for review, and for inviting me to join the blog tour.
Rating: ⭐ ⭐ ⭐ ⭐
Make sure you check out the other stops on the blog 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.