Series: Kate Shackleton #8
Published by Little Brown on 6th October 2016
Nothing ever happens in August, and tenacious sleuth Kate Shackleton deserves a break. Heading off for a long-overdue holiday to Whitby, she visits her school friend Alma who works as a fortune teller there.
Kate had been looking forward to a relaxing seaside sojourn, but upon arrival discovers that Alma's daughter Felicity has disappeared, leaving her mother a note and the pawn ticket for their only asset: a watch-guard. What makes this more intriguing is the jeweller who advanced Felicity the thirty shillings is Jack Phillips, Alma's current gentleman friend.
Kate can't help but become involved, and goes to the jeweller's shop to get some answers. When she makes a horrifying discovery in the back room, it soon becomes clear that her services are needed. Met by a wall of silence by town officials, keen to maintain Whitby's idyllic façade, it's up to Kate - ably assisted by Jim Sykes and Mrs Sugden - to discover the truth behind Felicity's disappearance.
And they say nothing happens in August . . .
DEATH AT THE SEASIDE is my first time to read a “cosy mystery” novel and I’m kicking myself that it’s taken me so long to get around it! I adore watching Miss Marple, Murder She Wrote and Poirot so Frances Brody’s likeable character Kate Shakleton and her quintessentially British twenties setting were right up my street.
Although the eighth in the series, it was incredibly easy to settle into the story as Brody gently mentions pertinent background information as and when is necessary but the mystery itself is contained and so can be read as a standalone. Shackleton, a widow and private investigator is looking forward to a few quiet relaxing days on the beach of coastal town Whitby however when her god-daughter goes missing and the local jeweller turns up dead and the two events could possibly be connected, dreams of cosy afternoons eating scones in the tearooms and devouring books on the beach go out the window rather swiftly!
The thing I loved most about this book was how Brody perfectly recreated the twenties setting. I really felt like I was walking in Kate’s shoes, reminded of a simpler time, as people having spent years recovering from the war got back to basics. I could almost smell the scones and hear the waves crashing against the Whitby beach.
This is not the type of mystery I’m used to, there are no graphic depictions of violence, no race against time to save lives, and instead it plods along quite nicely with plenty of red herrings to intrigue you.
Another thing I enjoyed was getting an insight into life as a woman in the twenties who goes against the grain as we see Kate do as an investigator, battling quietly against male prejudice and the social mores of the time.
I thoroughly enjoyed this book and am definitely planning to read more of Brody’s Shackleton mysteries and immerse myself in this quirky world.