Death of An Avid Reader – Frances Brody – Review

Piatkus

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“The sixth fantastically quirky crime novel featuring amateur sleuth extraordinaire Kate Shackleton!

A lady with a secret

Kate Shackleton’s sterling reputation for courageous sleuthing attracts the attention of the venerable Lady Coulton. Hidden in her past is a daughter, born out of wedlock and given up to a different family. Now, Lady Coulton is determined to find her and puts Kate on the case.

A mysterious killing in the library’s basement

But as Kate delves deeper into Lady Coulton’s past, she soon finds herself thrust into a scandal much closer to home. When the body of the respected Horatio Potter is found in the Leeds Library basement, the quiet literary community is suddenly turned upside down with suspicions, accusations and – much to Kate’s surprise – the appearance of a particularly intelligent Capuchin monkey!

The most puzzling case in Kate’s sleuthing history yet

Convinced an innocent man has been blamed, Kate sets out to discover the truth. Who would want Dr Potter dead? Does Lady Coulton’s missing daughter hold a vital clue? As the stories start to emerge in the seemingly quiet Leeds Library, Kate is learning fast that in this case, she can’t judge a book by its cover . . .”

4 of 5 stars

I was sent a copy of this book by the publisher and this is my honest opinion of the book.

Kate Shackleton is engaged by Lady Coulton to find her long lost daughter, given up for adoption over 20 years ago. Kate soon finds her investigation hitting dead ends but has her attention distracted by another case closer to home. A body is found in Leeds Library and Kate finds herself investigating the death, soon wondering if the too cases are linked.

This is the 6th Kate Shackleton novel and the first one I have read. The Kate Shackleton novels are marketed as ‘cosy’ mysteries and given that I am a lover of such books I was eager to read this one. ‘Cosy’ mysteries are as the name implies, murder mysteries that are books you can curl up with and tend to be less gritty and dark than usual crime dramas, often with splashes of humour thrown in.

This book was set in Leeds, and being familiar with the city this added a layer of enjoyment to the story, recognising places discussed and described.

I found it to be a well written, engaging story, very easy to read, and perfect to curl up with. I liked the main characters, especially Kate and found them all well rounded and entertaining. In fact I was left hoping that the relationship between Kate and Inspector Wallis will develop further in future novels.

I loved the 1920s setting and could easily imagine the scenes in my mind as I read, the fog laden streets, open top cars and even the matrons patrolling the halls at the local hospital.

Although this is the sixth book in the series I didn’t feel that I was at a disadvantage by not having read the others. In fact, I’m going to go back and read the rest whilst I wait for book seven.

About the Author:

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Frances Brody is the author of five other 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.

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