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…
What I Thought:
I’m celebrating the imminent release of Frances Brody’s latest Kate Shackleton mystery, Death in the Stars, by having a cup of proper Yorkshire tea – fitting, as that county is the basis for Kate Shackleton’s superbly twisty and mysterious adventures.
Having not read a Kate Shackleton book until last year, reading Death at the Seaside, I’d now be quite happy to read all of them (which I’m attempting to do!) and this latest instalment is a brilliant addition to the collection.
As ever, Kate Shackleton is the chic woman-about-town and go-to lady detective for the upper classes, but she won’t be easily deceived and put off – fairly early on, Kate sniffs out that Selina is not telling her the full story. Her usual supporting cast of Jim Sykes and Mrs Sugden are also on the case, using their experience and detecting talents to help Mrs Shackleton bring the killer to justice.
The real-life eclipse and its surrounding events allows Frances Brody to put her research skills to work, and she ties the factual events beautifully into the fictional account of Billy Moffatt’s disappearance and death, with it never feeling forced. This is the feeling throughout the novel – there is plenty of period detail, background information about what’s going on at that particular time and also the deeply-felt repercussions of the First World War but it is introduced so delicately that it just fits into the fictional elements.
The method of murder in this novel is very clever and there continue to be surprises right up to the final few pages. On reflection, of the Kate Shackleton books I’ve read, this one so far is the best – I look forward to seeing how the others compare as next on my list is Dying in the Wool, the first Kate Shackleton adventure.
Death in the Stars is published by Piatkus on 5th October. To find out more about the series, or Frances Brody, check out her website.
This post is part of a blog tour to celebrate the release of Death in the Stars, so please do take a look at some of the other fantastic blogs taking part – also, keep an eye on my Twitter account, as I’ll have a giveaway of Death in the Stars running soon!
Please Note: I was sent a copy of this book for the blog tour. All opinions are, as ever, my own.