Death in the Stars

Written by Frances Brody

Review written by Stephen Thornley

An avid reader, Stephen's knowledge of Crime Fiction is fairly extensive, with The Golden Age is his greatest interest.


Death in the Stars
Piatkus
RRP: £8.99
Released: October 5 2017
PBK

Brody’s latest historical crime novel is set in England in the summer of 1927 at the time of the solar eclipse (probably the biggest event of the year). More than three million people travelled to the North to see something that had not been experienced in Britain for 200 years.

Ever since “Dying in the Wool” I've been reading the Kate Shackleton Mystery series and looking forward to each new adventure. “Death in the Stars” is the ninth book in this very successful series. For those new to Frances Brody’s private detective – Mrs Kate Shackleton is a widow; her husband Gerald has been killed during the Great War. She lives just outside Leeds in the suburb of Headingley, has a housekeeper Mrs Sugden and a former policeman Mr Jim Sykes as her assistants in detection. There is plenty of period detail to help set the scenes while the writing and plot are evocative of the Golden Age private detective.

As the preparations begin around the country for the great event Kate receives a celebrity visitor Selina Fellini a star of the theatre. Selina invites Kate to an organised viewing of the eclipse in the grounds of Giggleswick School’s chapel near Settle in North Yorkshire. It will be a prestigious occasion with the Astronomer Royal and the Prime Minister among others in attendance. Kate is puzzled by Selina’s motive for wanting her company at the event.

It doesn't take long before that motive seems clear when Selina’s co-star Billy Moffatt, the comedian, is found unconscious in the chapel grounds. Billy is rushed off to the nearby hospital where medical staff pronounces a drug overdose as the cause - and he passes away without regaining consciousness. It is then that Selina tells Kate of two earlier deaths in the theatre company that have unsettled her.

Kate then discovers, with the help of the School's head-boy Alex, that Billy died having smoked a cigar laced with cyanide. But, when Kate leaves the cigar to be analysed by her friendly and helpful Chemist Mr Brownlaw, he suddenly becomes elusive and avoids Kate.

Can Kate find out who is responsible for Billy's death and whether it is related to the two earlier deaths? Is there a murderer in the theatre company? Or should she look beyond the stage door. It’s time to put Mrs Sugden and Jim Sykes into action obtaining vital background information for our heroine.

Kate Shackleton is a resourceful, intelligent and independent woman in a time when men ran almost every sphere of life in Britain. She has to overcome the resistance the majority of working men had when dealing with women in positions of authority. The fact that she is able to obtain information when often, the officials have been unable to do so, and to solve cases  that have baffled the police shows how resourceful and ingenious Kate can be.

I will be looking out for number ten in the series next year with alacrity.



Home
Book Reviews
Features
Interviews
News
Columns
Authors
Competitions
Blog
Shop
About Us
Contact Us

Privacy Policy | Contact Shots Editor

THIS WEBSITE IS © SHOTS COLLECTIVE. NOT TO BE REPRODUCED ELECTRONICALLY EITHER WHOLLY OR IN PART WITHOUT PRIOR PERMISSION OF THE EDITOR.