Thank you to the team at Hachette/Little Brown Book Group for sending me a copy of Frances Brody’s Death at the Seaside in exchange for a review and for inviting me to be a part of the Death at the Seaside Blog Tour.
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…
With summer well and truly over, I was keen to get reading Death at the Seaside and explore the all the sun, sea and shenanigans that it had to offer.
I had never read any of the previous seven Kate Shackleton Mysteries prior to this, but I think I might just have to! It was incredibly easy to get stuck into the story with Brody feeding in some background information, but keeping the mystery very much shrouded and in suspense. This way, I reckon the novel works nicely as a standalone for those who are unfamiliar and just jumping into the world of Kate Shackleton, like myself.
The novel is set in a post-war 20s period which Brody has perfectly captured, but it was also rather nice to see Kate at the forefront challenging the ideals of the time by having her own detective agency. As a fan of Murder She Wrote and Miss Marple, I loved how it was reminiscent of the sort of female, determined, crime-solving badasses that we see in those works.
Death at the Seaside is not too strenuous and dark, but it keeps the element of whodunnit mystery well and truly alive with it’s witty and endearing protagonist. You’ll easily get drawn in by Brody’s effortless writing and the intricate relationships between the residents of the small town.
It’s a nice and cosy mystery, one that’s perfect for curling up on the sofa with a warm blanket and a cup of tea (or coffee,it’s your choice!)
While it’s not the usual the type of crime fiction that I would read. I usually tend to go for the more psychological, horrifying murder kind. It was a refreshing change and one that I completely welcome. Overall, it made for a completely charming and fun read.