Sunday, December 18, 2011

Dying in the Wool-Frances Brody

Dying in the Wool

Frances Brody

Minotaur, Feb 14 2012, $24.99

RSBN: 9780312622398

Presumed awidow since her husband Royal Medical Corps captain Gerald vanished in 1918 near Villiers-Brettonneaux during heavy bombardment, ironically thirtyish Kate Shackleton has earned a deserved reputation for finding missing people but failed to find her husband. Thus when Tabitha Braithwaite offers her money to investigate the disappearance of her father Joshua in 1916, Kate reluctantly agrees to take on her first paying gig though the case is seven years cold

Kate and her friend former police officer Jim Sykes make inquiries into what happened to Joshua. They learn the missing person was unfaithful to his wife though a stalwart of the church. His wife Evelyn revels in her independence as she makes it clear she remains euphoric that she does not have to deal with her bullying husband. However, it is Tabitha’s fiancĂ© Hector who draws her interest as he obviously conceals something. When a mill murder occurs, Kate believes there is a link to her inquiry and sets out it prove her theory though that leaves her in peril.

With a nod to Carola Dunn’s Daisy Dalyrmple, the second Shackleton 1920s investigation (see A Medal For Murder) is an entertaining historical mystery. Little things set the time and place; for instance the reaction of the locals to the protagonist driving a car and the instance of her mother to come home as young women do not live alone. A flashback to 1916 enhances the inquiry; while some improbable key scenarios involving major secondary characters detract. Still fans will enjoy this British cozy as Frances Brody provides a wonderful post WWI tale.

Harriet Klausner

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