Friday, February 17, 2017

A Death in the Dales: A Kate Shackleton Mystery

Happy Friday!  I hope all of you have had an enjoyable day.  I spent the day doing some chores around the house.  I am starting to feel a little better (thank goodness).  Do you have any special plans for your weekend?  I have plans for relaxing and more housework (the two will have to find a way to mix).

A Death in the Dales by is the seventh book in A Kate Shackleton Mystery series.  Kate Shackleton is taking her niece, Harriet on holiday to recover from her bout of diphtheria.  They are going to stay in Lilac Cottage owned by Dr. Lucian Simonson, Kate’s beau.  He inherited the cottage six months prior when his Aunt Freda.  Kate is hoping for a relaxing fortnight in Langcliffe, but the fates are not with her.  Kate and Harriet have barely arrived when Mr. Bradley Wigglesworth arrives.  Wigglesworth had been a friend of Freda’s, and she had entrusted a box of papers with him before her death.  Freda had witnessed the murder of Rufus Holroyd in 1916, but her testimony was discounted.  The case haunted Freda for the past ten years, because she knew the wrong man was convicted and hanged for the crime.  Kate feels compelled to look through the papers and the case peaks her interest.  Harriet meets Beth Young in the village.  Beth is worried about her brother, Martin.  After the death of their mother, the two siblings were brought to town and put to work.  Martin is working at Raistrick Farm.  Martin was supposed to show up for the May Day festivities and he never arrived.  When he fails to show up soon thereafter, Kate agrees to drive out to the farm to inquire about the young boy.    Unfortunately, Kate’s profession as a detective has gotten out in the village and soon she is approached by Mrs. Victoria Trevelyan about a delicate situation.  Someone is trying to blackmail Mrs. Trevelyan about letter she wrote to a past lover.  Mrs. Trevelyan would like Kate to obtain the letters.  It is not turning out to be much of a holiday for Kate.  Harriet, though, is thrilled.  She is fascinated by her aunt’s business and believes it might be the right profession for her.  Harriet wishes to act as Kate’s assistant. Langcliffe may be a small village, but it is rife with secrets.  This trip is also about Lucian and Kate making decisions about their future.  It does not look promising when Lucian objects to Kate’s exploring the murder of Rufus Holroyd.  This holiday is not turning out the way Kate expected.

A Death in the Dales was easy to read and well-written.  I have not read the previous books in A Kate Shackleton Mystery series, but it was not a deterrent. The author provided all the information a reader needs to enjoy this novel.  I liked the main character, Kate Shackleton.  She is a smart, strong woman (thank heavens) and a good example to her niece, Harriet.  I liked Harriet as well.  I hope the author includes her in future books.  I believe A Death in the Dales is the type of book you want to curl up with in a cozy chair on a rainy afternoon (and do not forget to have your favorite beverage and snack nearby).  The author did a superb job at capturing the time and place.  You can tell that Frances Brody did her research.  I give A Death in the Dales 4 out of 5 stars.  There is a lot going on in this book, but I was able to keep track of the various storylines and their characters.  There are a couple of slow spots, but they did not bother me.  The romance portion of the book seemed off.  I did not feel any love or passion between Kate and Lucian.  It felt like the writer seemed there should be a romance in the book and, therefore, included one.  Kate and Lucian did not seem compatible, and I could not see Kate becoming a doctor’s wife (especially since she has no clue about shopping, cooking, and village politics).  The murder mystery was entertaining and I liked the puzzle.  I was able to figure out the killer before the reveal (you know I love solving the mystery).  I believe most readers will be surprised.  I am definitely going to read the other books in A Kate Shackleton Mystery series.  

Thank you for your visit.  I am currently reading Fatality by Firelight by Lynn Cahoon.  I am going to watch Grimm, MacGyver, and Sleepy Hollow while enjoying Chinese.  When I am sick, Chinese food is the only thing that tastes good to me. May each of you have a special evening. Take care and Happy Reading!

The Avid Reader

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