Dying in the Wool
A Kate Shackleton Mystery by Frances Brody
Review: The Great War has just ended and like so many other wives 31-year-old Kate Shackleton doesn't want to believe that her husband Gerald isn't coming home. He was last seen in April 1918 as a mortar shell hit the hospital supply camp he was defending. And though she can't bring her own husband back, she wants to help other women find their loved ones in Dying in the Wool, the first mystery in this series by Frances Brody set in Yorkshire, England.
Kate attributes her talent for finding people to lessons she learned from her police officer father. She has a "poke-your-beak-in persistence and an eye for detail." Now Tabatha Braithwaite, a woman she had crossed paths with a couple of times during the war, asks Kate to try to find her father, Joshua, a mill owner who disappeared over seven years ago in August 1916. Tabatha is getting married soon and would dearly love to have her father walk her down the aisle. Can Kate do anything to help?
Joshua Braithwaite had left his family and successful business for no apparent reason. He had been arrested for attempting suicide, a charge he denied, and then simply walked away from the hospital to which he was sent for treatment. The more Kate digs into the man's past the more she comes to believe that the private Joshua Braithwaite was a very different man from the public one. He may have been secretly — and illegally — profiting from the war and he had at least one mistress. Did one of his illicit business associates kill him? Or did he disappear with one of his mistresses? Someone clearly doesn't want Kate poking about in the past and is willing to kill to prevent the truth from being known.
Like many first in series, Dying in the Wool is primarily about introducing the lead character. Kate Shackleton is a strong, compassionate woman, resolutely looking to the future without her husband while fondly remembering the past with him. The narrative has a good sense of time period and place, and the storyline gives readers an opportunity to learn more about the character in the context of a murder investigation. Fans of British historical village mystery-style cozies will welcome meeting and spending time with Kate.
Special thanks to guest reviewer Betty of The Betz Review for contributing her review of Dying in the Wool.
Acknowledgment: Minotaur Books provided a copy of Dying in the Wool for this review.
Review Copyright © 2012 — Hidden Staircase Mystery Books — All Rights Reserved
Location(s) referenced in Dying in the Wool: Yorkshire, England
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Dying in the Wool by Frances Brody — A Kate Shackleton Mystery
Publisher: Minotaur Books
Publication Date: February 2012
List Price: $24.99