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Kate Shackleton Books In Order

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Publication Order of Kate Shackleton Books

Dying in the Wool (2009)Description / Buy at Amazon
A Medal for Murder (2010)Description / Buy at Amazon
Murder in the Afternoon (2011)Description / Buy at Amazon
A Woman Unknown (2012)Description / Buy at Amazon
Murder on a Summer's Day (2013)Description / Buy at Amazon
Death of an Avid Reader (2014)Description / Buy at Amazon
A Death in the Dales (2015)Description / Buy at Amazon
Death at the Seaside (2016)Description / Buy at Amazon
Death in the Stars (2017)Description / Buy at Amazon
A Snapshot of Murder (2018)Description / Buy at Amazon
The Body on the Train (2019)Description / Buy at Amazon
Murder is in the Air / Death and the Brewery Queen (2020)Description / Buy at Amazon
Kate Shackleton's First Case (2022)Description / Buy at Amazon
A Mansion for Murder (2022)Description / Buy at Amazon

The name ‘Kate Shackleton’ refers to a series of novels written by Frances Brody. The books tell the story of a World War One Widow that decides to try her hand at solving crimes. Even as she helps those in need of justice, Kate’s husband is never far from her mind. And because he has been listed as MIA, Kate has been unwilling to believe the rumors of his death.

Instead, she keeps hoping that he will turn up.

+The Story

The Kate Shackleton series tells the story of a female sleuth that serves the needs of English Countryside women. Kate has always loved solving puzzles, and when a mystery first arises in the small village of Bridgestead in the first novel in the series, Kate puts her mind to the task of helping a desperate daughter find her missing father.

Sweet, assertive and filled with insecurities at the start of the series, Kate fights her flaws and finds that inner confidence and assurance hiding within her so as to help the women of her community.

Kate lost her husband to the war. But she never gave up on the hope that he would turn up one day, especially since his body was never found.

Because the series is set in the 1920s, Frances Brody does an impressive job of bringing that environment and that time period to life; the books manifest the incredible research the author must have done about the English Countryside in the 1920s, though some readers have been known to complain about all the details she injects into her work, even though those details are necessary to paint the picture of Kate Shackleton’s time.

Kate Shackleton was born in 1891. She grew up with the Hoods, a couple which adopted her because they couldn’t have children; though they eventually went on to conceive twins. Kate is said to have been quite the brilliant student, though it wasn’t until the War began that the future sleuth found work.

She married Gerald Shackleton in 1914, taking his name. The surgeon eventually went to war and by 1918 Kate had received word of his presumed demise. It was Gerald’s disappearance that drew Kate into sleuthing.

She began probing and prodding for information about her husband’s whereabouts. And during that time, she came across women who had also lost men in the war. She found that she was just the person they needed to overcome their various struggles.

The fact that Kate eventually became a sleuth isn’t a surprise seeing as her adopted father is a West Riding Police Superintendent; though, Kate has never confided in him about her attempts at finding her husband, mostly because she does not want her parents to worry about the solitary life she has nurtured.

Because of the attitudes of the era, Kate Shackleton is still greatly limited in what she can and cannot do, and where she can and cannot go. It is for this reason that she has an ex-policeman for a sidekick. Jim Sykes is responsible for helping Kate overcome the prejudices against women that can sometimes become obstacles during her investigations.

+The Author

Frances Brody is a pseudonym for Frances McNeil. Frances is an English author. As a child, Frances liked to tell stories. However, she had no plans of becoming a writer. In fact, the notion never occurred to her.

Though, when the idea finally came to her, Frances wasted no time in pursuing it. After making some money from her work as a barmaid, Frances bought a typewriter and began writing novels when she was just eighteen years of age.

She was lucky enough to have a mother who encouraged her hobbies, though writing success did not manifest instantly. Rather than immediately becoming a bestselling author, Frances moved to Manhattan a year later to work for a Secretarial Agency, only returning home after finding a place at Ruskin College, Oxford.

As a writer, Frances Brody’s big break came when she wrote and sold stories to the BBC and touring theater companies. After garnering a noteworthy reputation as a playwright, Frances Brody moved on to novels, creating the Kate Shackleton series.

The books were inspired by Frances’ mother who loved murder stories and was always sending her daughter ideas for potential plots. Frances remembers mulling over the image of a man trapped behind a large wall who needed someone to identify him and discover his location. Kate Shackleton turned out to be the perfect sleuth for the job, that image giving birth to Frances Brody’s mystery series.

Frances Brody’s Kate Shackleton novels have been shortlisted for the Mary Higgins Clark Award and the Edgar Award.

+Dying In the Wool

When Joshua Braithwaite’s daughter decides to get married, she is determined to have her father present. Joshua went missing rather dramatically one random day. He has not been heard from since, and while some people think he eloped with his mistress, there has also been talk of murder.

Kate Shackleton has always had a thing for puzzles, and Joshua’s disappearance might be her most interesting puzzle to date.

The first Kate Shackleton book introduces the sweet and assertive sleuth to readers. Kate is nursing a broken heart, the result of her husband who went missing during the war. But that has not stopped her from helping others.

When her friend Tabitha hires Kate to find Joshua Brathwaite, she quickly jumps at the chance. Readers get to see how Kate solves murders from her first person point of view, though the novel shifts to the perspectives of other characters on a few occasions.

+A Medal for Murder

Kate Shackleton is happy to take on the second case of her sleuthing career by identifying the party responsible for a sinister pawn shop robbery. However, her investigation drags her into two other cases: one involving a murder at a theater and another involving kidnapping. Kate quickly realizes that she might have gotten more than she bargained for when she took her second case.

The second book in the Kate Shackleton series finds the private investigator probing three different interwoven cases. Kate isn’t alone. She has a former policeman named Jim Sykes in her employee who helps her spread her reach.

The mystery in this book is a little more complex and far-reaching. Kate is forced to contend with the many restrictions hampering women during that era.

Book Series In Order » Characters » Kate Shackleton

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