Death in the Stars by Frances Brody
Publishing Date: 5th October 2017
Series: Kate Shackleton #9
Source: Received from the publisher in return for an honest review!
Number of pages: 400
Genre: Mystery, Crime
Yorkshire, 1927. Eclipse fever grips the nation, and when beloved theatre star Selina Fellini approaches trusted sleuth Kate Shackleton to accompany her to a viewing party at Giggleswick School Chapel, Kate suspects an ulterior motive.
During the eclipse, Selina’s friend and co-star Billy Moffatt disappears and is later found dead in the chapel grounds. Kate can’t help but dig deeper and soon learns that two other members of the theatre troupe died in similarly mysterious circumstances in the past year. With the help of Jim Sykes and Mrs Sugden, Kate sets about investigating the deaths – and whether there is a murderer in the company.
When Selina’s elusive husband Jarrod, injured in the war and subject to violent mood swings, comes back on the scene, Kate begins to imagine something far deadlier at play, and wonders just who will be next to pay the ultimate price for fame . . .
I adore Frances Brody’s Kate Shackleton series and am always looking toward the new release. “Death at the Stars” is already the 9th book in the series, however it can easily be read as a stand – alone, and it is also the perfect book to start the series if you haven’t read the previous books yet.
This book is written in the same, gentle way that Frances Brody has got me used to. The narration is engaging and rich, and the author tangled and muddled the facts in such a clever way, adding tips but also complicating things, and I found myself suspecting every single character in the book – and I think it is a sign of a great author to be able to complicate the things but not overdo them, to throw red herrings at the right space and in the right moments, and as a result we got a very decent cosy murder mystery.
This time the fate takes Kate Shackleton to dressing rooms and theatre performances, and guys, I loved the descriptions of all of this. The author has again brought the 1920’s London and Yorkshire to life and brilliantly captured the atmosphere of those times. Those glimpses into the theatre life, the different acts and performances, into the lives of the artists in the roaring 1920’s were brilliant.
Kate Shackleton is, as always, ahead of her times. She’s clever, intelligent and she knows what questions to ask and where to look. Of course we couldn’t have missed her helping hands Mrs. Sugden and Jim Sykes, and it was such a great, comfortable feeling to be in their company again. The way Kate investigates is adorable. She’s thorough, she is able to see all the necessary details that can help her and it really wasn’t just until the very end that I realised who the villain is – the author has really well played with my mind.
Even though this time this novel has missed on this Frances Brody’s hallmark sparkle, this lovely and hooking Kate Shackleton’s feeling (yup. In my opinion it was a little on the flat side this time, please don’t get me wrong, basically everything was fair enough with this story, all the right questions were asked, the investigation was interesting and full of surprises but there was something that just didn’t sit with me so much), I still enjoyed it. What bothered me a little was the great number of characters – I was never sure if they’re going to be significant, very significant or not significant at all.
Altogether, “Death in the Stars” was a charming story, just as all the others in the series that I had pleasure to read. It is glamorous, it is cosy and it is clever and gentle. The mystery is masterfully written and the story itself is full of surprises and turns and this is this kind of book that you can read anytime, no matter what mood you’re in or what’s the weather – I am already looking forward Kate’s new adventures.