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A murder, a monkey and a missing daughter

Death of an Avid Reader

A Kate Shackleton Mystery

by Frances Brody

St. Martin's Press

Minotaur Books

Mystery & Thrillers

Pub Date 13 Sep 2016


Kate Shackleton is a rarity in rural post WWI England - a professional private detective. Independent, pragmatic, and highly perceptive, Kate is an excellent investigator, despite the limitations of the time on communication and travel. She is assisted by her colleague Sykes, a former policeman.

In Death of an Avid Reader, Kate is drawn into two possibly overlapping cases. First, Lady Coulton has asked Kate to find the daughter she gave up for adoption many years ago. Second, the discovery of a body in the basement of the library prompts Kate to investigate, as the police are all to ready to accuse a deathly ill man of his murder. As the man is clearly too sick to have committed the crime, Kate is eager to discover who is truly responsible.

Part of what makes this novel so enjoyable is the vast array of well defined characters. Not only are they pleasingly unique, they are also believable. When you add in the original plot, it is no surprise that Death of an Avid Reader excels.

Death of an Avid Reader is an excellent choice for cozy lovers looking for something different, or those who enjoy post WWI period mysteries, such as those by Jacqueline Winspear and Charles Todd. I highly recommend the Kate Shackleton mysteries.


I received a copy of Death of an Avid Reader from the publisher and in exchange for an honest review.



An intricate plot in the post-WWI English countryside and Frances Brody's "refreshingly complex heroine" (Kirkus) make for absorbing 6th installment in this mystery perfect for fans of Jacqueline Winspear and Agatha Christie.

The Search for a Daughter

Lady Coulton gave up the baby that would have ruined her marriage, born when Lord Coulton was abroad. Now that her husband is dying, she asks Kate to find Sophia.

A Haunted Library

It is forty years since the ghost of a dead librarian haunted the old library, yet the stories have begun again. Kate does not believe in ghosts but obligingly takes part in a ceremony to expel the restless spirit. Shockingly, there is a body in the basement, strangled, and covered in dusty volumes from a fallen bookcase. It is Dr. Potter, a mathematician.

A Killer on the Loose

Dr. Potter’s body is taken away. The police find a sick man sheltering in the basement. He is an Italian, Umberto, an organ grinder and owner of a lively Capuchin monkey. Umberto becomes the prime suspect and will be charged with murder. Kate goes with Umberto to the infirmary. But he is too weak to be a suspect. And now Kate must set out to find the real culprit...

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