A meandering vintage murder – Death at the Seaside by Frances Brody

Book Reviews, Book Thoughts, Uncategorized, Writing

Kate Shackleton just wants a break away from her busy life, and to see her goddaughter Felicity. But when she arrives in Whitby for her seaside getaway she finds a dead body, and Felicity has run away. Are the two events connected? Is everyone in the town who they seem to be? Is Alma, Felicity’s mother, really as naive as she seems, hiding behind her fortune telling? And where is Felicity’s father?

Interestingly, the cover of this book make me not keen, but some of my close reading friends loved it. In the end, it was a pretty accurate portrayal of the contents. A fun, fairly slow mystery enjoying a coastal setting, with a fun female sleuth. I definitely enjoyed this book, though I think it is probably better if you’ve read the others in the series, and I prefer a bit more of a driven plot.

Kate Shackleton is a good character, though in this book I got the feeling that she has really proved her mettle elsewhere. There were references to the other books that suggest a bit more daring and ingenuity than we really see here; it definitely felt like she was stumbling to conclusions rather than working with much precision. This is party the set up; she never seems quite decided as to whether she is investigating the case or not.

Her friends, too, seemed to largely exist as references to other books. I’m not sure they were really needed to further the plot here, but presumably for people who have read the others it is a joy to read about them again. To me they seemed fairly hollow. The people of Whitby, however, were well painted, rounded and interesting. It was fun to meet a real range of people throughout the story.

The mystery itself was a good one. There were lots of angles to explore, plots to uncover and secrets to reveal. For a lot of the book I really didn’t know what to expect or think, which I enjoy. I was invested in a lot of the different plot lines, and was interested to find out more of all of them.

The resolution, though it worked and was satisfying, was a bit of a surprise. The clues leading to it seemed to only appear very late, with a lot of speculation in many other directions beforehand. I suppose as this isn’t exactly a whodunnit it didn’t matter hugely, but I felt a little bit cheated. I’m fairly sure, too, that there were one or two things that weren’t properly explained afterwards.

So really, the book fulfilled what I expected it to be – a bit of light hearted, seaside fun. I would definitely have hoped for a more pacy plot, but I suspect the other Shackleton books may well provide that. I’ve already got a few people who want to read this too, so I think it’s got a fair amount of appeal.

I received this book gratis in exchange for an honest review which you have just read.

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