Death at the Seaside

Written by Frances Brody
Review by Helene Williams

Private investigator Kate Shackleton is in dire need of a holiday, and heads from London to the seaside town of Whitby to rest and visit her old school friend Alma Turner. Any thoughts of relaxation are put aside, however, when Kate wanders into the town jewelry store to find the proprietor, Jack Phillips, dead from a blow to the head. At the same time, Alma’s daughter, Felicity, goes missing, after pawning her mother’s one valuable item at Phillips’ store. Suspects abound—from the fortune-telling Alma to Felicity to Kate herself—in this fast-moving tale.

Readers familiar with Shackleton will enjoy seeing Kate’s sidekicks, Mrs. Sugden and Jim Sykes, in vacation-turned-work mode; those new to the series will be immediately immersed in its post-Great War flavor. Whitby itself is a colorful character with its beachfront hotels, charming shops, and hillside abbey ruins. Subplots about Felicity’s estranged father, and the artistic and secretive Percival Cricklethorpe, add depth and drama to the already-busy scene. Add in a few Scotland Yard investigators and you’ve got the makings of an intricate, deftly-woven story with terrific period details and memorable characters. After solving this case, Kate Shackleton has certainly earned a holiday!