Death of an Avid Reader

Written by Frances Brody
Review by Elizabeth Knowles

This story, the sixth in the Kate Shackleton mystery series, takes place in 1925 Leeds, England. There are actually two mysteries; they may or may not be related. Kate, whose soldier husband never returned from World War I, has turned to private investigation to earn a living. She is hired to find the illegitimate daughter of a London aristocrat. While Kate and her partner, ex-policeman Jim Sykes, are working on this case, a body turns up in the eerie basement of Leeds Library. Kate becomes involved with several quirky, secondary characters, including an endearing monkey who comes close to stealing the show.

The convoluted and complex plot winds on as Kate is painfully injured and faces mortal danger from the killer. Intricate and at times slow-moving, this novel does give enough backstory to satisfy the new reader, and explains things well enough that the book can stand alone. It includes fascinating descriptions of English class divisions between the wars, and detailed pictures of Leeds life in 1925. Fans of traditional English mysteries will like this one.