Murder on a Summer’s Day

Written by Frances Brody
Review by Joanne Dobson

The 1920s amateur detective, revived in several recent mystery series, has another winner in WWI widow, Kate Shackleton. Kate, adopted from the slums into the aristocracy as an infant, has connections in society both high and low, extremely convenient for a sleuth. In this outing, Kate has been recruited by the India Office to solve the disappearance of an Indian Maharajah visiting an English country house. When Prince Narayan is found murdered, his fabulously valuable diamond missing, she is charged with solving the politically fraught crimes. Who is the killer? One of the locals who’d been guiding him through the countryside? An aristocrat from the Duke of Devonshire’s country house? A member of an Indian royal family travelling to Bolton Abbey by train? Or, the maharajah’s fiancée, a gorgeous London showgirl with local roots? You’ll never guess.

Skillfully written and conceived, Murder on a Summer’s Day is a delightful, beautifully textured evocation of post-war British life, perhaps not so much as it actually was, but rather as it was fictionally conceived by contemporaneous writers such as Christie, Sayers, and Tey. Readers will feel as if they’ve come home again.