Dying in the Wool by Frances Brody

After I finished reading The Grass is Singing (see my previous post) I felt I needed to read something lighter and easier, so I turned to Dying in the Wool by Frances Brody and it turned out to be just the right book – not too taxing on either the brain or the emotions and a rather interesting mystery too.

It’s the first of Frances Brody’s Kate Shackleton Mysteries set in Yorkshire in 1922, with flashbacks to 1916. Bridgestead is a peaceful mill village, until the day in 1916 when mill owner Joshua Braithwaite went missing after apparently trying to commit suicide. Seven years later his daughter, Tabitha, who is getting married, still can’t believe her father is dead and she asks her friend Kate Shackleton to find out what really happened to him.

This is another post World War 1 crime novel, along the lines of Jacqueline Winspear’s Maisie Dobbs and Carola Dunn’s Daisy Dalrymple books, with an independent female amateur detective. Kate is a widow, her husband was missing in action during the war, presumed dead, her father is a police superintendent and she is a keen amateur photographer. On her father’s recommendation she hires Jim Sykes, an ex-policeman to help her. Once they start asking questions things start to happen with disastrous effects.

I liked the characters, Kate and Jim in particular, and the setting is lovely. The novel is well grounded historically in the aftermath of the First World War. I also liked the way the chapter headings were textile related with an explanation of the terms used and relevant to the events described in the chapters – very skilfully done, I thought. And just like woven cloth this mystery has many separate strands that Kate and Jim have to bring together to reveal what had happened in 1916.

This book fits well into several challenges – see the categories listed above.

Other books in the Kate Shackleton series are:

2. A Medal For Murder (2010)
3. Murder in the Afternoon (2011)
4. A Woman Unknown (2012)
5. Murder on a Summer’s Day (2013)
6. Death of an Avid Reader (2014)

8 thoughts on “Dying in the Wool by Frances Brody

  1. Sounds like another series to add to the TBR list! I like the Dandy Gilver series too, by Catriona McPherson – have you read those? The Scottish setting is a particular pleasure.


    1. Yes, I have read some of the Dandy Gilver series – I meant to mention that too. I particularly liked the one set in South Queensferry – The Burry Man’s Day.


  2. I saw a Frances Brody book in my local bookshop a few days ago, I admit I was attracted by the cover and wondered what it would be like, this one sounds like perfect reading for me at the moment. I’ve enjoyed all of the Catriona McPherson books.


  3. Margaret – Glad you enjoyed this. I do like that post-WWI era – so much going on then – and the idea of a solid female protagonist. Thanks for sharing.


  4. Sounds like just the kind of book I would enjoy–especially as a respite from a heavy book. I love textiles, so I’m sure the titles and mill connections would also appeal to me, along with the WWI connection.

    BTW, I have been watching Land Girls on NetFlix–just started the second series, which isn’t as strong as the first, but enjoyable nonetheless. Did you ever see it?


  5. Katrina, the books do have such distinct covers – very eye-catching!
    Margot, it’s the historical aspect that adds to the enjoyment.
    Jane, I must have missed Land Girls!


  6. I have this on my shelf to read. It has been there a while but reading this has made me get off shelf and buy the bed. Better chnace of being read now.


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