An intricate plot set in the 1920s English countryside and Frances Brody's "refreshingly complex heroine" (Kirkus) Kate Shackleton make Death of an Avid Reader an absorbing 6th installment in this mystery, perfect for fans of Jacqueline Winspear and Agatha Christie.
The Search for a Daughter
Lady Coulton gave up the baby that would have ruined her marriage, born when Lord Coulton was abroad. Now that her husband is dying, she asks Kate to find Sophia.
A Haunted Library
It is forty years since the ghost of a dead librarian haunted the old library, yet the stories have begun again. Kate does not believe in ghosts but obligingly takes part in a ceremony to expel the restless spirit. Shockingly, there is a body in the basement, strangled, and covered in dusty volumes from a fallen bookcase. It is Dr. Potter, a mathematician.
A Killer on the Loose
Dr. Potter’s body is taken away. The police find a sick man sheltering in the basement. He is an Italian, Umberto, an organ grinder and owner of a lively Capuchin monkey. Umberto becomes the prime suspect and will be charged with murder. Kate goes with Umberto to the infirmary. But he is too weak to be a suspect. And now Kate must set out to find the real culprit...
In Brody's charming sixth mystery set in 1920s England (after Murder on a Summer's Day), private detective Kate Shackleton agrees to help Lady Coulton locate the daughter she gave up soon after birth while her husband who's not the child's father was serving in South Africa during the Boer War. Lord Coulton, who's on his deathbed, would have divorced her at the time had he known of her indiscretion. Kate's search for the now-grown daughter takes her to Yorkshire, where she ends up participating in a ceremony to expel alleged ghosts from an old library in Leeds. In the library's dark cellar she happens on the strangled body of a well-known mathematician, as well as an organ grinder who's barely alive. Former policeman Jim Sykes ably assists Kate in the ensuing investigation. Kate and Jim are sharply rendered, quirky and intelligent with complementary skills. Readers will enjoy watching them at work.