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11 of 11 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Thoroughly modern murder
'Medal for Murder' is the second Kate Shackleton mystery by Frances Brody, eagerly awaited and highly enjoyable! Murder mysteries always elude me - watching the detectives is more my style - but the puzzle kept me engrossed, and I was surprised by certain twists and false clues.

Now a fully fledged private investigator, with an assistant and a cherrywood filing...
Published on 13 Oct 2010 by Sarah Powell

versus
3.0 out of 5 stars Not quite Grand Opera
Fans of Frances Brody - and I am one - my find this outing of Kate Shackleton a bit fussy and unfocussed. Set in the world of regional amateur dramatics, the story struggles to hold its main course and our key character, Kate herself, is oddly distanced from her own narrative. In other Brody novels Kate is more invested n the story, more involved with the characters she...
Published 8 months ago by Martyn Auty Ltd


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11 of 11 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Thoroughly modern murder, 13 Oct 2010
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Sarah Powell "flippitygibbit" (Yorkshire, UK) - See all my reviews
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'Medal for Murder' is the second Kate Shackleton mystery by Frances Brody, eagerly awaited and highly enjoyable! Murder mysteries always elude me - watching the detectives is more my style - but the puzzle kept me engrossed, and I was surprised by certain twists and false clues.

Now a fully fledged private investigator, with an assistant and a cherrywood filing cabinet, Kate Shackleton is hired to investigate a robbery at a pawnbrokers in Leeds. A strange coincidence leads her investigation to Harrogate, where an eccentric theatre acquaintance is also staging her first production. After the play, Kate and her friend find the body of one of the sponsors in a doorway, and a starlet from the cast goes missing. Her grandfather, a veteran of the Boer war, is sent a ransom note, and asks Kate to help find her. Involved in three apparently separate cases, Kate's inquisitive nature is aroused, but the deeper she delves, the more secrets are uncovered.

I vastly prefer 'cosy' detective mysteries to the more hardcore police procedural series out there, and the Kate Shackleton books have the added bonus of being set in 1920s Yorkshire! Kate is a thoroughly modern lady of independent means, running a business with a former policeman as her assistant, driving her own car, and flirting with Scotland Yard detectives. Although Frances Brody keeps the post-WW1 era in mind, her brave and intelligent heroine is never held back in her determination to find the truth, and even uses her 'gentle sex' and genteel appearance to her advantage. The only time in this novel that I thought Kate was perhaps being rather too daring was the romantic development towards the end, but I suspect that relationship is going to continue with the series, so maybe Kate knows best after all!

I really enjoyed the South African backstory and the guided tour around Harrogate, which Frances Brody obviously researched well, and I didn't suspect the real murderer at all. My only gripe is that I had to wait so long for the sequel!
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8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars 1920s crime in Yorkshire, 11 Oct 2010
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Damaskcat (UK) - See all my reviews
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Set in the early nineteen twenties, this is a fascinating story of a murder, a potential kidnapping and blackmail with theft thrown in as well. Kate Shackleton - private investigator - and her employee Jim Sykes, a former policeman are asked to contact a pawnbroker's clients for him after he suffers a robbery at his job. This leads Kate to Harrogate where she is to watch the last night of a play produced by an acquaintance. But it seems murders follow her around and she finds the body of a local businessman, Laurence Milner, as she leaves the theatre. This brings her into contact again with Inspector Charles from Scotland Yard who featured in Kate's previous case Dying in the Wool (Kate Shackleton Crime Story)

I really enjoyed this quite complex and far ranging story. It is narrated by Kate herself for the most part but there are some chapters which reveal other parts of the story to the reader. There are many twists and turns before everyone's secrets are revealed and both for the reader and for Kate it is not always easy to see who can be trusted and who can't. I can empathise with Kate and the restrictions placed on women in that era in spite of their newly acquired right to vote. In some ways Kate is fortunate being a widow as she has rather fewer restrictions on her than others have. Even so, reputation is all and she has to be careful what she does.

I like the author's style of writing and it makes a refreshing change to find a book set in other parts of the country than London. Most of the action in the book takes place in and around Harrogate and Kate herself lives near Leeds. This book is well worth reading if you want a crime novel which is a little out of the ordinary - I recommend it.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A fascinating tale of deception, and murder, 29 Aug 2011
At the end of the Great War seeking information as to what happened to her husband Gerald, posted missing, Kate Shackleton undertook to locate missing persons as a kindness to other women in situations such as herself. Although still unclear as to what happened to Gerald, Kate has now in 1922 set up as a Private Investigator and following a robbery at a pawn-shop Kate is retained by the distraught owner to advise his customers of the loss of their items and if possible to track down the culprit.

Visiting Harrogate to carry out her contractual obligation for the pawn shop owner, and taking the opportunity to see a play, Kate virtually trips over a dead body outside the theatre. Seeking another pawn shop customer Kate is approached by Captain Wolfendale who fears his granddaughter Lucy who was in the play has been kidnapped. Soon Kate is drawn into the lives of the actors.

The story is told with a series of flash backs to the turn of the century when Lucy's grandfather was a Captain during the Boer war. The descriptions of the scenes are quite harrowing, and invoke a terrible period in British history.

In 'A Medal for Murder', Frances Brody had produced a fascinating tale of deception, and murder, as she skilfully negotiates the reader through a tangle of fraud and dishonesty.

The characterisation is superb. Interestingly, one of Kate's decisions brings her into direct conflict with her trusty sidekick the ex-policeman Sykes. Whilst I could see Kate's point, I felt that the reader knew more about the character in question than did Kate, and I wondered if Kate's decision would come back to haunt her.

An excellent story well paced that keeps the reader turning pages. One of those unable-to-put down books. Highly recommended.
------
Lizzie Hayes
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A medal for Frances Brody, 3 Nov 2010
Feisty sleuth Kate Shackleton embarks on her second case - or, more accurately, her second, third and fourth cases, as a search for stolen property expands to include a murder mystery and a missing person enquiry. The setting is 1920s Harrogate and the local and period flavour is genetically part of the style, with no apparent special effort. The three parallel mysteries mesh and writhe together like anacondas, with more red herrings than a fisherman's basket, and if the final resolution is the merest tad forced it does not detract one whit from the enjoyment. The author uses both first and third person narration, which in less accomplished hands could be a recipe for disaster, but here it works admirably, and digressions into the Boer War (lots of research here, incidentally) serve to give an extra dimension to Kate's first person storytelling.

Frances Brody has a flair for creating distinctive characters and the story is peopled by memorable individuals who prevent the intricate plot from ever becoming mechanical. For good measure Kate is confronted by moral dilemmas - how much of what she knows should she reveal? where is the line between the law and justice? - and there is (possibly, probably) the beginning of a romance, with tantalising hints that it could progress further in forthcoming adventures.

Elmore Leonard this is not, and if you want gritty realism stay with Rebus, but if you are a fan of the classical, 'golden age' detective story and you appreciate stylish, literate writing, then this is emphatically one for you.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Entertaining and well written., 24 April 2013
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This review is from: A Medal For Murder: A Kate Shackleton Mystery (Kate Shackleton Mysteries Book 2) (Kindle Edition)
Neatly worked, it kept me engrossed right through. I really like this female detective, and the period details are well researched.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A Medal for Murder, 12 Mar 2013
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This review is from: A Medal For Murder: A Kate Shackleton Mystery (Kate Shackleton Mysteries Book 2) (Kindle Edition)
I read a lot of thriller/mystery books. Many are violent with swear words. Maybe these are typical of the characters but I was brought up on the old classic writers. France's Brody writes more in a style which is relaxing rather than shocking. There are few gory details and the plot and characters are entertaining, and with some redeeming features. This book can be recommended to any age or sex. I will read more of them.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Gentle detective fiction with a bite., 1 Mar 2013
This review is from: A Medal For Murder: A Kate Shackleton Mystery (Kate Shackleton Mysteries Book 2) (Kindle Edition)
Very pleasant read and some red herrings to keep you hooked .
Liked the non graphic reference to a night of sex bit like a 40s movie scene.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Better than the first one, 31 Dec 2012
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I think this is my favourite of the Kate Shackleton mysteries. The mixing of tenses the author used in the first book has gone. She still uses flashbacks to the past or to describe the predicament of other characters, but in this novel, it works well & the whole plot/writing is much tighter and more structured. The characters are very good and the plot twisty and surprising, which definitely holds the attention. A very satisfying and enjoyable read.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars So Many Suspects - So Many Surprises ........, 15 Feb 2012
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Mrs. C. Colbert (Blackburn, Lancashire, UK) - See all my reviews
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Even though I loved the 1st book (Dying In The Wool: A Kate Shackleton Mystery)I think this one is even better!

When Kate is asked to inform the robbed pawnshops customers of their stolen pledges she travels to the lovely spa town of Harrogate where, by coincidence, she also becomes involved in a murder mystery and is asked to look for the missing daughter of a Boer War hero (who served in the war with the murder victim) and who has received a ransom demand that doesn't quite ring true. Are they connected in any way - if so, how and why?

As Kate tries to find the answers, we are taken from the streets of Harrogate to the battlefields of the Boer War in 1900 and the relationship between Captain Wolfendale and his batman, which I found really informative as I knew very little of that particular conflict.

There is so much going on in this book that it is never boring and speeds along at a pace that's not too slow or too fast. There are so many suspects and so many surprises that I just did not have a clue which way the story was going to go. What more could you want in a mystery?

Kate is a really good judge of people and her observations are usually spot on, she is independent and observant and I really warmed to her, and I loved it when a little romance came into her life!

Highly enjoyable and ideal for cosy mystery readers.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Another gentle story, 30 Sep 2013
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This review is from: A Medal For Murder: A Kate Shackleton Mystery (Kate Shackleton Mysteries Book 2) (Kindle Edition)
After reading the Stieg Larsson trilogy (which I thoroughly enjoyed) I decided to try something a bit more gentle. I discovered Frances Brody's first Kate Shackleton novel by chance while on holiday in Yorkshire and I found It easy to read and get involved with the characters right from the start. I then decided to try this second novel which didn't disappoint. If you like a simple murder mystery (Ilike TV's Morse and George Gently) then I think you will enjoy this book.
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