On the eve of her sixteenth birthday, Felicity Turner made a plan.
– Opening sentence
I’ve always enjoyed the crime genre; I see it as a personal challenge to try and solve the puzzle before it’s revealed. If I get it right it’s an mini celebration of my being a know-it-all. If I get it wrong and there’s a huge twist I’m equally (if not more) satisfied.
So when I had the opportunity to review Death at the Seaside, I was more than happy to accept.
Death at the Seaside is the eighth book in the Kate Shackleton Mystery series by Frances Body. This initially worried me as I thought there would be lots of backstory that I’d have missed, but fortunately Death at the Seaside works as a standalone story and can be read and enjoyed without having read the previous works.
Set in a 1920s Whitby, Brody does well to capture the essence of the beloved seaside town, transporting the reader effortlessly. Despite being curled up on my sofa in my slightly chilly flat (It’s October!), Brody had me tasting the sea salt in the air whilst I strolled along the Whitby beach, watching the boats sailing in the distance whilst my very own 1920s sweetheart whispers sweet nothings in my ear. Bliss.
Kate Shackleton has just arrived in Whitby for a two week holiday from her investigation business in Yorkshire. Whitby holds fond memories for her – she met her late husband here, and has an old school friend, Alma, who still lives her with her daughter, Felicity – Kate Shackleton’s goddaughter.
However this a detective novel and, not surprisingly but somewhat predictably, Kate Shackleton happens to wander into a jewellery shop and stumble across a murder. Of course she does.
And when her goddaughter goes missing, and both Alma and Felicity become linked to the death of the jeweller, Kate Shackleton can’t help but get involved. And of course, it just so happens that her assistant, Mr Sykes, as well as her housekeeper, Mrs Sugden, both appear to be holidaying in the neighbouring towns. Of course.
I can’t decide if these coincidences are a purposely cheesy nod to the genre, or an unimaginative way to introduce these supporting characters who obviously feature prominently throughout the series. Perhaps it’s part of the charm – because despite these predictable elements, Death at the Seaside is still a very enjoyable read.
The puzzle, in fact, wasn’t an obvious one. I didn’t solve it until right at the very end, which satisfied me. I thought it was well though-out, with interesting characters and plausible red herrings to keep the reader off the scent.
Felicity’s disappearance is a sub-plot, but I’m not entirely convinced of it’s significance. It doesn’t really strengthen the main plot, and in fact the plot would have remained the same without it’s inclusion. However, it did provide some rest-bite from the main story, and was an interesting story in it’s own right with good characters.
Overall, Death at the Seaside is an easy read, that any crime lover would enjoy with a blanket and cup of tea.
Thank you to Little, Brown Book Group who invited me to take part in this blog tour and provided me with a copy of Death at the Seaside in exchange for an honest review.
(3 / 5)
‘Your mothers have spoken. Just do it.’
– Final sentence
There is one bit of the story that is puzzling me. Mr Cricklethorpe gets hit over the head in an attempted murder, but why?? As far as I am aware, he knew nothing about anything – so I am genuinely confused by this plot hole. If you’ve read Death at the Seaside, PLEASE comment and fill me in!