Yesterday saw the release of a new addition to Frances Brody’s Kate Shackleton Mysteries with Death at the Seaside.

When I was contacted by The Little Brown Group about the possibility of taking part in a Blog Tour to coincide with the release, I jumped at the chance. I had just listened to the audio book of Dying in the Wool- a complete impulse purchase from Audible- and had been pleasantly surprised to discover that the series is set in my home county of Yorkshire, with Kate hailing from my favourite city in the UK, Leeds.

So when I discovered that the newest release was set in Whitby, I decided to take a trip up to the Yorkshire coast to visit some of the locations that receive a mention throughout the book.

death at the seaside bagdale-hall
In the novel, Alma and her daughter Felicity live with Mr Cricklethorpe in Whitby’s tudor Bagdale Hall.

Nothing ever happens in August, and tenacious sleuth Kate Shackleton feels like she deserves a break. Heading off for a long-overdue holiday to Whitby, she visits her school friend Alma who works as a fortune teller there.  

Kate had been looking forward to a relaxing seaside sojourn, but upon arrival discovers that Alma’s daughter Felicity has disappeared, leaving her mother a note and the pawn ticket for their only asset: a watch-guard. What makes this more intriguing is the jeweller who advanced Felicity the thirty shillings is Jack Phillips, Alma’s current gentleman friend.

death at the seaside bothams
Alma and Kate eat share a pork pie and Russian slices at Bothams, which has been in Whitby since 1865. We had Afternoon Tea.

Kate can’t help but become involved, and goes to the jeweller’s shop to get some answers. When she makes a horrifying discovery in the back room, it soon becomes clear that her services are needed. Met by a wall of silence by town officials, keen to maintain Whitby’s idyllic façade, it’s up to Kate – ably assisted by Jim Sykes and Mrs Sugden – to discover the truth behind Felicity’s disappearance.

And they say nothing happens in August . .

death at the seaside royal-hotel
The Royal Hotel where Kate stays during her visit, has seen better days. I suspect it would have been rather grand in the 1920s.
death at the seaside view from the pier
Could this be Alma’s pepperpot on the pier?
death at the seaside whitby jet
Whitby Jet

I quite enjoyed Death at the Seaside. I did find that it ran out of steam about half way through and dragged a little. I would definitely say that I’ve enjoyed other Kate Shackleton stories more. Nevertheless, I did still enjoy it. Brody does a fantastic job of recreating the 1920s setting; the research is clearly well done. I particularly enjoyed Alma’s fascination with the supernatural, palm reading and tarot cards.

The Theosophy Society had a large number of members during this decade; Sir Arthur Conan Doyle believed in fairies around about this time and had fallen hook line and sinker for the Cottingley Fairies hoax in 1920. So it was a nice touch to feature a character with an interest in the occult that would have been popular with many during the day.

So, by and large I would recommend this book to people who enjoy a cozy mystery, particularly with a period setting. If you enjoy watching Miss Marple on TV or have read and enjoyed Agatha Christie or even the Agatha Raisin books then I would say that you’ll enjoy the Kate Shackleton series. I’m not sure that Death at the Seaside was the best but it’s definitely worth a read.

It’s also worth noting, to end the post, that its very easy to pick up this book, which is number eight in the series, without having read any of the others. So if a Whitby located mystery interests you but you’ve not read any of the previous books, I’d say that you could go right ahead and start with this one.