cover image A Medal for Murder: 
A Kate Shackleton Mystery

A Medal for Murder: A Kate Shackleton Mystery

Frances Brody. Minotaur, $25.99 (432p) ISBN 978-0-312622-40-4

Set in 1922 Yorkshire, Brody’s second Kate Shackleton mystery (after 2012’s Dying in the Wool) falls short of the standard set by such authors as Jacqueline Winspear and Charles Todd in creating early 20th-century female sleuths whom Harriet Vane could have regarded as peers. Near the start, Kate catches a glimpse of herself in a mirror, and describes what “the stylish lady detective is wearing this season under her motoring coat,” revealing her to be appearance-conscious in a way that Maisie Dobbs and Bess Crawford are not and perhaps less serious when it comes to catching criminals and seeking the truth. That’s not borne out by the plot, in which Kate tries to solve a robbery of a Leeds jewelry store before shifting gears to a homicide inquiry after stumbling across a corpse on her way home from the theater. Unfortunately, the storyline isn’t compelling enough to compensate for the less than engaging lead. Agent: Judith Murdoch, Judith Murdoch Literary. (Feb.)