cover image Death in the Stars: A Kate Shackleton Mystery

Death in the Stars: A Kate Shackleton Mystery

Frances Brody. Minotaur, $25.99 (384p) ISBN 978-1-250-15479-8

Set in 1927, Brody’s intricate ninth Kate Shackleton mystery (after 2017’s Death at the Seaside) takes Leeds private investigator Kate, at the invitation of famous music hall chanteuse Selina Fellini, to Yorkshire’s Giggleswick School to view an upcoming total solar eclipse. During the eclipse, Selina’s fellow performer, comedian Billy Moffat, disappears, later to be discovered comatose in the chapel. Shortly before Billy dies, Selina confesses to Kate that two other members of her troupe have recently met their demises under strange circumstances, and, though the deaths were ruled accidental, Selina fears that her estranged husband, Jarrod Compton, who returned from WWI emotionally damaged, may be involved. Kate turns for help in solving the crimes to her usual partners, Jim Sykes and Mrs. Sugden, but also gets some unexpected assistance from Giggleswick’s head boy and a ventriloquist’s dummy. Authentic period detail and memorable characters from the British music hall world distinguish this traditional mystery. Agent: Judith Murdoch, Judith Murdoch Literary (U.K.). (Feb.)