Wednesday, March 15, 2023

ARC Review: A Mansion for Murder by Frances Brody

A Mansion for Murder

Author: Frances Brody
Series: Kate Shackleton Mystery (Book 13)
Publication: Crooked Lane Books (March 21, 2023)

Description: Old bones speak from the grave as a curse descends on Saltaire in acclaimed author Frances Brody’s thirteenth Kate Shackleton mystery, perfect for fans of Rhys Bowen and Jacqueline Winspear.

When Kate Shackleton disembarks at Saltaire station, in the West Riding of Yorkshire, she has no idea what to expect. A stranger, Ronnie Creswell, has written to say that he has urgent information about the past that will interest her, and he persuades her to make the journey to Milner Field, the grand house that is said to be cursed. But moments after Kate arrives at the lodge, a messenger brings devastating news to Ronnie’s parents: he has been found drowned in the mill reservoir.

Ronnie’s father suspects that this was no accident, and the post-mortem proves him right. Ronnie was murdered. Terrified and distraught, Mrs. Creswell refuses to stay at the Lodge a moment longer. But events take an even more shocking turn when ten-year-old Nancy Creswell, eyes and ears for her blind Uncle Nick, goes missing. An account of the fateful Saturday of Ronnie’s death arouses Kate’s suspicions, and further investigations could prove her right. But truth is never so straightforward at Milner Field. Uncle Nick spins an old story that could hold the key to finding Nancy alive—though the fabled curse may not have claimed its last victim yet. And only a set of old bones buried on the grounds will finally reveal the horrifying truth.

My Thoughts: When Kate Shackleton receives a letter from an unknown young man promising "a story about the past that I know will be of interest to you," Kate decides to make a visit to Saltaire and the Milner Field estate. 

Kate arrives at the appointed time only to find the police on hand informing his parents that young Ronnie Cresswell has been found dead in the reservoir under the woolen factory where he works. No one seems to know what information he intended to pass on to Kate.

When the head of the woolen mill speaks to her, he asks her to look into some industrial espionage that is threatening to put his mill out of business. Kate wonders if this information is what Ronnie had wanted to tell her. She and her housekeeper and her investigator decide to look into things. Things that might involve a long-standing curse on Milner Field and those who live in it. 

This story, set in 1930, is the thirteenth in the Kate Shackleton mystery series. It is the first I have read. I would not hesitate to read others. I enjoyed getting to know Kate, her housekeeper, and her investigator. I found the plot nicely twisty and with intriguing bits of history woven in too. 

Favorite Quote:
'He could be a madman,' she said, picking up the worn striped towel, 'or a prankster sending you on a wild goose chase.'

'Is it the season for a goose chase? Anyway, I've never been to Saltaire, and by all accounts Milner Field mansion is remarkable.'
I received this one in exchange for an honest review from NetGalley. You can buy your copy here.

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