I received a copy of this book from the publishers and this is my honest opinion of the book.
Kate Shackleton has taken her niece, Harriet, to the countryside to recuperate after an illness. It will also give Kate time to assess her relationship with Lucian Simonson. Staying in Lucian's deceased Aunt Freda's home Kate becomes aware that Freda was a witness to a murder 10 years previously and that she was adamant that the wrong person had been convicted and hung for the crime. Kate is at first reluctant to
Although this is only the second Kate Shackleton book I have read it was lovely to be back with the characters of Kate, Mr Sykes and Mrs Sugden. This time they are joined by Kate's niece, Harriet, who adds another element to the story, keen as she is to be a detective, like her aunt.
The scenery and characters are well drawn. I could easily picture the village and the locals, some of whom have secrets to hide. The atmosphere and feel of the 1920s was portrayed in a great way and I found myself transported back to what I imagine a country village on 1926 would be like.
The mystery was engaging. Was the wrong man hanged ten years ago for the brutal murder of the local pub landlord? Another suspicious death throws confusion into the mix. What does the disappearance of a young boy and an old affair that ended years ago have to do with it. It was lovely to read along and play armchair detective, seeing if I could guess the culprit.
The Kate Shackleton investigations are what I like to call 'gentle' murder mysteries, if you'll excuse the oxymoron. The blood, guts and gore aren't there and this was a time before DNA so investigations are centred on brain power unsupported by science. There's no swearing, violence is hidden and social hierarchy is shown to be important. They are books to curl up with on a rainy day, between episodes of Poirot and Miss Marple.
This is the seventh book in the series and though I prefer to read a series in order this could be read as a standalone. Whilst I'm waiting for the next book I'll just have to go back to the beginning.