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Murder in the Afternoon: A Kate Shackleton Mystery    by Frances Brody order for
Murder in the Afternoon
by Frances Brody
Order:  USA  Can
Minotaur, 2015 (2011)
Hardcover, Softcover, e-Book
* *   Reviewed by Hilary Williamson

Frances Brody's Murder in the Afternoon is a charming English historical whodunit, set post World War I. Though this is the third in the series (following Dying in the Wool and A Medal for Murder), it's the first one I've read, but that did not dilute my enjoyment of the book at all.

The story opens as two children (ten-year-old Harriet and her small brother Austin) stumble upon their father's corpse when they deliver his dinner to the quarry site where he was working on a sundial repair - 'a country child knows a dead thing when she sees it.'

Our heroine, PI Kate Shackleton, is pulled into an investigation when the children's mother, Mary Jane Armstrong, knocks on her door in the middle of the night, seeking her help - the corpse has disappeared and police do not believe the children's story.

Kate is reluctant until Mary Jane reveals their connection. So she heads to Great Applewick with Mary Jane, leaving a message for her assistant, ex-policeman Sykes. Local gossip is that 'Ethan Armstrong is an atheist and a revolutionary' and a witness claims to have seen Mary Jane at the quarry.

Eventually, Mary Jane is arrested - by Scotland Yard's Marcus Charles, with whom Kate is having an affair. Of course, he tries to keep her out of the investigation in a manner that is rather patronizing. And naturally, she ignores his wishes, keeps digging, and helps solve the case. An engaging cozy!

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