Sleuthing becomes more than a diversion for a World War I maybe-widow whose husband is still MIA.
Now that Kate Shackleton and her assistant, ex-policeman Jim Sykes, have succeeded in solving a case of murder (Dying in the Wool, 2012, etc.), they’re asked to recover goods stolen from a pawnshop. Each of them is given a list of owners of pawned goods to notify. Kate’s list takes her to the spa town of Harrogate, where she’d taken cast photographs for Meriel Jamieson, a talented but dishonest theatrical producer. The name and address on Kate’s list prove to be fake, but the trip is far from a waste of time, for when she attends Meriel’s play, Kate stumbles over a dead body. The murdered man, wealthy Mr. Milner, was heartily disliked by all, including his son Rodney, who, as a friend of the lovely star of the play, Lucy Wolfendale, resented his father’s plan to marry her. Lucy, who wants to go to drama school, has cooked up a plan with another amateur thespian, Dylan Ashton, to extort tuition money from her grandfather, Captain Wolfendale, by faking her abduction. Having asked Kate to find Lucy, the Captain grows furious when he realizes that she’s looking into his past, especially the shady secrets he shared with Milner during the Boer War. Meanwhile, something more than a professional relationship has sprung up between Kate and Inspector Charles of Scotland Yard. There are a number of plausible suspects, including two who confess, but do they have the real killer in the end?
Brody’s excellent second offers a morally conflicted sleuth, historically detailed flashbacks to the Boer War and a clever mystery indeed.