A Mansion For Murder by Frances Brody

It’s 1930. Kate Shackleton is a widow. Her husband died on the Battlefield of the Great War.

In those times it was rare to come across a woman private investigator – but there she was, struggling with her career like so many others – the war had taken its toll.

Kate’s about to meet her most recent client, Ronnie Creswell, who has sent her a rather mysterious letter urgently requesting her presence at the Milner Field mansion in Saltaire. She’s both excited and curious since the letter does not state why her services are required. Perhaps it has something to do with the mansion itself or the family-owned mill business.

The mansion has the stigma of being cursed. It’s a grand Gothic structure with turrets and towers, looking forlorn and sad. It gives off an air of melancholy and it’s soon to be up for sale by auction. When Kate arrives she’s met with an odd assortment of family members, staff and relatives.

She’s feeling a bit cautious with this new client – and in the midst of it all, more tragic news seeps its way into the already oppressive mansion. A body was found floating face down in the mill’s reservoir – and it doesn’t take long to figure out, it was murder.

With the sale of mansion looming in the near future, Kate, her business partner Jim Sykes, and her personal housekeeper, Mrs. Sugden, find themselves hired to go “undercover” at the mansion. Their jobs are to get to the bottom of the murder, ferret out the killer and do it quickly before the auction.

But with all the mill employees and a large extended family, there’s no shortage of motives and plenty of suspects. As Kate and her crew start to uncover old, unsolved mysteries and murders at the mill and the mansion grounds, they begin to wonder if history has just repeated itself for the third time.

This solid tale is a British treat for mystery buffs who love taking a step back in time. It also assures the reader that buried secrets from the past will only stay buried for so long before pushing their way to the surface.

Readers will be kept wondering if they should follow the money. Or perhaps they should focus on the so-called “curse.” What about power struggles within the mill? Blackmail? An opposed engagement? A theft at the mansion? The author, Frances Brody, gives us plenty to think about.

It’s a huge cast of authentic characters to keep track of, but they lend themselves so perfectly to the mystery itself. People go missing, people are in danger. It’s up to Kate, Jim and Mrs. Sugden to stop a murderer because someone IS going to kill again.

An unsettling aura hovers over the mansion and this mystery. Atmospheric to perfection, well-plotted and engaging; published by Crooked Lane Books, A Mansion For Murder (A Kate Shackleton Mystery) is a perfect fall/winter read while nestled into a cozy chair with a throw over your lap and a cup of coffee or spot of tea in hand.

A copy of this book and cover photo were provided by Crooked Lane Books.

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