Tuesday, 4 October 2016

Book Review: Death at the Seaside by Frances Brody

Death at the Seaside by Frances Brody

It’s nice to finally get stuck back into reading and reviewing books after a few hectic weeks of uni and placement! A couple of months back, I got an email from Clara Diaz at Little, Brown Book Group asking if I wanted to be part of a blog tour for Death at the Seaside by Frances Brody. I had a look into the book and in the end, I decided to go for it and have a read outside of my normal comfort zone. I’ve never read anything by Brody before this novel, so the characters and her writing style were all new to me, but it was a book that I thoroughly enjoyed for a ridiculous number of reasons. The cover is absolutely gorgeous and I really think it reflects the era of the novel.

The story is a pretty simple one at first sight. Kate Shackleton, the hero of Brody’s previous novels, is feeling a little bit worse for wear and wants to take a break from her job as a private investigator. She heads to Whitby in Yorkshire to spend some time with a school friend and the mother of her god-daughter, Felicity. When she arrives, she decides to reminisce a little and revisits the jewellery store where her late husband, a wartime fatality, bought her engagement ring. She discovers the shop owner dead in the backroom and finds herself involuntarily caught up yet another mystery. In the meantime, Felicity has vanished completely; as an audience we learn that she’s gone, with her boyfriend, in search of her long-lost dad, a dad she knows very little about. It later emerges that the dead jeweller has links back to Alma, leaving a very interesting case in Kate’s very capable hands. I’ll stop there with my little summary of the story as it’s one of those that you actually have to read yourself to truly appreciate (and no-one likes being spoiled!)

The characters are incredibly likeable and I could definitely see myself picking up some of her other books as a consequence. Luckily, I didn’t need to have read any of her others to understand what was going on here. I found myself instantly attached to Kate and loved her quick witted personality and loved everyone else as well- I found the chapters involving Felicity a little less conclusive than the others and would have liked to have a little more from her perspective. The writing style, and consequently the storyline, is particularly easy to follow and by no means sacrifices the prestige of the writing itself. I find myself judging a book by how the story progresses; this one had little titbits of information released at a time, which I definitely preferred and the ending itself made sense and didn’t have any fateful plot gaps which befall so many other novels. It kept me guessing as to who the perpetrator was right until the end- my favourite kind of story- and it wasn’t an ending which made me go “HOW? WHAT? WHY?” My absolute ‘tell’ for a terrible ending – I was very pleased to not have that tell, here!

I’d like to thank Clara at Little, Brown Book Group for my paperback copy, I’m so chuffed to have had the opportunity to read and review such a fabulous book. I’d definitely recommend that you give it a go if you enjoy classy, sophisticated texts with an essence of crime. This text is definitely one that you read all snuggled up on the sofa with a cup of tea (in the finest bone china teacups) in one hand and a cucumber sandwich in the other. The perfect easy read for any book lover.

3.5/4 out of 5.


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