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All of Frances Brody’s Books in Order!
Who is Frances Brody?
Frances Brody is the pseudonym used by English novelist and playwright Frances McNeil. She is specialized in historical fiction.
In fact, Frances Brody is now mostly known for the Kate Shackleton mystery series taking place in England during the 1920s about a thirty years old very perceptive and witty amateur sleuth extraordinaire from Yorkshire. When she stumbles onto a murder case, she has to investigate and she’s really good at it and even became renowned for it.
How to Read Frances Brody’s Books in Order?
The Kate Shackleton series
- Kate Shackleton’s First Case (2018, short story) – Yorkshire, 1921. Kate Shackleton, thirty years old, is taking tea with her friend, Doris who is on a visit from London. In the genteel environs of Harrogate’s premier tea room, violence is the furthest thing from anyone’s mind. But when Doris is set upon by a mystery assailant, it’s up to Kate to find out why – and in doing so, she soon develops a taste for detective work.
- Dying in the Wool (2009) – Bridgestead is a peaceful spot. Pretty and remote, nothing exceptional happens… Until the day that Master of the Mill Joshua Braithwaite goes missing in dramatic circumstances, never to be heard of again. Now Joshua’s daughter is getting married and wants one last attempt at finding her father. Kate Shackleton has always loved solving puzzles. So who’s better to get to the bottom of Joshua’s mysterious disappearance?
- A Medal for Murder (2010) – A night at the theatre should have been just what the doctor ordered until Kate stumbles across a body in the doorway. The knife sticking out of its chest definitely suggests a killer in the theatre’s midst. Kate likes nothing better than a mystery. So when a ransom note demands £1,000 for the safe return of the play’s leading lady, the refined streets of Harrogate play host to Kate’s skills in piecing together clues…
- Murder In The Afternoon (2011) – Young Harriet and her brother Austin have always been scared of the quarry where their stone mason father works. So when they find him dead on the cold ground, they rush off quickly to look for some help. When help arrives, however, the quarry is deserted and there is no sign of the body. It seems like another unusual case requiring the expertise of Kate Shackleton–and Mary Jane, the children’s mother, is adamant that only she can help.
- A Woman Unknown (2012) – Deirdre Fitzpatrick is married to a man who wants to know where she really goes when supposedly taking care of her sick mother and calls on the expertise of Kate Shackleton, amateur sleuth extraordinaire to investigate. Everett Runcie is a banker facing ruin and disgrace. His American heiress wife will no longer pay for his mistakes, or tolerate his infidelity, and is seeking a divorce. When a chambermaid enters Runcie’s hotel room, she is shocked to find that he is dead!
- Murder on a Summer’s Day (2013) – When the India Office seeks help in finding Maharajah Narayan, they call upon the expertise of renowned amateur detective Kate Shackleton to investigate. But soon a missing person case turns into murder. Shot through the heart, Narayan’s body has obviously not been in the woods overnight. Who brought it here, and from where? And what happened to the hugely valuable diamond that was in the Maharajah’s possession?
- Death of an Avid Reader (2014) – Lady Coulton gave up the baby that would have ruined her marriage, born when Lord Coulton was abroad. Now that her husband is dying, she asks Kate Shackleton to find Sophia. It is forty years since the ghost of a dead librarian haunted the old library, yet the stories have begun again. Kate does not believe in ghosts but obligingly takes part in a ceremony to expel the restless spirit. Shockingly, there is a body in the basement, strangled, and covered in dusty volumes from a fallen bookcase. It is Dr. Potter, a mathematician.
- A Death in the Dales (2015) – When the landlord of a Yorkshire tavern is killed in plain sight, Freda Simonson, the only witness to the crime, becomes plagued with guilt, believing the wrong man has been convicted. Following her death, it seems that the truth will never be uncovered… But it just so happens that Freda’s nephew is courting the renowned amateur sleuth Kate Shackleton, who decides to holiday in Langcliffe with her teenage niece, Harriet. When Harriet strikes up a friendship with a local girl whose young brother is missing, the search leads Kate to uncover another suspicious death, not to mention an illicit affair.
- Death at the Seaside (2016) – Nothing ever happens in August, and tenacious sleuth Kate Shackleton deserves a break. Heading off for a long-overdue holiday to Whitby, she visits her school friend Alma who works as a fortune teller there. Kate had been looking forward to a relaxing seaside sojourn, but upon arrival discovers that Alma’s daughter Felicity has disappeared, leaving her mother a note and the pawn ticket for their only asset: a watch-guard.
- Death in the Stars (2017) – Yorkshire, 1927. Eclipse fever grips the nation, and when beloved theatre star Selina Fellini approaches trusted sleuth Kate Shackleton to accompany her to a viewing party at Giggleswick School Chapel, Kate suspects an ulterior motive. During the eclipse, Selina’s friend and co-star Billy Moffatt disappears and is later found dead in the chapel grounds. Kate can’t help but dig deeper and soon learns that two other members of the theatre troupe died in similarly mysterious circumstances in the past year.
- A Snapshot of Murder (2018) – Yorkshire, 1928. Indomitable sleuth Kate Shackleton is taking a well-deserved break and indulging in her other passion: photography. When her local Photographic Society proposes an outing, Kate jumps at the chance to visit Haworth and Stanbury, in the heart of Brontë Country, the setting for Wuthering Heights. But when an obnoxious member of their party is murdered, the group is thrown into disarray.
- The Body on the Train (2019) – London, 1929. In the darkness before dawn, a railway porter, unloading a special train from Yorkshire, discovers a man’s body, shot and placed in a sack. There are no means of identification to be found and as Scotland Yard hits a dead end, they call on the inimitable Kate Shackleton, a local sleuth, confident in her local knowledge and investigative skills will produce results. But it’s no easy task.
- Murder is in the Air (2020) – North Yorkshire, 1930. It’s the season for warm and spirited countryside celebrations. Ever since the war, pubs have been in the doldrums, and in an attempt to promote and breathe new life back into the business, brewers select a charismatic employee as local queen–to be the face of their industry. And this year’s queen, wages clerk Ruth Parnaby, has invited the ever intrepid Kate Shackleton and her niece Harriet to accompany her on public engagements at a garden party thrown in her honor. But when Ruth leads children to the stables for pony rides, the drayman is missing, later found in the last place imaginable–the fermentation room, deceased.
- A Mansion for Murder (2022) – 1930, Yorkshire. Intrigued by a mysterious letter from a stranger offering important information, Private Investigator Kate Shackleton arrives in the mill village of Saltaire. At nearby Milner Field mansion, overshadowed by its reputation for misfortune and untimely deaths, she expects to meet the letter writer, Ronnie Creswell.
The Brackerley Prison Mysteries
- The Sisters on Bread Street (aka Somewhere Behind the Morning, 2003) – Leeds, 1914. Sisters Julia and Margaret Wood are struggling to rise above devastating poverty, while the threat of war looms large over their community. Angry feelings about foreigners have reached boiling point; their German-Jewish father’s search for work proves hopeless, leaving entrepreneurial Julia to keep the family afloat by hawking homemade pies on the streets of Leeds. Her beautiful elder sister Margaret, an apprentice milliner and new member of the suffragette set, seeks a faster way out of the daily grind, pinning her hopes on a rich suffragette’s journalist son, Thomas. But as the war rages on, it is left to Julia to discover the true meaning of courage and family, as she learns to look forward to the start of the new day – and the promise of a better life ahead.
- Sixpence In Her Shoe (2006) – As a child, Jessica Price was given a beautiful pair of shoes with a sixpence hidden in the toe. Her father explained that the coin was from the fairies and was “for luck, and to say you have far to go in life.” Growing up in the aftermath of World War I, Jess is torn between her hen-pecked father and her cantankerous, ambitious mother. For amusement, she creates alternative fairy tales while submitting to her mother’s strict Catholic upbringing. Following a disastrous spell as housekeeper to the local priest, Jess works happily in the office of her uncle’s shoe factory and falls in love with her childhood soul-mate and adopted cousin Wilf, who dreams of being a great artist and sculptor. But it is only when she must rescue her godchild from an orphanage that Jess’s path is truly set and she finally steps into an enchanted future. Filled with courage, loyalty, and enduring love, this is a charming story that proves that there is a touch of magic in everything.
- Halfpenny Dreams (aka Sisters of Fortune, 2007) – Sophie and Rosa Moran are born into a working-class family struggling to rise above poverty. Their father is a lowly employee at Thackreys’ Bank, a powerful family-run concern. Sophie and her sister first come into contact with the Thackrey family – especially young Lydia – as children through their father’s job. In spite of the social differences between them, they form an enduring friendship. Years later, their paths cross again when Barney Moran is sacked from the bank, and the girls beg Mr Thackrey for help. Swept up in a dramatic chain of events, the lives of the two families are changed forever . . .
- Now I am a Swimmer (2004) – A non-fiction book the Leeds Children’s Holiday Camp Association.
If you like Frances Brody’s books, you may also want to see our guide to Rhys Bowen’s Molly Murphy series or to The Maisie Dobbs series. Don’t hesitate to follow us on Twitter or Facebook to discover more book series.This article was last updated on May 25, 2023.