Tag Archives: book reviews

#BookReview ‘Death and the Brewery Queen’ by @FrancesBrody #crime

Death and the Brewery Queen, twelfth in the Kate Shackleton 1930s detective series by Frances Brody, is a story of two halves and two murders. As always, sensible Kate is on hand to bring calm and control to a messy situation. Frances Brody

Kate and her sidekick Jim Sykes are employed by a brewery owner to sort out some business irregularities at Barleycorn Brewery in Masham, North Yorkshire. Is it a matter of employee pilfering, aggressive competitors, inefficiency or fraud? This is a low-key beginning, a gentle start which allows Brody to establish a wide cast of characters. The portrayal of the brewery and the town is the foundation for the series of linked crimes that follow. Threaded throughout the book is the story of Barleycorn’s wages clerk, Ruth Parnaby, and her quest to be crowned Northern Breweries’ beauty queen. The story is told in multiple viewpoints – Kate’s voice is first person, but in the voices of Mr Sykes, Harriet and Ruth we gather information that Kate doesn’t know. It does seem rather a long wait for the first death, after which the story speeds up and the false clues and connections begin to make sense.

Kate is a memorable, admirable heroine. She is firm and managerial when she needs to be, determined and unafraid of confronting male officialdom but also well-connected which helps break down barriers and find information possibly quite difficult to confirm quickly at that time. And she’s not afraid to take risks. She also proves empathetic to the struggles of the grindingly poor people involved in the outer circles of the story. Kate, a widow, has her own close family – niece Harriet, employee Mr Sykes, housekeeper Mrs Sugden, and of course her bloodhound Sergeant Dog – who each bring different but essential skills when on the hunt for a murderer.

This is a stop-start read, in contrast to the previous Kate Shackleton books I’ve read, but enjoyable nonetheless. Brody excels at drawing her 1920s and 1930s settings, so realistic and believable. A special mention for the scenes in Scarborough’s Grand Hotel, which I visited as an awestruck child.

Read my reviews of two other Kate Shackleton mysteries, A Death in the Dales and A Snapshot of Murder.

If you like this, try:-
Murder at Catmmando Mountain’ by Anna Celeste Burke
The Art of the Imperfect’ by Kate Evans
Due Diligence’ by DJ Harrison

And if you’d like to tweet a link to THIS post, here’s my suggested tweet:
DEATH AND THE BREWERY QUEEN by @FrancesBrody #bookreview https://wp.me/p5gEM4-58h via @SandraDanby

Book review: Forever Fredless

Suzy TurnerThis is a sunny ‘what if…’ story by Suzy Turner about a girl who longs for a dream not recognising that her life is offering her something better than that unattainable dream. It is a reminder to appreciate what you have, rather than covet something you can’t have.

Kate Robinson falls instantly in love when she is 12. She doesn’t know the boy’s name, they exchange a glance but not a single word, before being whisked away by their parents, destined never to meet again. As Kate grows older, no man matches up to ‘Fred’, as she thinks of him, until a surprise inheritance changes her life and shows her that there are other possible loves in her life than the unknown ‘Fred’.

Forever Fredless is a fast-moving chicklit novel which I read quickly on a flight going on holiday. Exactly the book to pack in your suitcase. It’ll teach you about the perils of celebrity, that money isn’t always a blessing, and that teenage dreams are made of clouds… but are still worth believing in.

For more information about other books by Suzy Turner, click here for her website.

If you like ‘Forever Fredless’, read these other romances:-
‘Stormy Summer’ by Suzy Turner
‘Butterfly Barn’ by Karen Power
‘The Art of Baking Blind’ by Sarah Vaughan

‘Forever Fredless’ by Suzy Turner [UK: Suzanne Turner Publishing] Buy now

And if you’d like to tweet a link to THIS post, here’s my suggested tweet:
FOREVER FREDLESS by @suzy_turner http://ow.ly/i/7SDnH #bookreview via @SandraDanby