Friday, February 26, 2016

"Murder on a Summer's Day"

Murder on a Summer’s Day, chosen by the New York Post as a “must read” book, is the fifth in Frances Brody’s 1920s series featuring Kate Shackleton, First World War widow turned sleuth. Murder in the Afternoon, third in the series, was named a Library Journal Best Mystery 2014. A Woman Unknown, book four, is nominated for an Edgar – the Simon & Schuster Mary Higgins Clark Award.

Brody lives in Yorkshire, England, the setting for her mysteries.

She applied the Page 69 Test to Murder on a Summer’s Day and reported the following:
On page 69 of Murder on a Summer’s Day, Kate Shackleton is in the Cavendish Arms Hotel in the village of Bolton Abbey on the Duke of Devonshire’s estate. She is interviewing former dancer Lydia Metcalfe, daughter of Yorkshire farmers and mistress of a missing maharajah, Prince Narayan.

Yesterday Narayan went deer-stalking and failed to return. This caused consternation locally and among civil servants at the India Office in London where Kate’s cousin James works. James telephoned Kate who drove to Bolton Abbey as quickly as she could. It is hoped that she will solve the puzzle of the disappearing prankster prince before his absence sparks a scandal or creates political difficulties. Could his disappearance be the result of a lovers’ tiff, or the desire to surprise his mistress by returning with a wedding ring?

Lydia is upset and resentful. Kate needs all her skills in order to find out what she needs to know.
‘I wondered whether the maharajah’s true purpose in coming here was to ask your father’s permission to marry you.’

Her eyes widened. ‘D’you know, I bet that was it. It would be just like him to behave like an old-fashioned suitor. When we arrived on Tuesday, the farm was our first call, at Narayan’s insistence. He particularly wanted to see my father but he was out of luck.’

‘Why was that?’

‘Dad wasn’t there. He and my brothers stayed clear until we had gone. Narayan talked to my mam.’

‘Did he mention marriage?’

‘He might have said something to Mam, while I was looking round the farm. My mother always tries to give me a job, tries to draw me back in. I went to collect eggs. But Narayan would get short shrift from Dad if he asked permission to marry me. I know exactly what he’d say.’


‘The usual. Narayan’s married already, his skin’s the wrong colour, I’m old enough, I’ve been pleasing myself all my life. Shall I go on?’

‘Not unless it helps to get it off your chest.’

She re-filled her glass and took a long swig. Her face was now flushed, her eyes a little glassy and fierce.

‘I don’t understand why Narayan is taking so long. He’s too used to his comforts …’
Learn more about the book and author at Frances Brody's website.

The Page 69 Test: Dying in the Wool.

The Page 69 Test: A Woman Unknown.

--Marshal Zeringue