"When a Woman Steps Out, where does she really go?"
Reviewed by Audrey Lawrence
Posted April 26, 2015
Mystery Woman Sleuth | Mystery Historical
The maid is in tears, the hotel staff are not disclosing
the truth and a wealthy banker lies dead in a bedroom of
the well-known Metropole Hotel in Leeds. Scotland Yard
is investigating, but how can they get any information
from the distraught and crying young woman?
With her charm and skill at getting people to disclose
information, Kate Shackleton gets a summons from her
former beau, detective Marcus Charles to help him out.
Kate is happy to help but is Marcus really willing to
have her skills fully used?
Kate Shackleton is a lovely and cultured woman now in
her mid-thirties. She had not planned on being a private
investigator, but when her military surgeon husband
Gerald had gone missing during the Great War in 1917,
Kate had been searching for clues to help find him or
where he might be buried.
Despite her failure at finding Gerald, Kate is getting
known for being a sleuth extraordinaire and in the course
of helping find other missing people, she even came
across members of her own birth family.
Meanwhile, former policeman Jim Sykes and now her
investigative sidekick asks Kate to take on a case for
the very upset and distraught Cyril Fitzpatrick. He
loves his young wife Deirdre, but fears she is up to
mischief. Where does she really go when she says she is
visiting her sickly mom?
A WOMAN UNKNOWN is the fourth book in British author
Frances Brody's Kate Shackleton mystery series set
1920s time period. Brody has a lovely talent for giving
enough period detail that one feels drawn into the story
in a very authentic way, but it is not so overdone that
it overwhelms the very savvy and interconnected plotting
of many seemingly disconnected events and people in the
intriguing story of A WOMAN UNKNOWN.
I also find Kate to be a very likeable protagonist. Due
to her unique background and excellent observational and
listening skills, she is able to move between the various
social strata. I particularly like how Brody writes
Kate's thoughts in with the dialogue. Kate's reactions
to Marcus's style in trying to limit Kate's involvement
in his homicide investigation are wonderfully described.
Could they ever get together again?
While A WOMAN UNKNOWN is part of a series, it is the only
book I have read so far, so I can fully attest to be
being a very good stand-alone mystery as Brody alludes to
past events without over dwelling on them. Brody also is
very skilled at describing the attitudes, actions and
vocabulary of West Yorkshire society in the 1920s, so the
various actions of the characters ring true. I am sure
Brody's many fans will relish A WOMAN UNKNOWN as the
latest addition and I know I am definitely going to read
the earlier mysteries.
If you like historical fiction or are a fan of Charles
Todd's novels, I am quite sure you will take great
pleasure in slipping back in time to an era of change and
fine motor cars and finding out more about this very
intelligent female sleuth. So, don't wait -- get your copy
of Brody's latest Kate Shackleton latest mystery and
find out just exactly who and what is A WOMAN UNKNOWN!
A winning combination of both intricate plotting and
nostalgic post-WWI English country setting, A Woman
will appeal to fans of both classic murder mysteries in
vein of Agatha Christie as well as readers of historical
mystery series set in 1920s England, two popular
The Woman Unknown: 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
Kate Shackleton, amateur sleuth extraordinaire to
The Gentleman: 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
The Murder: When a chambermaid enters Runcie's hotel room,
she is shocked to find that he is alone - and dead!
Kate is thrown into the depths of an altogether more
sinister investigation. Can she uncover the truth of her
most complex, and personal, case to date?
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