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Dying in the Wool

(Kate Shackleton #1)

3.58  ·  Rating details ·  4,302 ratings  ·  589 reviews
Take one quiet Yorkshire village, Bridgestead is a peaceful spot: a babbling brook, rolling hills and a working mill at its heart. Pretty and remote, nothing exceptional happens.

Add a measure of mystery ...

Until the day that Master of the Mill Joshua Braithwaite goes missing in dramatic circumstances, never to be heard of again.

A sprinkling of scandal ...

Now Joshua's daugh
Paperback, 357 pages
Published October 1st 2009 by Piatkus
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Evelyn On the back of my copy, copywright 2009, and printed in the UK, it says illustration by Helen Chapman.

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Average rating 3.58  · 
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 ·  4,302 ratings  ·  589 reviews

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Dale Harcombe
Jan 09, 2020 rated it it was ok
In the quiet village of Bridgestead, Joshua Braithwaite, master of the mill goes missing. Is he dead? Or has he departed from his life in Yorkshire and is living elsewhere? Tabitha, Joshua’s daughter who is getting married, wants to know the truth. She wants him at her wedding, to give her away, if he is still alive. So she hires her friend Kate Shackleton, amateur sleuth to find out the truth. But she encounters some opposition, as not everyone wants to know why Joshua has disappeared.
This sta
Amalia Gkavea
I believe I have reached my limits with this one, and I have decided to set it aside. I really like reading a good British mystery that is light and cozy, once in a while. However, this one is too light and not cozy at all in my opinion. Unless ''cozy'' means being bored to death.

The writing is stalled as well as the interactions between the characters, the story goes on and on, because the author has put the heroine walking in circles, deliberately, to add more pages to the book. Kate Shackelto
Carolyn  Storer
3.5 Stars

Dying in the Wool is a delightful book. It's everything I hoped it would be for a cosy mystery. I really enjoyed the authors writing style, it's beautiful and very English. The time is set in the 1920's and the descriptive detail of the countryside and small village of Bridgestead is so vivid I could literally have been there.

Kate Shackleton is a wonderful character and I connected with her immediately. She's a very determined soul in a time when women were still treated as second class
Dec 07, 2019 rated it liked it
2.5 stars
I thought the story was rather thin and too long. It would have improved with a 50 pages less. Still, as it is the first in a series I will certainly try the next one because a series often improves with each new book.
Susan in Perthshire
Dec 29, 2016 rated it really liked it
Read a review on here which encouraged me to try out these mysteries. I have loved the Maisie Dobbs series and (in particular in the early novels), was impressed with Miss Winspear's authentic recreation of the times.
In Frances Brody's series, Kate Shackleton is a widow who takes up the role of private investigator after the end of WW1. The descriptions of the locations, the environment and the social scene in the early 1920s is beautifully done. I was drawn in from the beginning and really lik
Alayne Emmett
Nov 26, 2019 rated it liked it
This was a charity shop find, I was intrigued by the cover as it looked like it could be interesting. Sadly I was disappointed, not because of the actual story but, be a it was so slow. It was set in the 1920’s when the pace of life was much slower so, the writing was bang in tune with that time.
The descriptions and the way the main character solved the mystery made me think of an Agatha Christie novel which are written in a very similar way.
There are a lot of these books in the series and from
This the 1st book in the series, but the 2nd that I read. I was correct in that there was more backstory than what was revealed in the 2nd book. So kudos for not revisiting every little thing in book 2.

However, there was so much shoved into this book, it was like a particularly heavy dumpling to try and digest. Overwritten, with too many little side... story-ettes. A reader could be forgiven for thinking that the author intended to never write another book.

There was a cat, a photography contest,
May 09, 2012 rated it it was ok
A quiet Yorkshire village is shaken by a scandalous secret ...

This is quirky historical crime fiction with a wonderfully whimsical female narrator.

I did like the main character/detective/narrator - the book takes place just after WW1 in England. The main character has just taken her first paying private investigation case for a friend of hers. Kate is hired to find Tabby's father who has been missing and presumed dead for 4 years.

The book just dragged and dragged on, though, so I didn't really
Jun 02, 2013 rated it it was ok
At one point in “Dying in the Wool,” private investigator Kate Shackleton’s assistant claims they are “plodding in the dark.” I had to laugh. This novel was nothing if not plodding.

A little background: A PI-by-accident, Kate is an appealing, independent 31-year-old, who is about to undertake her first case for pay. It is 1923, Yorkshire, England. Ex-policeman Jim Sykes (“Mr. Plod”) assists her in solving the mysterious disappearance 7 years earlier of wealthy mill owner Joshua Braithwaite.

At fir
Mar 23, 2014 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: wcls
If you like Maisie Dobbs or Phryne Fisher or P.D. James' An Unsuitable Job for a Woman, you'd find this first-in-a-series up your alley.

Dec 29, 2014 rated it really liked it
Shelves: 5000, cosy-mystery
I read this for a bit of light relief but was pleasantly surprised by how much I enjoyed it. There's no gore or blood and guts but the characters, settings and twists and turns were great.

It's just after WW1 and Kate Shackleton's husband is 'missing in action'. Kate has helped other families find husbands,sons, brothers who are missing from their homes for a variety of reasons and now an old friend gets in touch and actually hires Kate to help solve the mystery of her father's death. Kate is sol
Jan 01, 2016 rated it liked it
Thanks goes to the unknown donor who left a copy of this book on the library's paperback rack at the local train station. This is the first in the Kate Shackleton mysteries featuring a genteel lady detective in the 1920's. Joshua Braithwaite, mill owner in Yorkshire, went missing seven years previously. His daughter Tabitha is about to be married and asks her friend Kate to find out what happened to him. Kate does, and in the process uncovers family secrets. I enjoyed this book and look forward ...more
Susan in NC
Jun 09, 2014 rated it really liked it
I really enjoyed this first outing with Kate Shackleton, budding private investigator in post-WWI Yorkshire. When this story opens Kate, a former nurse in the Great War, has quietly investigated several cases of soldiers who went missing in the fog of war; she gets satisfaction in finding answers for grieving families, and it had helped her cope with the loss of her own missing-in-action husband. But now a fellow nursing volunteer from the war years, Tabitha Braithewaite, has contacted Kate and ...more
Oct 09, 2014 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Kate Shackleton - widowed during World War I - has made a reputation for herself finding missing people. Her friend Tabitha asks her if she will try and find her missing father before her own wedding. Kate at first is reluctant to do so as she feels it is impossible after nearly 7 years to find Joshua Braithwaite - alive or dead, and she's not comfortable being paid for something she's always done free. She decided to try because there seemed to be a lot about Joshua's disappearance which hadn't ...more
Eva Müller
Mar 12, 2010 rated it it was amazing
Recommended to Eva by: Guardian-Review
Shelves: crime
One of the the most pleasant reading-surprises I've had for a while. I thought it was just another typical cozy-mystery. Nothing wrong with cozis but in many cases the characters with all their quirks are slightly more interesting then the crime-plot itself but not here. Both characters and plot are much more complex than I'm used to from other cozys. Kate does have some quirks but stays a solid character you can empathise with and none of the other characters seems stereotyoical or exagerated.
Dec 24, 2015 rated it really liked it
I quite enjoyed this first in a series by Frances Brody. It is set in England in the years immediately following World War I, in a small village where the major industry is in dyeing and weaving wool fabrics. It is quite a revelation to us in the ease of our lives to read of the incredible hardships most people endured as a matter of course in their lives. I enjoy books where I can learn something about people and places far removed from my way of life.
Mar 08, 2015 rated it really liked it
The first in a mystery series, Kate Shackleton is an interesting character. A widow after World War I, Kate becomes involved in searching for missing in action soldiers. This endeavor evolves into a career as a private detective. In her first case, we are introduced to Kate, Mr. Sykes her sidekick, and others. Looking forward to further installments. Available on Overdrive.
Oct 23, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Good mystery.

Good plot and development of characters. Enjoyed reading it very much. The era this was written in was fascinating even though the protagonist is a woman doing business and in a mans world.
May 19, 2019 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
That’s a generous three stars. The reviews are all over the place on this one, and I can see why. I was back and forth myself. I liked the main character, Kate Shackleton, but the story jumps back to previous scenes concerning other characters. With the audio, this got confusing. I am really not familiar with procedures and terminology concerning mills that make cloth, and that added to my confusion and general disinterest. So I just quit. One reviewer said that the second book was more interest ...more
There were several things that I liked about this book.

• I liked the main character, especially her sarcastic (sometimes snarky) thoughts and comments.
• I enjoyed the author’s writing style. The book was very “readable”.
• The mystery kept me fully engaged.
• I liked the setting of an English countryside.

What I didn’t like was… (view spoiler)
Dying in the Wool
3.5 Stars

In the aftermath of the Great War, Kate Shackleton is coping with the loss of her own husband by helping those whose loved ones have disappeared during the conflict. When an acquaintance for her days in the VAD (Voluntary Aid Detachment) asks for help in locating her missing father, a successful mill owner, Kate takes on the case. But not everyone is as eager for Kate to dig into the lives and secrets of the small Yorkshire village of Bridgestead, and she might just hav
Panda Incognito
Screamingly dull! When you can skim entire chapters two-thirds through a book and miss hardly anything plot relevant, the novel needs an overhaul. I liked this amateur sleuth, and the reveal was all right, but it took so many meandering, plodding, irrelevant pages to reach it that I had completely lost all the interest that I had at the beginning. The mystery had no real stakes, no character development occurred, and no one needed anything enough for me to stay engaged. The only reason the story ...more
Apr 21, 2016 rated it really liked it
Kate Shakleton's friend is getting married and she wants her father to walk her down the aisle - only her father has been missing for years. So she begs Kate to find him since she had luck in the past finding missing soldiers after the war. Kate does so and finds secrets that do not bode well.

I really enjoyed the setting and details of this book. The Mill town is described well and each chapter begins with a piece of information about weaving textiles that I found a nice bonus.

Kate is likeable a
Arpita (BagfullofBooks)
This a ‘cozy’ mystery set in post World War I Yorkshire. It is the first in the detective series starring an amateur sleuth- Kate Shackleton. In this case, Kate investigates the inexplicable disappearance of the father of an old friend of hers. The man in question, was a fabric mill owner. Though the characters in the story were well drawn and the details of the period depicted sounded authentic, the story failed to grip me.
Mar 30, 2011 rated it really liked it
Shelves: mystery, series
I was intrigued by this book's setting in Yorkshire after WWI. ...more
Oh, how I love a grand mystery. Thanks to a trusted book source, I found a “new to me” writer of British mysteries. FRANCES BRODY (pseudonym for Frances McNeil) published this book, DYING IN THE WOOL, in 2012. This is now an author whose books I plan to read.

The story introduces Kate Shackleton, a single woman, veteran of the Great War (aka WW 1) and maybe a widow. Her husband Gerald, a surgeon and member of the Royal Medical Corps, went Missing in Action in April 1918, four years before the st
Nov 11, 2017 rated it liked it
Shelves: detective
I enjoy Kate Shackleton, Frances Brody's 1920s detective, very much. Having served in the war, she's an appealingly practical and unsentimental hero, tootling around in her motor and cheerfully prying into the business of everyone she knows. Her ex-policeman assistant and her supportive housekeeper are also appealing characters who I'd like to get to know better.

However, the central mystery wasn't compelling enough to keep my attention. I would happily read more of Kate's observations of the peo
Sep 11, 2019 rated it liked it
This was a nice, cozy read. I had hopes for some Agatha Christie vibes but I had some Miss Fisher ones instead 🤭 which is fine, the tv show is to die for


So, the book is about Kate, a young widow who is asked by a friend to investigate the disappearance of her father, more specifically to find him before she gets married.

The main thing I liked about the story is that the action is set in the '20s. I love settings in that period.


Kate, the main character, is very good as a private investigator, to
Nov 14, 2017 rated it liked it
Shelves: 2017, mystery
Meh. I'm quite disappointed. I had hoped that I found my next cozy mystery series, and it looked very promising from the first few pages, but I just ended up disappointed. It was very slow moving, with not much to keep me engaged in the meantime. I'll stick with my beloved Gamache novels :-) ...more
Jul 18, 2018 rated it liked it
It‘s a nice fluffy easy read. Nothing to complicated, the characters are ok but nothing exciting or gripping. Everything is just so „meh“. I think it wouldn’t be a complete waste of time to read the second book but there are books that sound far more interesting than the second book...
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Cozy Mystery Corner : Kate Shackleton by Frances Brody 3 34 May 02, 2017 09:05AM  
Best Book Club: Looks like a keeper!!!! 1 3 Jun 04, 2015 01:22AM  

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Frances Brody's highly-praised 1920s mysteries feature clever and elegant Kate Shackleton, First World War widow turned sleuth. Missing person? Foul play suspected? Kate's your woman. For good measure, she may bring along ex-policeman, Jim Sykes.

Before turning to crime, Frances wrote for radio, television and theatre, and was nominated for a Time Out Award. She published four sagas, winning the H

Other books in the series

Kate Shackleton (1 - 10 of 12 books)
  • A Medal for Murder (Kate Shackleton, #2)
  • Murder In The Afternoon (Kate Shackleton, #3)
  • A Woman Unknown (Kate Shackleton, #4)
  • Murder on a Summer's Day (Kate Shackleton, #5)
  • Death of an Avid Reader (Kate Shackleton, #6)
  • A Death in the Dales (Kate Shackleton #7)
  • Death at the Seaside (Kate Shackleton, #8)
  • Death in the Stars (Kate Shackleton, #9)
  • A Snapshot of Murder (Kate Shackleton #10)
  • The Body on the Train (Kate Shackleton, #11)

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“Some day I would like to write a textbook on how to be a female detective in a man's world. Rule Number One: try not to let your animosity show. Your career as an investigator will be short lived if you cannot hide your feelings when you dislike, distrust, or despise your interviewee.” 7 likes
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