Avid Series Reader's Reviews > A Medal for Murder

A Medal for Murder by Frances Brody
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A Medal for Murder by Frances Brody is the second book of the Kate Shackleton mystery series set in 1922 England. Kate's husband was reported missing-presumed dead during the Great War. She has started a detective agency, with former policeman Jim Sykes as her competent assistant. They recently solved their first case (Dying in the Wool).

Their second case starts out gently. A pawnbroker had the contents of his safe stolen. Kate and Jim agree to discreetly contact the customers to reassure them of financial recompense. Kate combines business with pleasure by traveling to Harrogate to contact a pawnshop customer, then stays to attend a play directed by her friend Meriel.

After the play, Kate discovers a murder victim. The man had been seated near Kate in the audience. Giving her statement to the police, she is pleased to see detective Charles again. They first met in the previous case.

Meriel's landlord asks Kate to find his missing granddaughter Lucy. Kate senses the people living at the house are all keeping secrets. She makes use of opportunities to snoop, and finds surprising evidence.

Chapters set in 1899 Africa during the Boer War describe the history between a corporal, sergeant and their commanding captain. This gives the reader vital clues Kate doesn't have (yet).

A chapter set a few months earlier in 1922 describes how two young couples rehearsed their parts for the play by going on outings in character. We learn Lucy was counting on an inheritance at her upcoming birthday, as well as romance (or lack) between couples.

Like peeling an onion, Kate gradually learns more of the relationships of the cast members, Meriel's housemates, and other Harrogate residents involved with the play. As she uncovers the perpetrators of several crimes, Kate feels strong compassion for how they felt driven to break the law. She's not eager to report all she knows to the police. She and Jim disagree fiercely if compassion can excuse a crime.

Subplots are skillfully crafted to reveal key information slowly. Fascinating how almost all the events and crimes inter-relate, and yet a few interactions unconnected to crimes make Kate more memorable. Enjoyable puzzle with interesting characters, even better than the first case.

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Reading Progress

July 5, 2020 – Shelved
Started Reading
September 8, 2020 – Finished Reading

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