Frances Brody comes from a great family of story tellers, though she's the first in the family to write professionally. "On the screen of my imagination," she says, "I can conjure aunts and uncles from years gone by, and the word pictures they painted of people from earlier generations."
She is the author of nine Kate Shackleton mysteries, with the publication of Death in the Stars in October 2017. The story begins in June, 1927 when Selina Fellini, a popular singing star who is performing with her troupe at Leeds City Varieties, calls on Kate Shackleton. She wants Kate to accompany her to view a total eclipse of the sun...
Read what Frances told Leeds Big Bookend about Death in the Stars: "My single regret about this book is that there is not enough ice cream!"
In the US, the latest adventure for Kate Shackleton is Death at the Seaside. The previous episode, A Death in the Dales, was longlisted for the CWA Endeavour Historical Dagger, and A Woman Unknown was shortlisted for the Mary Higgins Clark Award, an Edgar award of the Mystery Writers of America. Minotaur Books now publish two Kate Shackleton books a year, moving towards coinciding publication dates on both sides of the Atlantic (Death in the Stars will be published in February 2018).
"The series began," explains Frances, "with a picture in my head of a man trapped behind a high wall, unable to return home. Someone needed to discover who and where he was. Along came Kate Shackleton, sleuth extraordinaire. She stepped from our family album like the genie summoned from the lamp."
Click any cover to read more about that novel, or click here to learn more about Kate and the series as a whole.
Before creating the Kate Shackleton mystery series, Frances wrote many stories and plays for BBC radio, scripts for television and four novels (as Frances McNeil). Now Sisters on Bread Street, Sixpence in Her Shoe and Halfpenny Dreams, originally published as Frances McNeil novels, are beginning a new life as Frances Brody books. Sisters on Bread Street was published in January 2016, followed in April by Sixpence in Her Shoe, with Halfpenny Dreams completing the set in July.
Visit the 'Sagas' page to learn more.
Frances's stage plays have been toured by several theatre companies and produced at Manchester Library Theatre, the Gate and Nottingham Playhouse, and Jehad was nominated for a Time Out Award. She lives in Leeds where she was born and grew up, and then travelled, including a spell in the USA. Time spent in Bradford, heart of the woollen industry, gave her a valuable insight into the background for Dying in the Wool, the first Kate Shackleton mystery.
Read a recent interview with Frances on the 'Writers Who Kill' website.
And make sure you visit Frances's blog for the latest from her in her own words!
Frances's last scheduled event for 2017 was the conference of Moerderische Schwestern, at the beginning of December. There will be more events next year, at a variety of bookshops, libraries, conferences and membership organisations, and Frances hopes that if she is appearing near you, you will come along and say hello!
Header photograph, Ingenues arrive, Central Station, Sydney, 1928-1929, by Sam Hood from the collection of the State Library of New South Wales.
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Last update: 4th December 2017.