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. 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!"
"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.
Or find out how Kate Shackleton became Yorkshire's most tireless private investigator, a heroine ahead of her time, in a brand new short story. In Kate Shackleton's First Case, Frances Brody takes us back to where it all began...
Yorkshire, 1921. Kate Shackleton, thirty years old, is taking tea with her friend, Doris who is on a visit from London. In the genteel environs of Harrogate's premier tea room, violence is the furthest thing from anyone's mind. But when Doris is set upon by a mystery assailant, it's up to Kate to find out why - and in doing so, she soon develops a taste for detective-work.
Kate Shackleton's First Case will initially be published as a solo e-book, on 20th August 2018, available from the publisher, Piatkus or in a Kindle edition from Amazon. The story will also be included as an addition to the tenth Kate Shackleton novel, A Snapshot of Murder, out in the UK in October.
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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 has a busy programme of appearances for 2018, and sometimes more events are added at the last minute, so do keep an eye on her diary (below). She hopes that if she is appearing near you, you will come along and say hello!
- Tuesday, 18 September, 7.30 pm
- Talk for Fewston Foxy Ladies, Harrogate
- Saturday 22 September
- Writing workshop, Turning to Crime, part of the Brontë Museum's Contemporary Women's Writing Festival
- Saturday 29 September, 1.45 - 2.30 pm
- Crossing Genres panel at Morecambe & Vice Crime Writing Festival
- Tuesday, 9 October, 7.20 for 7.30
- Talk to Hartshead WI, Clifton, Brighouse, HD6 4HX
- Friday, 19 October, 7.00 pm
- Haworth launch of A Snapshot of Murder: Frances will be in conversation with Ann Dinsdale, Curator of the Brontë Parsonage Museum at Cobbles and Clay, 70-72 Main Street, Haworth BD22 8DP
Tickets £5 including drink and canapes, phone number 01535 95896.
- Thursday, 25 October, 6.30 pm for 6.45
- Leeds launch of A Snapshot of Murder at Waterstones, 93-97 Albion Street, Leeds, LS1 5JS. A Big Bookend event.
Refreshments. Admission free. Telephone: 0113 244 4588
- Saturday, 3 November
- 10 am - noon: signing at Waterstones, 15 James Street, Harrogate, HG1 1QS
Telephone: 01423 531953
- 2.00 - 4.00 pm: signing at Waterstones, 15 Coney Street, York, YO1 9QL
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: 12th September 2018.