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A Death in the Dales

A Death in the Dales
A murder most foul
When the landlord of a Yorkshire tavern is killed in plain sight, Freda Simonson, the only witness to the crime, becomes plagued with guilt, believing the wrong man has been convicted. Following her death, it seems that the truth will never be uncovered in the peaceful village of Langcliffe ...
A village of secrets
But it just so happens that Freda's nephew is courting the renowned amateur sleuth Kate Shackleton, who decides to holiday in Langcliffe with her indomitable teenage niece, Harriet. When Harriet strikes up a friendship with a local girl whose young brother is missing, the search leads Kate to uncover another suspicious death, not to mention an illicit affair.
The case of a lifetime
As the present mysteries merge with the past's mistakes, Kate is thrust into the secrets that Freda left behind and realises that this courageous woman has entrusted her with solving a murder from beyond the grave.
It soon becomes clear to her that nothing in Langcliffe is quite as it appears, and with a murderer on the loose and an ever-growing roster of suspects, this isn't the holiday Kate was expecting.

Attention Reading Groups!

Frances has drawn up some discussion points to start up your discussion of A Death in the Dales!

Suspense Magazine Best of 2017 wax seal

A Death in the Dales was longlisted for the CWA Endeavour Historical Dagger.

Suspense Magazine chose A Death in the Dales for their "Best of 2017" in the Cosy category; Find the announcement, and three questions with Frances, in the December issue of the magazine.

"Frances Brody matches a heroine of free and independent spirit with a vivid evocation of time and place. [A] Death in the Dales is a novel to cherish."

Classic Crime, Daily Mail.

"The talented Brody again proves adept at superior plotting, which, when combined with a charming and determined heroine and an appealing setting, produces an updated take on the English village mystery that leads to a clever conclusion."

Richmond Times-Dispatch

Frances talked the The Bookbag about the settings and period of the Kate Shackleton books, and what the future has in store for Kate.

Buying the Book

If your favourite bookshop doesn't already stock A Death in the Dales, tell them the publication details below to help them order it for you. Or use the links to order online:

In the US

The US edition was published by St. Martin's Minotaur on February 14th 2017.

In the UK

  • A Death in the Dales was published in the UK by Piatkus on 1st October 2015; order a copy from the publisher (also available as an audio download)
  • Available from any bookshop or library (ISBN: 978-0-3494-0656-5).
  • Also available as an Hachette ebook,
  • and as an audio download read by Anne Dover, available from Hachette or from Audible.


"... cozy without being twee and covers some serious issues. The storytelling style is soft, but the actual threads of the story are taut. Kate uncovers some very dark happenings in the most unexpected of places. Her familiarity with the landscape, culture and dialect is very natural and adds to the story she's telling in this delightful read."

Robin Agnew, Mystery Scene

"A Death in the Dales is a book that readers will want to get comfortable with, on the sofa, drinking a cup of tea/coffee. Why? Because this is a terrific British cozy with such a great plot and cool characters that it will steal away the day... (the) unexpected ending will have readers clapping. If looking for deep romance, however, the Kate and Lucian storyline may be explored more in the future. For now, it is the mystery that commands the book and sets up that all-day read. 5-Stars to this one!"

Suspense Magazine

"Frances Brody's seventh and newest Kate Shackleton mystery ... has such an intriguing premise, and the way the storyline plays out is completely absorbing. This is the seventh book in the series - I've read four - and the best so far. I loved pretty much everything about it, from the quaint English village setting with all of its interpersonal tensions, to the well-developed characterizations of both adults and children, to the pacing - which is leisurely enough to reflect rural life in the Yorkshire Dales in the mid-1920s, but with sufficient activity that the novel is never dull...

"For readers who enjoy sagas or historical novels about long-buried secrets but don't think they enjoy crime novels, this book would be a great choice as "gateway" to the historical mystery subgenre."

Reading the Past

"As usual, Brody sets a deceptively gentle pace, allowing her story to unfold naturally and realistically but always tugging forward. It doesn't take long for the quiet pace to get the pages turning quickly as the plot becomes more complicated, but Brody makes it easy to keep up as she holds the reader's interest. Part of the interest arises, of course, from the characters, and Brody does a nice job of portraying even minor players and making them real enough that they and their actions are believable. Kate is the most well-developed character, and her likeableness and spunk do much to enhance the novel, as does the convincing portrayal of the times."

Reviewing the Evidence

"Frances Brody is an excellent storyteller and her books are well-plotted and complex murder mysteries in the historical setting of the 1920s and in the style of the golden age crime fiction."


"In Kate, Brody has created an assured, self-reliant woman - rare in a society that still regarded them as second class citizens,"

Bradford Telegraph and Argus

"Brody efficiently weaves together the various threads, setting murder against the beautiful but harsh backdrop of the Yorkshire Dales. There are lovely snippets of 1920s life, the cars, the fashion, the food, the Yorkshire dialect, and the aftermath of the Great War.

"More than just a detective story, a period drama with strong female characters, a thoughtful reflection of the impact of the war on the lives of everyone, in city and country."

Sandra Danby

"Frances Brody sets the gold standard in historical crime writing with her sublime gift for characterization, her fantastic ability to transport readers back in time and her talent for taking them on a nail-biting journey where the twists and turns come quick and fast, the suspense never flags and the tension is taut and palpable. A Death in the Dales is a gripping, compelling and intriguing tale guaranteed to keep readers eagerly turning the pages late into the night and enthralled until the very last full stop."

Bookish Jottings

"...a series that gets stronger all the time. The central characters are well drawn and appealing... The strands of the plots are woven together with skill and make a convincing conclusion. The historical background is beautifully portrayed..."

Mystery People

"It felt so different, so fresh and so clever, a story written with a lot of subtlety and gentleness, and also with a great dose of humour. Even though the plot was complex and the author was adding new mysteries on the way, it was still a very neat, logical read, and the characters were brilliant representatives of this age. It was truly wonderfully pieced together and I really can't wait for more Kate's adventures."

On My Bookshelf

"It's very difficult to recommend further reading which comes up to the standard of the Kate Shackleton books"

The Bookbag

Header photograph, Ingenues arrive, Central Station, Sydney, 1928-1929, by Sam Hood from the collection of the State Library of New South Wales.