Women Sleuths in
Historical Mysteries

England - 1922


Dying in the Wool

by Frances Brody

There now are a number of books about female sleuths of the 1920s era, those described as the “new woman.” In this enjoyable read, Kate Shackleton is one. She is a First World War widow who was doing volunteer work tracing the fate of soldiers missing in France when she received her first professional case. Her friend Tabitha in the weeks before her wedding wants to learn what happened to her mill owning father, who one day simply disappeared. Was this done on purpose? Was this foul play? Kate, eager to fill her life with something interesting to do, is more than happy to use her love of solving puzzles to search for the man and the truth.

Throughout of story, the effects of the war which had “complicated life” in Britain, prevails. Kate’s memories of her wartime VAD (Voluntary Aid Detachment) experiences are of particular interest, as is the position of women who, like Kate at age 32, have become the “surplus generation.” There are not enough men in her age group to marry, while those who remain have too often been damaged both physically and mentally by the war.

The book’s Yorkshire setting, clothing, material objects, and above all dialog seem authentic to the period. The reader will discover information about wool production in the Yorkshire textile mills and the complex social differences between the mill owners, supervisors, and the workers.

First in the Kate Shackleton series



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