Dying in the Wool: A Kate Shackleton Mystery

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9781611206302: Dying in the Wool: A Kate Shackleton Mystery
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â Well-plotted and atmosphericâ ¦ Kate Shackleton joins Jacqueline Winspearâ s Maisie Dobbs.â   --Literary Review

Take one quiet Yorkshire village

Bridgestead is a peaceful spot: a babbling brook, rolling hills and a working mill at its heart.  Pretty and remote, nothing exceptional happens⠦

Add a measure of mystery

Until the day that Master of the Mill Joshua Braithwaite goes missing in dramatic circumstances, never to be heard of again.

A sprinkling of scandal

Now Joshuaâ s daughter is getting married and wants one last attempt at finding her father.  Has he run off with his mistress, or was he murdered for his mounting coffers?

And Kate Shackletonâ amateur sleuth extraordinaire!

Kate Shackleton has always loved solving puzzles.  So who better to get to the bottom of Joshuaâ s mysterious disappearance?            But as Kate taps into the lives of the Bridgestead dwellers, she opens cracks that some would kill to keep closedâ ¦

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About the Author:

Frances Brody lives in the North of England, where she was born and grew up. Frances started her writing life in radio, with many plays and short stories broadcast by the BBC. She has also written for television and theatre. Before turning to crime, she wrote sagas, winning the HarperCollins Elizabeth Elgin award for most regionally evocative debut saga of the millennium.

READER BIO
Nicola Barber has appeared on stage in New York and across the country, and can be seen with Scarlett Johnansson in The Nanny Diaries. She holds a degree in theatre arts from UNC-Chapel Hill, and has taken classes at the London Academy of Dramatic Art. She has been training and performing voiceovers since 2001, and can be heard in video games, animation, commercials, corporate videos, and audiobooks.

Excerpt. Reprinted by permission. All rights reserved.:

Dying in the Wool
1Spinning the YarnMy name's Kate Shackleton. I'm thirty-one years old, and hanging onto freedom by the skin of my teeth. Because I'm a widow my mother wants me back by her side. But I've tasted independence. I'm not about to drown in polite society all over again.Seven o'clock on a fine April morning, cosy under my blankets and red silk eiderdown. Through the open curtains I looked at the blue sky with its single small white cloud. In Batswing Wood, a blackbird sang. A crow alighted on my window ledge, head tilted, beady eye peering as I swung myself out of bed, planted my feet on the lambs-wool rug, stretching and curling my toes. Crow visitor turned tail, plopping a parting souvenir on the window sill.Time to start the day. From downstairs came the sound of the letter box, first a rattle then a series of gentle thuds as post hit the mat.As I brushed my teeth, a horse clip-clopped along the road towards Headingley Lane.The back door opened. Mrs Sugden would be at her self-appointed task. She would clank round with bucket and shovel, stepping along the little path to the road, and scoop up horse muck. Manure. Good for the roses, she says. Waste not, want not. But how much fertiliser does one garden need?A small mountain of horse dung grows between the coal shed and the fence that separates the back garden from thewood. Resident armies of flies and bluebottles delight in its stench.Knowing that some people, particularly my mother, hold my way of life and pastimes odd, I don't like to interfere with Mrs Sugden's manure habit. For a reason I dread to fathom, my housekeeper has appointed herself horse muck monitor for the neighbourhood.I live a short cycle ride from the centre of Leeds, not far from the university, and from the General Infirmary where Gerald once worked as a surgeon. Ours is the lodge house, sold off by the owners of the mansion up the road when the new occupants cut down on staff. A neat extension provides Mrs Sugden with her own quarters, a situation which suits us both.Because of the university and the infirmary, we have our fair share of soaring intellects in this part of the world, though I don't count myself among them. My nose for solving mysteries comes from having a police officer father, a poke-your-beak-in persistence and an eye for detail.Dressing gown round my shoulders, I sat on the bed and pulled on my stockings. Knees are a very strange part of the anatomy. Mine are too bony for my liking. As I contemplated my knees, I thought of the mystery I have not yet solved. My husband Gerald went missing, presumed dead, four years ago.Like a sleepwalker, I allowed his and my family to persuade me into claiming insurance, transferring the house into my name, and drawing down his legacy. Financially, I am secure. I do the things we humans have devised to find some meaning in life. The sleepwalking is at an end, yet my world stays out of joint.Try as I might, I have not yet been able to find an eyewitness to Gerald's last moments, or to discover the circumstances of his death.The only news of him, if you could call it that, can be summed up in a few words. Captain Gerald Shackleton ofthe Royal Medical Corps was last seen in the second week of April, 1918 on a road near Villiers-Bretonneux, following heavy bombardment. There had been gas in the valley and many casualties. Gerald had taken up position in a quarry, his stretchers and supplies stored in a large cave. He had written to me that there was so little he could do in a first aid post - just make the men feel better for having him there. A shell hit the quarry. His stretcher-bearers were killed and supplies destroyed. The few men that were left set off to walk to Amiens. I tracked down a lieutenant who spoke to Gerald on the road. The lieutenant said that there was barrage after barrage. Somebody must have seen Gerald again, just once. Somebody must know what happened.Four years on, one side of my brain knows he is dead. The other side goes on throwing up questions.It was after Gerald went missing that I began to undertake investigations for other women. I have uncovered some clinching detail about a husband or son, some eyewitness account from a friend or comrade. As late as 1920, I tracked down a soldier who had lost his memory, and reunited him with his family. One officer I traced last December remembered only too well who he was and from where he hailed. He had simply decided to turn his back on family and friends and begin a new life in Crays Foot, cycling to work each day at the Kent District Bank.I wake in the night sometimes, startled, with the sudden thought that Gerald may still be somewhere on this earth - not dead but damaged and abandoned.Searching for people and information, sifting through the ashes of war's aftermath, drew me deeper into sleuthing. Where I failed for myself, I succeeded for others. It's something useful I can do.The enticing aroma of fried bacon drifted up the stairs, snuffing out my reverie and propelling me towards the wardrobe.Opening the wardrobe door makes me groan. I can pounce on something wonderful, like the pleated silk Delphos robe, my elegant black dress, stylish Coco Chanel suit and the belted dress with matching cape that you can't get a coat over. These outfits are squashed by pre-war skirts, shortened to calf-length, divided cycling skirt, and the shabby coat I wore when setting off with the other Voluntary Aid Detachment women and girls from Leeds railway station back in the mists of time. Fortunately I have several afternoon dresses. Mrs Sugden and I peruse the 'Dress of the Day' in the Leeds Herald. She can make a fair copy of almost anything and I am an excellent assistant.I pulled on my favourite skirt and took a pale-green blouse from the drawer, vowing to shop this very week and become highly stylish. I topped off my outfit with a short military-style belted jacket. To go downstairs in anything less substantial would draw Mrs Sugden's warning to 'Never cast a clout till May goes out'.Glancing in the mirror, I brushed at my hair. Before the war, I wore it long. In some ways long tresses made life easier, except on bath night, but I shan't grow it again. If hair could speak, I suspect it would express a preference for length. It takes against me and has to be forced with water and brush into lying down.After breakfast at the kitchen table, I poured a second cup of tea and reached for the post.Mrs Sugden busied herself at the kitchen sink. She has a look of Edith Sitwell, with the high forehead and long nose people associate with intelligence and haughtiness. She turned her head and primed me in her usual fashion. 'You've only two proper letters. One from your mam.'It would not amuse my mother to be called 'your mam'.I slit open my mother's letter first because it would be bound to contain instructions of some kind.Mother reminded me that she had booked our railway tickets to London for 11 April, a week on Tuesday. I like Aunt Berta and wouldn't want to miss her birthday shindig. She and Uncle Albert live in Chelsea, in a house that expands as you enter.'Don't bring that same black dress,' Mother wrote. 'You have worn it for the last three years. And before you say you will wear the Delphos robe, don't forget who passed it on to you and that it is practically an antique. We will shop in London but before that I will catch the train to Leeds this coming Monday. You and I will visit Marshalls for an evening gown. It is time for a burst of colour.'I'm sure there must have been a time when I liked shopping for clothes. Hmm, Monday. Today was Saturday. It might not be so bad. I could do that. Would have to do it. Yet ... I might as well admit now that my aversion to buying a new evening gown is compounded by the totally illogical feeling that if Gerald does by some miracle come back, and we go out to celebrate, I ought to be wearing something he will recognise. I know that makes me irrational and a suitable case for treatment but there it is.The brown envelope held my application form for the 1922 All British Photographic Competition, closing date 30 June. I have been a keen photographer since Aunt Berta and Uncle Albert bought me a Brownie Outfit for my twentieth birthday. I still remember the delight in cutting the string, folding back the brown paper, opening the cardboard box and discovering item after item of magical equipment. There was the sturdy box camera, 'capable of taking six 3¼ x 2¼ inch pictures without re-loading', the Daylight Developing Box, papers, chemicals, glass measuring jug and the encouraging statement that here was 'everything necessary for a complete beginner to produce pictures of a high degree of excellence'. I subscribe to the Amateur Photographer magazine and occasionallyattend the slide shows and discussions of the local club here in Headingley but have never yet entered a competition.'I think I shall enter this photographic contest, Mrs Sugden.'She peered over my shoulder as she picked up the teapot. 'Why shouldn't you? You're at it often enough. Just don't ask me to pose.'She made a dash for the kitchen door, as though I might whip out a camera there and then and tie her to a chair.With almost three months to the closing date, I would have plenty of time to choose a really good print of one of my old photographs, or to find a new subject. Most of all I like taking photographs of people, people absorbed in doing something, or just being themselves.Through the window I watched Mrs Sugden empty the teapot. She does not tip tea leaves on her dung heap; that must remain pure. What a challenge it would be to photograph a pile of manure danced on by flies and bluebottles and to do it so vividly and with such art that viewers of that picture would pinch...

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Book Description Dreamscape Media, 2012. CD-Audio. Condition: New. Unabridged. Language: English . Brand New. Bridgestead is a peaceful spot: a babbling brook, rolling hills and a working mill at its heart. Pretty and remote, nothing exceptional happensu Until the day that Master of the Mill Joshua Braithwaite goes missing in dramatic circumstances, never to be heard of again. Now Joshua s daughter is getting married and wants one last attempt at finding her father. Has he run off with his mistress, or was he murdered for his mounting coffers? Kate Shackleton has always loved solving puzzles. So who better to get to the bottom of Joshua s mysterious disappearance? But as Kate taps into the lives of the Bridgestead dwellers, she opens cracks that some would kill to keep closed. Seller Inventory # AAS9781611206302

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Book Description Dreamscape Media, 2012. CD-Audio. Condition: New. Unabridged. Language: English . Brand New. Bridgestead is a peaceful spot: a babbling brook, rolling hills and a working mill at its heart. Pretty and remote, nothing exceptional happensu Until the day that Master of the Mill Joshua Braithwaite goes missing in dramatic circumstances, never to be heard of again. Now Joshua s daughter is getting married and wants one last attempt at finding her father. Has he run off with his mistress, or was he murdered for his mounting coffers? Kate Shackleton has always loved solving puzzles. So who better to get to the bottom of Joshua s mysterious disappearance? But as Kate taps into the lives of the Bridgestead dwellers, she opens cracks that some would kill to keep closed. Seller Inventory # AAS9781611206302

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Book Description Dreamscape Media. No binding. Condition: New. Dimensions: 5.6in. x 4.9in. x 0.4in.Bridgestead is a peaceful spot: a babbling brook, rolling hills and a working mill at its heart. Pretty and remote, nothing exceptional happens Until the day that Master of the Mill Joshua Braithwaite goes missing in dramatic circumstances, never to be heard of again. Now Joshuas daughter is getting married and wants one last attempt at finding her father. Has he run off with his mistress, or was he murdered for his mounting coffers Kate Shackleton has always loved solving puzzles. So who better to get to the bottom of Joshuas mysterious disappearance But as Kate taps into the lives of the Bridgestead dwellers, she opens cracks that some would kill to keep closed. . . This item ships from multiple locations. Your book may arrive from Roseburg,OR, La Vergne,TN. MP3 CD. Seller Inventory # 9781611206302

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