The traditional British mystery is alive and well, thanks in part to Frances Brody and her lady detective, Kate Shackleton. In this, her second case, the year is 1922, the place, Harrogate, England. Kate and her assistant, ex-policeman Jim Sykes, are hired by a jewelry pawnshop owner who has recently been robbed. They are to locate the original owners of the pawned items that were stolen to let them know what happened and to offer recompense for the loss. Finding the robber, with very little to go on, would be a bonus, but is not expected.
Coming across a murder is even less likely. However, in the course of the initial assignment, that's exactly what happens and, because she discovered the body, Kate is thrust into an investigation involving a kidnapping, greed, revenge, and sins from the past. Although the timing here is shortly after World War I, the circumstances surrounding the crime have more to do with the Boer War at the turn of the century.
Kate is very adept at sizing people up and maximizing the information that she can get from them. Because she is not the police, she has more access to people on a “friend” basis. Because her inside information and her insights are helpful to the detective in charge, Inspector Marcus Charles, she has access to police information as well. In fact, a romance blossoms between the two during the investigation of the case. As a result, we get to know a lot about Kate from a number of different perspectives. My only quibble is that I would like to have seen more interplay between her and Jim Sykes.
I especially liked the number of curves the author threw in toward the end of the novel.