Dying in the Wool by Frances Brody is a ’20s-set crime novel which I’ve resisted reading for a while. Partly, this is because of the first-person narrative. I’m not sure why but first-person annoys me, which in itself is odd given my favourite books.
But eventually, feeling a bit like I was being followed around the library and charity shops, I took it home. And I’m glad I did, because I did enjoy it.
Our detective is Mrs Kate Shackleton, aged about 30, possible grieving widow. Her husband, a doctor, went missing, presumed dead, during the Great War. Her detecting career started by trying to find him. So far, no luck, but she has had success finding others’ loved ones.
Her success is such that a former VAD nurse and acquaintance contacts her for help in finding her father, a mill-owner who vanished in 1916, not because of the War. Nearly seven years later, she’s about to get married, and would like to know what happened, or perhaps to find him alive in time to walk her down the aisle.
Kate, accepting the job, sets off for Bridgestead to find out what happened to the wealthy mill-owner, accompanied by ex-copper Jim Sykes.
What I liked about this novel was that any period-details were subtly worked in. There was no in-your-face, look-what-I-researched about it and the characters did not all talk like Bertie Wooster.
I regret leaving it as long as I did to read it, though I haven’t yet read any of the others in the series.