by Sandra Murphy
Details at the end of this post on how to enter to win a copy of Death in the Stars, and a link to purchase it from Amazon, and an indie bookstore where a portion of the sale goes to help support KRL.
Kate Shackleton is a private investigator, an unusual occupation for a woman in 1927 Yorkshire. She’s approached by famous singer Selina Fellini who asks Kate to arrange for a plane to take her and her friend comedian Billy Moffatt to the best place to see the eclipse, and would Kate come along because Selina has a feeling something might go wrong. Kate knows Selina has any number of people who could find transportation for her, so there must be more to the story.
The day starts out well enough but Billy wanders off in the midst of the eclipse. He was rather hoping cloud cover would keep them from seeing it and had worked that into his comedy act. Unfortunately for him, the clouds moved on at precisely the right moment for perfect viewing.
Billy’s found behind one of the buildings where he went to smoke a cigar, but he’s near death. Selina is convinced to return for the night’s performance, and Kate stays at the hospital with Billy until he dies. His is not an isolated death—two other men in the ensemble have died under odd circumstances over the last year. Selina hires Kate to find the killer.
With help from her partner Jim Sykes and her housekeeper Mrs. Sugden, Kate begins her investigation. It seems each of the dead men was particularly fond of Selina. Kate has to wonder if that’s a motive. Selina’s husband returned from the war, scarred inside and out. Most of the time he’s mild mannered but sudden rages can overtake him. Maybe he killed the men out of jealousy.
There’s talk of a musical that will feature Selina written by her husband. Rumors of a movie to be made in Hollywood are also in the air. With three of the usual ensemble dead, the show is breaking up.
This is the ninth book in the series. Kate is an intriguing character. Jim Sykes finds himself more sympathetic than usual. His wife appears and adds to the story as Mrs. Sugden takes a bigger role in the business. To visit the slower pace of post-war England is a glimpse into history as well as entertaining fiction. The books can be read out of order, but readers will want to go back to the beginning to follow Kate’s unusual career.
To enter to win a copy of Death in the Stars, simply email KRL at krlcontests@gmail[dot]com by replacing the [dot] with a period, and with the subject line “stars,” or comment on this article. A winner will be chosen March 10, 2018. U.S. residents only. If entering via email please include your mailing address, and if via comment please include your email address.
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