A Snapshot of Murder by Frances Brody

Frances Brody’s tenth Kate Shackleton mystery, A Snapshot of Murder, set in Brontë country, is published next Thursday. She tells us more about it here. You can join her for the Leeds launch at Waterstones on Thursday 25 October at 6.30pm.

‘Is that true?’ people sometimes ask, when I begin to give an account of one of Kate Shackleton’s adventures.

Much is true. For instance, in 1928, Sir James Roberts, a Haworth lad who became a successful and philanthropic businessman, bought the Brontë Parsonage from the Church authorities for the benefit of the nation. The Church authorities were willing to sell the Parsonage for around £3,000 – the sum necessary to erect a new and suitable home for the Vicar.

The Brontë Parsonage Museum would replace the first Brontë Museum, opened in 1895 on an upper floor of the Yorkshire Penny Bank at the top of Main Street.

It’s also true that there was a huge and enthusiastic public turnout for the handover on the first Saturday of August. Sir James presented the deeds of the Parsonage to Lord Brotherton, Chairman of the Brontë Society. Lady Roberts opened the door with a golden key.

What is less well known, and has remained unrecorded until my account in A Snapshot of Murder, is that Kate Shackleton, and members of her Headingley Photographic Society, chose to spend that first weekend of August in Stanbury and Haworth. They planned to take photographs, of course, and looked forward to securing a good place so that they might witness the ceremonial handover of the deeds.

They stayed at Ponden Hall, Stanbury, then a farmhouse, said to be Emily Brontë’s inspiration for Thrushcross Grange in Wuthering Heights.

Seven keen amateur photographers made that journey to Haworth. At close of day, six remained alive…

Reader, you would search in vain for any account by Sir James or Lady Roberts, Brontë Society dignitaries, or the press, about the dark side of that celebratory day.

It remains my life’s work to reinstate forgotten, if bloody, events into the chronicles of Yorkshire.

A Snapshot of Murder includes the bonus story, Kate Shackleton’s  First Case

The German publishers of Kate Shackleton’s adventures asked me for an e-story introduction to Kate, to be set before Dying in the Wool (1922).That prequel, Eine Unerhörte Tat (An Outrageous Deed), is available for e-download in English as Kate Shackleton’s First Case and is included in the paperback.

The year is 1921. Kate lives alone in her house by the wood. Her brothers have not yet left for Canada.

In a well-known Harrogate teashop (in those days located on Cambridge Crescent) Kate and her friend Doris celebrate Doris’s birthday. Out of the blue, the pianist begins to play Happy Birthday. Kate didn’t make the request. Doris panics. She looks about to see who did.

Kate needs sharp wits to ensure that this birthday isn’t Doris’s last…

Frances Brody is an award winning writer. She has written many stories and plays for BBC radio, scripts for television and historical novels as Frances McNeil, now republished as Frances Brody books. Frances’ stage plays have been toured by several theatre companies and produced at Manchester Library Theatre, the Gate and Nottingham Playhouse, and Jehad was nominated for a Time Out Award. She lives in Leeds where she was born and grew up, and then travelled, including a spell in the USA. Time spent in Bradford, heart of the woollen industry, gave her a valuable insight into the background for Dying in the Wool, the first Kate Shackleton mystery. You can read more about Frances here.



Leeds Book Launch

A Snapshot of Murder is published on 25th October 2018 by Piatkus, little, brown. Paperback Original, £8.99. The Leeds launch will take place on Thursday 25th October at Waterstones. This is a free event but please reserve your seat here or call Waterstones to register on 0113 244 4588.

Other Events – keep up to date at Frances’ website.

Friday 19 October, 7.00 pm
Haworth launch of A Snapshot of Murder: Frances will be in conversation with Ann Dinsdale, Curator of the Brontë Parsonage Museum at Cobbles and Clay, 70-72 Main Street, Haworth BD22 8DP.
Tickets £5 including drink and canapes, phone number 01535 958 961.

Saturday 27 October
10.30 am – 12.30 pm: Waterstones, Huddersfield, Units 12-13, Kingsgate Shopping Centre, King Street, Huddersfield
Telephone 01484 430701
2.30 – 4.00 pm: Waterstones, 2 Kirkgate, Wakefield WF1 1SP (The Ridings Shopping Centre)
Telephone: 01924 363535

Saturday 3 November
10 am – noon: signing at Waterstones, 15 James Street, Harrogate, HG1 1QS
Telephone: 01423 531953
2.00 – 4.00 pm: signing at Waterstones, 15 Coney Street, York, YO1 9QL

Thursday 15 November, 2.30 – 3.30 pm
Waterstones, The Wool Exchange, Hustlergate, Bradford BD1 1BL 01274 723127

Fiona Gell

Fiona is a lifelong reading enthusiast and book lover. Her career started as a bookseller and has never really veered away from the written and spoken word. It was a dream for her to be a founder member of The Leeds Big Bookend and the Northern Short Story Festival. She continues to be its Director.

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