Kate Shackleton, war widow and detective, is hired by the India Office (where her brother-in-law works) to find the missing Maharajah Narayan, last seen riding off to hunt by himself on the Bolton Abbey estate. After presenting her credentials, the hunt seems to be over before it has started as a body is discovered in the river – but it’s not the body of the Maharajah but that of a local man.
Soon, however, the Maharajah is found, and, yep, he’s been killed too, shot through the heart. But was it a local, in revenge for the Maharajah killing a white doe, or was it someone from Narayan’s circle? As a valuable theft is also discovered, and several other members of Indian royalty descend on the estate, Kate finds herself battling a cover-up in her efforts to find the truth.
This is the fifth book in the Kate Shackleton series – then Death Of An Avid Reader follows this one, and another – A Death In The Dales – on its way.
This is to an extent a new start for Kate, as her love interest has disappeared, and credit to Frances Brody for not levering a new man into the story. In fact, this is pretty much a stand-alone story with no obvious signs of an ongoing plot.
Instead, we’ve got a puzzle involving two killings and a theft. I’d struggle to say that it’s a fair-play mystery but that’s not a problem. The story moves along nicely, Kate being as ever an interesting focus for the narrative. She’s a thoughtful individual, but still human, as evidenced by one particular encounter which I thought was very effectively portrayed.
It’s not my favourite of the series so far, mainly due to what I found to be the most interesting part of the plot being resolved first (with a fair bit of the book left to go). But not every book can be perfect and this is still a good read. Well Worth A Look (but I’d read the earlier books first).
The earlier Kate Shackleton books: