Murder on a Summer's Day is the fifth book in the Kate Shackleton mystery series that I so adore (the previous four have all been reviewed on this blog). Set in the 1920s in Yorkshire, this series follows a private investigator and, in this novel, Brody brings a touch of India to the Yorkshire countryside.
Kate is asked by her cousin to travel to Bolton Abbey to help find Maharajah Narayan, a distinguished visitor who disappeared while hunting. When she arrives at the scene Kate finds puzzle after puzzle blocking her path and it soon transpires she's involved in yet another murder case. Superstitious locals believe shooting a white doe was the reason Narayan died but there's a missing diamond and an unsuitable local girlfriend waiting in the wings. Kate keeps coming up against brick walls, despite the aid of her partner Jim Sykes and housekeeper Mrs Sudgen and the mystery builds gently as the book progresses.
I thoroughly enjoyed the layering of Indian culture on the Yorkshire setting. It added a new dimension to Brody's books, which are already uniquely enjoyable (for me) because of the three key ingredients of a female detective, period setting and the base in Yorkshire. The mystery itself ties together the English and the Indian aspects of plot with plenty of twists and turns along the way and some completely believable characters. There are a couple of especially memorable scenes, specifically one involving a snake and another involving a fire, both of which have lingered with me since I finished reading.
In fairness, I don't think Frances Brody could write a Kate Shackleton novel that I didn't enjoy but that doesn't mean this one isn't worth reading. Once again, Brody refrains from neat conclusions and, beyond that, I seriously hope the question she posed in the last line of this book is answered in the next. It's a frivolous fangirly question but I still care nonetheless.
This book was read as part of the 'Women' reading challenge, details here.