When Josephine Tey sets out to write a novel about the notorious Finchley baby farmers, her research helps to solve the recent sadistic murder of a young seamstress. The girl's death seems to be the result of a domestic feud, but when a second young woman is involved in an horrific accident, the search begins for a vicious killer who will stop at nothing to keep the past hidden.
©2010 Nicola Upson (P)2010 WF Howes Ltd
I got on to the Josephine Tey series because, somewhere online, someone recommended it as a good follow-up to Agatha Christie. I first tried something else by someone else, so undistinguished that I didn't finish it and can't remember anymore. Then I slowly grew into Upson.
As mysteries go, this one had pretty much all the ingredients you can think of, plus a few more things going for it: good writing, a solid build-up, pretty solid characters in the good old Golden Age style (by which I mean solid and recognizable, but not begging for sympathy, not attempting to sound out all the pop psychology textbooks).
I read the first three, I'll probably read the rest, too. And a thumbs-up for the excellent reader.
Nicola Upson blew me away with 'An Expert In Murder', and now with 'Two For Sorrow' she's done it again. I found the switch between past and present a little confusing at times but that could have been because of the gaps between my listening sessions. As in 'Expert', the protagonist is Josephine Tey, a fascinating character in her own right, and extremely well-drawn and researched by Upson. The mood of both periods - the first few years of the 20th century and the mid-thirties - is beautifully evoked; the atmosphere of the jail is suitably chilling - in both senses of the word. Equally chilling is the murder of one of the characters, terribly cruel and vivid, yet so well written that, squeamish as I am, I found myself pinned to the tableau that Upson has created in this scene by the sheer excellence of the writing and narration. Nicola Upson is now right up there at the top of my list of favourite crime writers.
I really tried to get to grips with this book. I was interested in the content and period enough to persevere but I only managed to just over half way through. It is rare for me not to "read" to the bitter end but I was unable to fix on any one of the characters to feel any empathy towards them. Sorry!
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