Nine Lessons

There are two real life classic fiction writers for the price of one in Nicola Upson’s seventh book in a series featuring Golden Age crime writer and playwright Josephine Tey as the main character. And although he died the year before 1937 when the novel is set, the famous ghost story writer MR James is an integral, albeit historical, part of the story too. There are also two crime plots for Tey and her friend Detective Chief Inspector Archie Penrose to investigate; a series of brutal murders and a rapist terrorising Cambridge, right on Tey’s new doorstep. This is Golden Age in style, but written with contemporary insights into how we view sexual abuse today, and of course we read it with our current day ideas of how women should be treated. The atmosphere of the 1930s is brilliantly created with the political climate overshadowed by the spread of fascism, the echoes of the abdication of the king the year before and the menacing approach of another world war. This fictional Tey is to be admired along with the real author’s works. You can discover how Upson created her in our interview and read the full book review here.

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