Synopses & Reviews
A brilliant and original fiction debut set in the exotic world of 1930s British theatre
March 1934. Revered mystery writer Josephine Tey is traveling from Scotland to London for the final week of her celebrated play Richard of Bordeaux. But joy turns to horror when her arrival coincides with the murder of a young woman she had befriended on the train ride, and Tey quickly finds herself plunged into a mystery as puzzling as any of those in her own works.
Detective Inspector Archie Penrose is convinced that the killing is connected to her play. Richard of Bordeaux has been the surprise hit of the season, with pacifist themes that strike a chord in a world still haunted by war. Now, however, it seems that Tey could become the victim of her own success, as her reputation—and even her life—is put at risk.
A second murder confirms Penrose's suspicions that somewhere among this flamboyant theatre set is a ruthless and spiteful killer. Together, Penrose and Tey must confront their own ghosts in search of someone who will stop at nothing.
An Expert in Murder is both a tribute to one of the most enduringly popular writers of crime and a richly atmospheric detective novel in its own right.
"Mystery writer Josephine Tey (The Daughter of Time) makes a convincing sleuth in British author Upson's debut, the launch of a new whodunit series. On a train journey from Scotland to London in 1934, Tey meets a fan, Elspeth Simmons, who's traveling to the capital to attend a performance of Tey's hit play about Richard II. When Simmons is found brutally murdered stabbed with a hatpin, posed with some dolls and partially shaved after arrival at King's Cross, Tey's Scotland Yard friend, Insp. Archie Penrose, investigates and soon learns that the victim was adopted under irregular circumstances. After another death, the evidence suggests that both crimes are linked to a murder committed amid the devastating trench warfare of WWI. While the heroine falls conventionally into the killer's clutches before a solution many will anticipate, the engaging prose will leave even readers unfamiliar with Tey's fiction eagerly looking forward to the next in the series. (June)" Publishers Weekly (Copyright Reed Business Information, Inc.)
“Nicola Upson has . . . given us a highly original and elegantly written novel.” P.D. James
"Upson's debut is a most promising valentine." Kirkus Reviews
“[A] blithely spirited debut. . . . Upson clearly knows her way around pre-World War II London and the grimy backstages of Covent Garden, and delivers an ending shot through with palpable surprise and emotion.” Los Angeles Times
“Upsons debut is a most promising valentine.” Kirkus Reviews
For fans of classic detective stories, including the mysteries of Agatha Christie, comes this brilliant first novel set in the exotic world of British theater in the 1930s.
About the Author
Nicola Upson is the author of four previous Josephine Tey mysteries, including An Expert in Murder, and two works of nonfiction. She has worked in theater and as a freelance journalist. A recipient of an Escalator Award from the Arts Council England, she splits her time between Cambridge and Cornwall.