Tuesday, May 31, 2016

London Rain by Nicola Upson

Kerry Hammond, who recently came back from London, is reviewing the latest book in an historical fiction series written by Nicola Upson. The series features fictionalized adventures of the novelist, Josephine Tey.

Nicola Upson writes a wonderful historical series featuring Josephine Tey, the pseudonym of real life Scottish author Elizabeth Mackintosh. She published several mystery novels, a few non-mystery novels, and several plays during her lifetime.

London Rain is the sixth and latest book in the Josephine Tey mystery series. It was released in the United States on March 29, 2016, by Harper Collins Publishers. I am a follower of this series and can’t wait to get my hands on each book as it is published. You can read my review of one of Nicola's other books, The Death of Lucy Kyte, matched with the perfect drink for our Friday Drinks with Reads series.

The year is 1937 and the coronation of King George VI is about to take place. The BBC is creating a radio adaptation of Tey’s play Queen of Scots and Josephine is in London for the production. During the coronation and under cover of all the pomp and circumstance, famous news broadcaster, Anthony Beresford, is shot to death. Another murder is discovered, that of his mistress, not far from the studio where they found Beresford’s body. Tey’s friend, Detective Chief Inspector Archie Penrose of Scotland Yard is on the case and Josephine is there in the thick of things to help.

Upson unravels the story at a perfect pace. Just when you think you know what happened, you realize that there is more to the story. In Upson’s novels, Tey holds center stage in both her personal and professional capacities, allowing the reader to get a feel for her professional accomplishments as well as her private life and its struggles. These novels are, in a word, engrossing. Upson re-creates the world in which Tey lived in such a vivid way as to transport the reader straight to London in the 1930s. The author blends just the right amount of fact with fiction, and I specifically enjoy all of the mentions of the people Tey worked with, including director Alfred Hitchcock—who directed a movie based on one of the author’s early Inspector Grant novels.

A bonus is that if you enjoy reading about Tey in Upson’s series, you can then read the books the real Tey wrote throughout her career. I am partial to the Inspector Grant series.

This book was provided to Mystery Playground by the publisher. The review is fair and independent.

Mystery Playground is on twitter @mysteryplaygrnd or find us on Facebook. Follow Kerry on Twitter @kerryhammond88.

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