‘The Dead Of Winter’ by Nicola Upson is a Josephine Tey mystery, set at Christmas 1938, when the threat of war is again looming over Europe. Josephine has been invited to Cornwall for the holiday, along with Marta and Detective Chief Inspector Archie Penrose. Their base is the  beautifully picturesque St Michael’s Mount. Excitement abounds as a famous film star will be there too. When death occurs it is up to Archie to investigate as the group are cut off from the mainland. Can he uncover the truth before anyone else dies? 

This story is reminiscent of a Golden Age country house mystery and it works. Combining real characters and events with a cracking plot adds a certain frisson and kept me intrigued throughout. The individuals stuck on the island are a strange bunch, all with secrets of their own. Some more serious than others. The author build the tension perfectly, and not just regarding the murder. You know that revelations will happen and there will be repercussions, but how she chooses to do it is so skilful. I loved the real characters in the novel and the real setting. Josephine Tey maybe the starting point for the mysteries, but she is not a dominant character. She plays her part, but it is Archie Penrose who takes the lead here. The strength of the story is getting to know the various characters and the setting. Building it up. It tugged at my emotions and surprised me. A great story.

I was given this ARC for review.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s