Eira has memories of the year a sixteen year old girl was murdered in her small rural community. Now a policewoman she finds herself dealing with the fallout. Olof Hagstrom confessed back then when he was fourteen years old. Now twenty years later he is back – and now his father has been murdered. Did he do it? Or is there more to the story?
First of all I will give a *trigger warning*. This book is not for the faint of heart. There are some appalling details that were very disturbing . I skipped over those parts as I have no desire to read descriptions of sexual assault. But it was an important part of the story and some people might be able to read these passages without a problem.
The book is very well written, with depth and emotion. It is about the past coming back to haunt people. It is always there, lurking in the background. The author ponders if we can ever escape our past ?
It dealt with the darkness that is the worst of human nature . However quiet and idyllic we may think a place is there is always the chance that this darkness lurks under the surface. We just don’t always see it. A powerful story.
‘Two For Sorrow’ by Nicola Upson is an immersive and beautifully written Josephine Tey mystery, set in 1930s London. Josephine is back in London researching her next book on the baby farmers of the early part of the century. Amelia Sachs and Annie Walters were executed for their crimes, but Miss Tey is more interested in the aftermath of their crimes. How others were also affected. While staying at her club in town, Josephine is drawn into a case investigated by her friend Detective Inspector Archie Penrose. Danger lurks all around and the pair must find the killer before it is too late.
There’s a depth to the story that you don’t see coming, and I must admit it took my breath away. The author weaves a story of personal tragedy, with a wider stain on society. And the years have not wiped away that stain.
London of that era was so perfectly described, as Josephine meets with her London theatre friends and mixes with high society. There’s plenty of name dropping- which is an absolute delight. We saw the lives of women of different classes and the choices they had to make. And we also saw the consequences of those decisions.
Nicola Upson cleverly ties in the tiny threads of her story and brings it all together with such skill.
I was left profoundly moved by the stories within ‘Two For Sorrow’. It’s a stunningly well written and researched story and would make a wonderful film/tv adaptation.
‘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 received some very welcome mail this week, in the form of new paperbacks to review. I must thank Faber Books for the opportunity to read these new books from two great authors- Tove Alsterdal and Nicola Upson.