Monday, May 6, 2013

An Expert in Murder by Nicola Upson

This is the first Josephine Tey novel.  Josephine Tey is a real person who was an author that wrote plays and
Josephine is going to London because her play, Richard of Bordeaux, is in it's last week.  She meets a delightful girl, Elspeth, on the train. They get to know each other a bit. Elspeth just loves the play.  Her boyfriend works at the theater and got really great tickets for them to see it one last time.  The train gets into the station.  The ladies exit and meet Josephine's friends.  Then Elspeth realizes she left her bag on the train. She gets murdered.
Josephine does not realize it until later that Elspeth was the victim.  Archie is on the case. Josephine based her character, Alan Grant on Archie.  Archie is trying to figure out why anyone would want to kill this sweet girl. Then another person connected with the play is murdered.  Archie and Josephine try to figure out how these people are connected and who is doing the killing.

I cannot wait to get the next book.  I enjoyed reading this one.

The book was dramatized in ten parts by Robin Brooks for BBC Radio 4's Woman's Hour Drama,[4] starring Meg Fraser. It was broadcast between April 21, 2008 and May 2, 2008, barely a month after the novel's publication. from wiki...

An excerpt:

Chapter One
Had she been superstitious, Josephine Tey might have realised the odds were against her when she found that her train, the early- morning express from the Highlands, was running an hour and a half late. At six o'clock, when she walked down the steps to the south-bound platform, she expected to find the air of excitement which always accompanies the muddled loading of people and suitcases onto a departing train. Instead, she was met by a testament to the long wait ahead: the carriages were in darkness; the engine itself gravely silent; and a mountain of luggage built steadily along the cold, grey strand of platform. But like most people of her generation, who had lived through war and loss, Josephine had acquired a sense of perspective, and the train's mechanical failure foretold nothing more sinister to her than a tiresome wait in the station's buffet. In fact, although this was the day of the first murder, nothing would disturb her peace of mind until the following morning.
By the time she had drained three cups of bland coffee, the train appeared to be ready for its journey. She left the buffet's crowded warmth and prepared to board, stopping on the way to buy a copy of yesterday's Times and a bar of Fry's chocolate from the small news kiosk next to the platform. As she took her seat, she could not help but feel a rush of excitement in spite of the delay: in a matter of hours, she would be in London.
The ornate station clock declared that it was a quarter past eight when the train finally left the mouth of the station and moved slowly out into the countryside. Josephine settled back into her seat and allowed the gentle thrum of the wheels to soothe away any lingering frustrations of the morning. Removing her gloves and taking out a handkerchief, she cleared a small port-hole in the misted window and watched as the strengthening light took some of the tiredness from the cold March day. On the whole, winter had been kind. There had, thank God, been no repeat of the snow wreaths and roaring winds which had brought the Highland railway to a sudden standstill the year before, leaving her and many others stranded in waiting rooms overnight. Engines with snow ploughs attached had been sent to force a passage through, and she would never forget the sight of them charging the drifts at full speed, shooting huge blocks of snow forty feet into the air.
Shivering at the memory of it, she unfolded her newspaper and turned to the review pages, where she was surprised to find that the Crime Book Society's selection was ‘a hair-raising yarn' called Mr Munt Carries On. They couldn't have read the book, she thought, since she had tried it herself and considered Mr Munt to have carried on for far too long to be worth seven and six of anybody's money. When she arrived at the theatre section, which she had purposely saved until last, she smiled to herself at the news that Richard of Bordeaux—her own play and now London's longest run—was about to enter its final week.
As the train moved south, effortlessly eating into four hundred miles or so of open fields and closed communities, she noticed that spring had come early to England—as quick to grace the gentle countryside as it had been to enhance the drama of the hills against a Highland sky. There was something very precious about the way that rail travel allowed you to see the landscape, she thought. It had an expansiveness about it that the close confinement of a motor car simply could not match and she had loved it since, as a young woman, she had spent her holidays travelling every inch of the single-track line that shadowed the turf from Inverness to Tain. Even now, more than twenty years later, she could never leave...from CALS.

Pages: 292

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