The Death of Lucy Kyte: A New Mystery Featuring Josephine Tey

The Death of Lucy Kyte: A New Mystery Featuring Josephine Tey

3.3 8
by Nicola Upson
     
 

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In this atmospheric, intriguing historical mystery brimming with psychological tension, an unexpected inheritance plunges beloved British mystery author Josephine Tey into a disturbing puzzle of dark secrets eerily connecting the present and the past.

When Josephine Tey unexpectedly inherits Red Barn Cottage from her estranged godmother, the will stipulates that

Overview

In this atmospheric, intriguing historical mystery brimming with psychological tension, an unexpected inheritance plunges beloved British mystery author Josephine Tey into a disturbing puzzle of dark secrets eerily connecting the present and the past.

When Josephine Tey unexpectedly inherits Red Barn Cottage from her estranged godmother, the will stipulates that she must personally claim the house in the Suffolk countryside. But Josephine is not the only benefactor—a woman named Lucy Kyte is also in Hester’s will.

Sorting through the artifacts of her godmother’s life, Josephine is intrigued by an infamous death committed on the cottage’s grounds a century before. Yet this old crime—dubbed the Red Barn murder—still seems to haunt the tight-knit village and its remote inhabitants. Is it just superstition, or is there a very real threat that is frightening the locals? Could the truth be related to the mysterious Lucy Kyte, who no one in the village admits to knowing?

With a palpable sense of evil thickening around her, Josephine must untangle historic tragedy from present danger and prevent a deadly cycle from beginning once more.

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
★ 04/14/2014
Lyrical prose (“sheaves of corn stood abandoned, like the forgotten tents of a retreating army”) and subtle plotting make Upson’s fifth novel featuring real-life mystery writer Josephine Tey a worthy successor to Fear in the Sunlight, a PW Best Mystery of 2013. Tey, who’s struggling with writing a biography, is surprised to learn of a bequest from her godmother, actress Hester Larkspur (who was a close friend of Tey’s mother), as she herself barely knew the woman. Larkspur has left her a Red Barn Cottage in Suffolk located near the site of a notorious murder, and the will gives the writer the choice of sorting through its contents, including the actress’s papers, or having them all destroyed unseen. Tey decides to take a look at what she’s inherited, and, in the process, learns some unsettling details about the circumstances of her godmother’s death. In addition, the cottage may be haunted. Upson lays out the suspicious events gradually, but amply rewards her readers’ patience with a satisfying resolution that feels true to life rather than pat. Agent: Gráinne Fox, Fletcher & Co. (June)
Booklist
“Upson’s fifth Tey mystery is a hauntingly atmospheric story based on fact with personal reverberations for Josephine herself. A worthy addition to this intriguing series starring a real-life mystery writer and set in between-the-wars England.”
Richmond Times-Dispatch
“Upson…possesses great skills in creating character-driven novels that evoke a strong sense of place, spins this sad but seductive story with grace and intelligence.”
National Examiner
“Upson’s fifth book in the Tey series skillfully weaves a plot of intrigue, deceit and obsession.”
Kirkus Reviews
2014-03-18
Three generations of homeowners feel the effects of a violent murder in rural England. Hester Larkspur's will, leaving Red Barn Cottage, in Polstead, Suffolk, to her goddaughter Josephine Tey, has a strange codicil. If Josephine wants the cottage, she must sort out Hester's papers, evaluate their worth and let someone named Lucy Kyte take what she most needs from the cottage. No one, not even Hester's lawyer, knows who or where Lucy is. When Josephine first visits the place, it's in such sad disrepair that she isn't sure she'll get what she needs, either. The cottage was named for the barn where Maria Marten, a willful young Polstead woman, was murdered and buried more than a century ago. In her prime, Hester was a beautiful and popular actress best known for her role in a play based on the murder, and she fueled the legend by writing a diary that's a fictionalized account of Maria's tragic life, as recounted by her best friend. While Josephine gets to know both Maria and Hester through the diary and struggles to make Red Barn Cottage more livable for herself and her lover, Marta Fox, she's increasingly aware that something is amiss. Not only did Hester die while huddled away in a tiny room that fills Josephine with dread, but some restless presence also demands her attention. Marta, like Josephine, an independent and clear-thinking woman of the 1930s, doesn't dismiss the idea of a ghost in the house. But Josephine begins to suspect that a living person has played an important part in the more recent history of the cottage—and may mean harm to its new owner in this carefully crafted tale of heartbreak and haunting. Upson's (Two for Sorrow, 2010, etc.) attempt to engage real-life mystery writer Josephine Tey in a murder is not for those who want a quick-moving story. For more patient readers, the contemplative tone and historical detail yield their own rewards, along with a couple of clever surprises.
From the Publisher
"A carefully crafted tale of heartbreak and haunting." —Kirkus
Library Journal
04/01/2014
Upson's fifth title (after Fear in the Sunlight) in her historical series featuring mystery author Josephine Tey once again ratchets up the psychological suspense. This outing finds Tey in rural Suffolk.

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780062195456
Publisher:
HarperCollins Publishers
Publication date:
06/10/2014
Series:
Josephine Tey Mysteries, #5
Pages:
368
Sales rank:
184,519
Product dimensions:
5.30(w) x 7.90(h) x 3.10(d)

Meet the Author

Nicola Upson is the author of five 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. 

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The Death of Lucy Kyte: A New Mystery Featuring Josephine Tey 3.3 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 8 reviews.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This was a very boring book that dragged on and on. Had a very difficult reading it. Read the first book in this series and enjoyed it but this book was not enjoyable.
just_jess More than 1 year ago
This is my favorite of the Josephine Tey novels by Nicola Upson. Atmospheric, introspective ~ an interesting take on a reclusive yet influential write.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
For me this book was very confusing at times. I had to concentrate on who was who, but maybe I was supposed to concentrate. Over all a good book.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I liked the way the plot unfolded. It is always interesting to view another era before modern communications were so readily available. I am not certain that the relationship between Josephine and her friend add a lot to the story. a l
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
No matter how descriptive the long conversations and red herrings have nothing to offer but clutter and a stuffiing all into a last chapter it is in one way a tighter plotted book than the others because it is in a village but i said i wouldnt read another but i did but next time it is borrow
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