cover image Dear Little Corpses: A Josephine Tey Mystery

Dear Little Corpses: A Josephine Tey Mystery

Nicola Upson. Crooked Lane, $26.99 (336p) ISBN 978-1-64385-902-6

Set on the eve of England’s entry into WWII, Upson’s superior 10th mystery featuring author Josephine Tey (after 2020’s The Secrets of Winter) finds Tey and her lover, Marta Fox, spending some precious time together at a cottage Tey has inherited in the quiet Suffolk village of Polstead. The community is hosting children transported from London in anticipation of German bombing raids. The tumult of dealing with many more evacuees than expected is exacerbated when a child disappears. Upson effectively keeps the reader in suspense about the child’s fate, even as Tey’s policeman friend, Det. Chief Insp. Archie Penrose, works to solve the stabbing death of a London rent-collector. While the reveals of both plotlines are fully satisfying, the book’s strength lies in a vivid and moving portrait of a small community torn apart by fear and suspicion. Even secondary characters are imbued with sufficient depth to make the ending for one of them a gut-punch. As always, Upson plays scrupulously fair with her clue-planting. P.D. James fans who haven’t read Upson yet are in for a treat. Agent: Grainne Fox, Fletcher & Co. (Aug.)