A detective inspector and a real-life writer team up to solve several murders in 1930s London.
Josephine Tey is traveling from Scotland to attend the closing-week celebration of her successful historical drama Richard of Bordeaux. Aboard the train, she befriends Elspeth Simmons, an enthusiastic young devotee of the play. When Elspeth is murdered in the train carriage at King’s Cross Station while Tey chats with friends, the writer is drawn into the investigation. Scotland Yard DI Archie Penrose was the best friend of Tey’s lover, who died in World War I. Now Penrose, who’ll become the model for Tey’s policeman hero Alan Grant, has fallen in love with Tey. A second murder strikes closer to home when Tey’s mentor, theatrical manager Bernard Aubrey, is found poisoned in his office at the theater. The killings may well be related and the murderer may be among the people involved in the play. Elspeth’s boyfriend, who works backstage, some of the leading actors, even members of Elspeth’s adopted family, have possible motives, many grounded in the war’s bitter past. Penrose and Tey must deal with their own complicated feelings about the war and each other as they mine the past for clues.
<\b>The actual Josephine Tey, of course, wrote the historical gem The Daughter of Time (1951) and seven other classic murder mysteries. Though not up to Tey’s standards, Upson’s debut is a most promising valentine.