Josephine Tey (An Expert in Murder, 2008) finds murderous inspiration in Cornwall.
What’s a writer to do when she’s bereft of ideas? Seeking a plot for her second mystery, Tey accepts an invitation to Cornwall, where her good friend, Scotland Yard Inspector Archie Penrose, has returned to attend the funeral of Harry Pinching, who fell from his horse and drowned, to the great distress of his twin sister Morwenna and younger sibling Loveday. Soon after a local curate delivers a rather unfeeling eulogy, he gets his own shot at being eulogized when he’s pushed off a cliff during the amateur production Harry was to star in. Suddenly, Miss Tey has many plotlines to choose from, including the curate’s unrequited love, the vicar’s embezzlement of church money, a gamekeeper’s brutalization of his wife, the parentage of the undertaker’s missing son and the origins of the fire that killed Harry’s parents years ago. Moreover, Archie’s mum, like the gamekeeper’s wife, may have been abused, and there’s something decidedly dicey about the closeness Harry and Morwenna shared. The Tey pen is soon busy assigning crimes, motives and retribution.
You’d have to be daft not to savor Cornwall in the ’30s and the fictional sleuthing of real-life mystery writer Josephine Tey.