Upson’s magnificent eighth whodunit featuring real-life mystery author Josephine Tey (after 2017’s Nine Lessons) finds Josephine in Cambridge, England, in 1938, overseeing the rehearsal of one of her plays when she receives a copy of an upsetting newspaper article. In 1915, at a horticultural college in Sussex, 16-year-old Dorothy Norwood, the twin sister of stage actress Betty Banks, died in an apparent accident in the college’s greenhouse soon after she accused the two women who ran the school of being lovers. Betty, who found Dorothy’s body, is now suggesting that her sister was murdered and insinuates that Josephine, who was a chaperone at the school at the time, is implicated in the crime. Fearful that her own secrets, including her current romantic relationship with a woman, will be exposed, Josephine again turns detective. The significance of the opening, in which an unknown woman commits suicide in 1948, eventually becomes painfully clear. As always, Upson couples an engrossing plot with a nuanced and poignant look at human passions and frailties. Fans of golden-age mysteries will be more than satisfied. Agent: Gráinne Fox, Fletcher & Co. (Oct.)
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