cover image Shot with Crimson: A Josephine Tey Mystery

Shot with Crimson: A Josephine Tey Mystery

Nicola Upson. Crooked Lane, $30.99 (336p) ISBN 978-1-63910-266-2

What’s the connection between Daphne du Maurier’s 1917 visit to the estate that inspired her to write Rebecca, a murder committed at that estate in 1939, and a miniatures designer working on Alfred Hitchcock’s Hollywood adaptation of Rebecca? That question animates Upson’s stellar 11th whodunit featuring real-life Scottish mystery author Josephine Tey (following 2022’s Dear Little Corpses). Josephine’s lover, Marta Fox, has travelled to California to help Hitchcock film Rebecca, and with German battleships about to curtail ocean travel, Josephine sails on the Queen Mary to join her, meeting Hitchcock’s wife, Alma, on board. Meanwhile, Josephine’s friend, Scotland Yard DCI Archie Penrose, has been dispatched to Milton Hall (du Maurier’s inspiration for Rebecca’s Manderley estate) to investigate a murder the British Army wants resolved discreetly so its use of the property as a training base can continue. Through Alma, Josephine learns information about a special effects professional on Rebecca that may be relevant to Archie’s case and also tied to a decades-old crime of passion that intersects with du Maurier’s childhood. Upson excels at misdirection, masterfully juggling subplots until they all click into place, and she imbues the novel’s violence with an uncommon depth of feeling. Golden age mystery fans will be in heaven. Agent: Grainne Fox, Fletcher & Co. (Nov.)