Joanne’s Mystery Picks

71kfsvthyrlTHE DAUGHTER OF TIME by Josephine Tey

When the remains of Richard III were found in a city council car park (once the site of Greyfriars Priory Church) in Leicester, England in 2012, a whole new conversation was started about the “Princes in the Tower”.  For years Richard III was considered to be the instigator of the deaths of his nephews Edward and Richard of Shrewsbury.  However, time has painted Richard in a much more favorable light, leaving many doubting his culpability in their deaths.

Tey tackles this very subject in The Daughter of Time, published in 1951.  When Inspector Alan Grant of Scotland Yard is in pursuit of a known criminal, he falls through a trap door, breaking his leg.  While convalescing in hospital he is given a portrait of Richard III in amongst his reading material.  The portrait strikes him as anything but the malevolent murderer that history would have us believe Richard to be, so Grant decides to investigate the disappearance and murders of the two Princes.

With the help of the British Museum and an American scholar, Grant amasses a wealth of information about the people surrounding Richard III right up until his death in 1485 at Bosworth Field.  He presents a compelling tale of deceit, collusion, and murder by many of those sworn to support their King.

Tey’s novel, in my opinion, is one of the most brilliant mysteries ever written.  It is a work of sheer genius – from its clever plot to its beautiful writing.  It’s a book worth reading over and over again (which I’ve done many times).

Richard III’s remains were buried in Leicester Cathedral on March 26, 2015.  May he rest in peace.

Joanne’s Mystery Picks

25897794The Woman in Blue by Elly Griffiths

Little Walsingham, a medieval town in England, is known to be very spiritual.

While Ruth’s friend, Cathbad, is cat-sitting for a friend there, he sees what  he believes to be an apparition of a woman standing at a graveside in the cemetery.  When the body of a woman matching her description is found in a ditch the following day, it’s apparent that what Cathbad saw was real flesh and blood.

Meanwhile, Ruth is contacted by Hilary, a former classmate, and now an Anglican priest.  She’s been receiving threatening, misogynistic letters and asks for Ruth’s advice.  Is there a connection between the woman that Cathbad saw and the letters that Hilary has received or is it simply a coincidence that the two things have presented themselves at the same time?

Meanwhile, Nelson is having problems on the homefront and one of his team has requested a transfer.

When another murder is committed everyone bands together to find the guilty party before more people are harmed.

Griffiths always adds a bit of humour in the midst of the corpses in her novels.  I love her Ruth character because she’s so real – down to earth and ordinary and someone that the reader can easily identify with.  She’s just so human and she makes me laugh!

9781510009806London Rain by Nicola Upson

It’s 1937 and the coronation day of King George VI.  BBC Radio will be broadcasting an adaptation of Josephine Tey’s play, Queen of Scots, and Josephine is sitting in on rehearsals.  In the course of the rehearsal a real-life love triangle is revealed when it’s learned that the play’s leading actress is sleeping with Anthony Beresford, THE newsman of the day while his wife, Vivienne, shocked and humiliated, works at the BBC.  Later, at the height of the festivities of the day, Beresford is shot dead in the broadcasting booth.

DCI Archie Penrose, Josephine’s friend, heads the case but it proves to be much more complicated than he originally thinks.  Two more people are murdered and it takes Josephine’s wit to unravel a history of lies and secrets going back years, to get to the truth of the deaths.

Upson captures the atmosphere and excitement of the time with such accuracy that one can almost imagine being there.

The real Josephine Tey is one of my favorite authors and from my perspective, her book The Daughter of Time is one of the best mysteries of its day and a must-read for all mystery lovers.  So it’s very interesting to see how Upson takes this real person and re-creates her as a character in her series of novels.  Since I jumped into this series with this book, there’s lots of back-story that I’m not aware of so I’ll be going back to read her series from the beginning, starting with An Expert in Murder.