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An Expert in Murder [Audio CD]

Nicola Upson
3.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (59 customer reviews)

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Product details

  • Audio CD
  • Publisher: Whole Story Audiobooks; Unabridged Audiobook edition (1 Jun 2008)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 140742405X
  • ISBN-13: 978-1407424057
  • Average Customer Review: 3.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (59 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 1,119,727 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Nicola Upson was born in Suffolk and read English at Downing College, Cambridge. She has worked in theatre and as a freelance journalist, and is the author of two non-fiction works and the recipient of an Escalator Award from the Arts Council England. Her debut novel, An Expert in Murder, was the first in a series of crime novels to feature Josephine Tey - one of the leading authors of Britain's age of crime-writing. The book was dramatised by BBC Scotland for Woman's Hour, and praised by PD James as marking 'the arrival of a new and assured talent'.

Nicola lives with her partner in Cambridge and Cornwall, which was the setting for her second novel, Angel With Two Faces. The third book in the series, Two for Sorrow, was followed by Fear in the Sunlight and, most recently, The Death of Lucy Kyte. Taken together, they paint an atmospheric picture of England between the wars, contrasting the stark reality of life in the 1930s and 40s with the glamorous world of theatre and film and featuring a variety of real characters, from the Edwardian murderers, Amelia Sach and Annie Walters, to the Master of Suspense, Alfred Hitchcock. Her research for the books has included many conversations with people who lived through the period and who knew Josephine Tey well, most notably Sir John Gielgud.

Nicola is currently writing a standalone novel set in the late 1920s, and researching the sixth 'Josephine Tey' mystery.

Product Description

It's March 1934, and Josephine Tey is travelling from Scotland to London to celebrate what should be the triumphant final week of her celebrated play, Richard of Bordeaux. However, a seemingly senseless murder puts her reputation, and even her life, under threat...

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
45 of 48 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Very good 21 May 2008
By Maria
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
This is an extremely interesting crime story set in the 1930s; the mystery is absorbing, the writing excellent and the characters interesting and likeable. The inclusion of real-life '30s detective writer Josephine Tey, about whom we convieniently know very little, so the author can take whatever liberties she likes with her life, makes it even more charming and the fact that it is not her that does the detecting helps to keep it realistically plausible. The portrayal of the "lost" generation, which came out of WW1, and how that war affected the mindset of an entire country takes it to a whole other level, as the book becomes worth reading in its own right, regardless of the mystery angle.
My only possible objection is that it doesn't seem to stay true to the period in certain aspects. For example, homosexuality certainly existed and I am willing to believe that in the theatre world it was even more or less excepted, but the idea that a homosexual couple would kiss in public, when homosexuality was an actual crime, is a bit of a stretch. However, anybody but a contemprary writer is bound to get at least a few things wrong, so this does not detract greatly from the novel.
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42 of 46 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars great book 12 Mar 2008
I loved the blend of fact and fiction in this clever crime novel. To see Josephine Tey brought to life in this way was fascinating, and I'm particularly grateful that she wasn't made into some kind of amateur sleuth, but remained a real person caught up in events beyond her control. I found all the characters engaging and sympathetically protrayed, and like all good books in this genre I didn't guess the perpetrator until it was revealed, but when it was all the pieces fell neatly into place.

The book has since been passed on to my girlfriend (who had to take a day off work to finish it she got so caught up by the story) and my parents, where it received a similarly warm reception.

Can't wait for the next one.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars It only just managed to drag me to the end 12 Sep 2012
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
Very well written but the first two thirds are plodding as far as "action" is concerned.

The West End theater scene is quite well evoked, and most of the characters are believable.

The beginning of the last third things speed up and this made me carry on reading. But the end of the book seems a complex mess to me, and not for the right reasons.

I like Josephine Tey , but I won't be reading any other books by Nicola Upton.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars An Expert in Murder 29 Jun 2011
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
Using the real life character of Josephine Tey and the real life setting of a successful play written by Tey, Nicola Upson successfully captures the feel of thirties detective fiction. Comparisons with contemporaneous writers of that period are inevitable and this book stands up well to them. In some ways it is better; the attention to the actual political and historical situation is very good and I liked the way the effects of the Great War on that generation are considered. However at times I thought the book dragged and I didn't really get a real 'feel' for the characters. Somehow the emotional impact of the death of the first victim (which should have been huge - she was a young woman, in love, with her life ahead of her) didn't come over as strongly as it should have. So, an interesting read but I don't think I would rush to read another in the series.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A hark back to the past. 30 May 2010
This is the first Josephine Tey novel and having read her second first I thought I would go back to where it started.

Nicola Upson has come upon the idea of using a real life author as a character in this crime series. Tey is not used as the main solving character that falls to Detective inspector Archie Penrose, but Upson weaves in the relationship that Josephine Tey has with his family, and him as well and what all links them together.

Tey happens to bump into a fan of her work on the train south from Inverness, and they strike up an instant friendship for the duration of the journey. However, tragedy strikes when the young girl is found dead, some moments after having said goodbye to Josephine. In steps Archie Penrose and he begins to discover that the murderer has left a number of odd clue that seem to all relate back to Josephine and her(written under a pseudonym) current play running in the West End, Richard of Bordeaux.

We are taken into the wonderful age of the Thirties; the Great War still has memories for a number of people, despite the threat of something else brewing over on the continent. The theatre is beginning to take off and plays, actors and agents are all fighting for something spectacular to put on. However amongst all this joy, there are many harbouring secrets and lies and another death causes Penrose much heartache as he realises that maybe Tey is the intended victim all along. The outcome is probably not what you would expect despite having worked some of it, it still came as a slight surprise, now I think I may have missed a clue or two, or maybe it is just the strength of Upson's writing which took me to the end of the story without working it out in the first few pages.
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27 of 30 people found the following review helpful
I am extremely impressed by this first novel. To precis it is a superbly wrought mix of a literary Agatha Christie blended with the fine characterisation and narrative of P.D. James ; giving a beautifully crafted sense of people, place and time.
Set in the 1930's, a period I personally have little interest in, and based around a fictional portrait of the author Josephine Tey (about whom I confess I knew next to nothing) I was immediately won over and sucked very rapidly and willingly into the plot concerning murders committed around and connected to the Josephine Tey play "Richard of Bordeaux" in its final weeks run at a London Theatre.

The plot interweaves family history, WW1, the vain glories of the theatre players, dark secrets and poignant love affairs in a most satisfying way. And of course there are murders and a police investigation headed up by Josephine's old friend - and soon I hope serialised sleuth ,Archie Penrose. Nicola Upson creates hugely memorable characters about whom you care, and there is a dry sardonic wit running through the book that refreshes.

I have a 2-a-week crime novel "addiction" and after so many years can usually identify the murderer before the end. Here I knew who it was by page 235 - and was totally wrong! Hurrah to Ms Upson for writing a super evocative first novel that kept this old crime story addict guessing right until the end!

Bring on book 2 of the series I say.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars very good read; original take on crime fiction
This book (and the series as a whole) hasa wonderful originality to it. The stories are gripping and the writing atmospheric but the author isn't trying to create a new miss marple... Read more
Published 19 days ago by A. Dorsett
3.0 out of 5 stars No coincidence...
The opening chapters are very engaging. The author manages to craft a murder victim who one actually cares about in a short space of time and I was genuinely saddened by her death... Read more
Published 2 months ago by Catblack_uk
1.0 out of 5 stars What a wast of money.
Mindless drivel, totally relying on the Josephine Tey name to sell it. Money would have been far better spent on a real Josephine Tey novel - she was a real writer, always kept... Read more
Published 2 months ago by Tamar Piskie
3.0 out of 5 stars No glow
I admit I have not yet finished this, but reading it has not taken priority. I was prepared to be charmed and fascinated; I'm almost bored. Read more
Published 3 months ago by BM COOK
1.0 out of 5 stars NOT a'Josephine Tey Mystery'
I expected a homage to Josephine Tey, but no, I'm afraid this girl hasn't a quarter of Tey's talent, and to be calling her works 'a Josephine Tey mystery' is totally misleading. Read more
Published 3 months ago by M. Powys-lybbe
4.0 out of 5 stars Good thirller
One or two red herrings but overall I enjoyed this novel. Well drawn characters and the setting around the theatre was most enjoyable.
Published 3 months ago by Janey
3.0 out of 5 stars Disappointing after a good start
I had high hopes of this, but in the end it didn't deliver. The language just didn't ring true, with women swearing far more than they would have done in the class they inhabit or... Read more
Published 4 months ago by folkfan
4.0 out of 5 stars a bit theatrical
Interesting book exploring different mores. these words are fillers to reach 15 words required by the amazon bureaucracy lol lol
Published 5 months ago by D. Chapman
3.0 out of 5 stars rather tedious
I found the plot too complicated and kept losing track of the characters. By the end I didn't care who the murderer was.
Published 5 months ago by Molly Moynan
2.0 out of 5 stars Not for me!
Sorry but I have read hundreds of "thrillers/detectives/who done it's" but these were not as good as Josephine Teys book and seem written on the back of her name. Read more
Published 5 months ago by Jan Watson
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