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Two for Sorrow (Josephine Tey #3)

3.47  ·  Rating Details  ·  697 Ratings  ·  123 Reviews
London, 1903. Two women are hanged in Holloway Prison for killing babies. More than 30 years later, their crimes resurface with shocking consequences.
Paperback, 496 pages
Published January 1st 2010 by Faber & Faber
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(showing 1-30 of 1,370)
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Wendy  Sievers
Oct 23, 2011 Wendy Sievers rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
I decided to give this author another chance as the series sounds just up my alley. But, sadly, this was far worse than the first of her books that I read. I am very accustomed to reading murder mysteries and seldom find myself horrified when murders are described in novels, but in this case, all I can say is ....YUCK! I don't like the visual image I have now remembering it. Also, the book included characters from previous novels and kept referencing one of them, but even having read the book I ...more
Mary Ronan Drew
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Ryan G
Aug 31, 2011 Ryan G rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I'm always a little hesitant when an author takes a real life person and puts them into a work of fiction, especially a mystery. I'm even more suspicious when that real life person is herself a mystery author. I have never read anything that Josephine Tey has written, but a lot of my friends (who's opinions I trust) tell me she is absolutely fabulous.

I'm going to be honest now, despite my reservations, I agreed to review this based off of two things. First, I fell in love with the synopsis. Ever
Anne Hawn Smith
This book was a little hard to rate. It isn't as much a mystery as a "true crime" story with a more current mystery added on. In 1903, two women were hanged as "baby farmers." That is, women who cared for mothers during the birth of their children, mainly illegitimate children and were supposed to be finding them good homes. In reality, they often killed the babies while they maintained the delusion that the children were in happy homes. This was all mixed up in the extremely contradictory pract ...more
If you are a reader who enjoys intricate plotting, brutal murders, baby farming, turn of the century English women’s prisons, death by suicide and execution by hanging not to mention a little lesbian action thrown in for good measure, then you are sure to embrace the latest in the Josephine Tey mystery series, TWO FOR SORROW. Nicola Upson has managed to capture the readers attention as she artfully leads them through all of the above referenced experiences in this whodunit of intertwined stories ...more
This book was the most incredible surprise. I'd grabbed it from simply because it reminded me a little of The Hatpin, and I was more interested in getting rid of my books than finding new ones so I was often swapping for just any old thing. When I saw how large this was I figured I'd never get onto reading it before going home... until I was looking at what to bring to Vienna with me and figured it was the perfect opportunity.

I began it on my first day, thinking that I'd proba
Feb 09, 2012 Joanne rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
I was a bit disappointed with the last book in this series, so I was really hoping to enjoy this one. And I did - I thought it was great.
The heroine, Josephine Tey is back in London. She is researching a true crime novel about 'baby farmers'. These were women who would for a fee, take in unmarried pregnant women (the book is set at the beginning of the twentieth century), then when the baby was born they would pretend to get the baby adopted, but would in fact kill it. Josephine has a tenuous co
It's a good plot, it really is. It borrows a little from a couple of Christie mysteries I've read, as to the murder and the motive, but that doesn't make it bad. What does is the fact that I really, really do not like Josephine Tey. She's one of the more annoying characters I've come across in mystery fiction, and I've read a fair few of them. She doesn't even have the saving grace of solving the mysteries - her friend, the competent detective Archie Penrose does that. She's there for stopping t ...more
Jun 30, 2016 Anne rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
"I shouldn't put real people into a novel and manipulate them for the sake of a story. It's not right."

So thinks Josephine Tey in this book. I wonder what Nicola Upson was thinking when she wrote that.

This is one of the stranger mysteries I've read. Taken purely as a mystery, it's very good: well-written (although Upson needs to learn the difference between "that" and "which"—unfortunately, copy editors are a thing of the past), well-plotted (with a nice twist at the end), and full of interestin
Elisha (lishie)
Mar 04, 2016 Elisha (lishie) rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Another different installment than the first two. I'm really enjoying this series as it's not just a "non-detective/inspector/law officer just falling into murder wherever she goes but the stories, though extraordinary, feel real.
Two for Sorrow by Nicola Upson is the third novel in her historical mystery series featuring Josephine Tey (aka Eilizabeth Mackintosh). In order to fully understand the relationships between various recurring characters, I would definitely suggest that anyone interested in reading the novels begin at the beginning (An Expert in Murder). Upson anchors her third book with the true criminal case of Amelia Sach and Annie Walters--better know at the turn of the twentieth century as the Finchley baby ...more
(3.5 stars) The third book in the Josephine Tey series has the main character, Josephine, a fictionalized version of the real mystery writer, on a research trip for a historical book. She is delving into the details of two notorious baby farmers who took in unwed mothers who paid fees for the birth, the "adoption", and also a gift for the new family. Amelia Sach was a midwife, while her partner Annie Walters was responsible for disposal of the babies. As she works on finding out more details, Jo ...more
Aug 17, 2011 Pam rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: tlc-book-tour
One of my jobs as an inclusion teacher is to go into the language arts classroom to help my students. Since a lot of my students have trouble with reading, I spend a lot of time in there. One of the things I’ve learned is how a story should be written. The graph of the storyline should look something like a hill. The story goes up the hill, reaches a climax, and then goes down the hill.

I have never read a book that illustrates this so well as Two for Sorrow: A New Mystery Featuring Josephine Tey
Angela Oliver
Whilst the premise was interesting - the baby farming crimes of the early 1900s were so carefully calculated and cruel, I found the plot of this book to be somewhat lacking. The general crime thread was fine, with plenty of intricate weaves and quite a few twists, but the main character - Josephine Tey seemed almost superflous to the plot and it failed to build to a climactic ending. I had also predicted the identity of the murderer (including the "twist"). The characters were in parts interesti ...more
Kathleen (Kat) Smith
They were the most horrific crimes of a new century: the murders of newborn innocents for which two British women were hanged at Holloway Prison in 1903. Decades later, mystery writer Josephine Tey has decided to write a novel based on Amelia Sach and Annie Walters, the notorious, "Finchley baby farmers," unaware that her research will entangle her in the desperate hunt for a modern-day killer.

A young seamstress-an ex-convict determined to reform-has been found brutally slain in the studio of Te
Lizzie Hayes
Aug 31, 2012 Lizzie Hayes rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
‘Two for Sorrow’ By Nicola Upson

Josephine Tey has travelled down to London from her home in Inverness to do some work on her novel, a fiction account of a true crime - the hanging in Holloway in 1903 of Annie Walters and Amelia Sach - the Finchley baby farmers.

The Cowdray Club where Josephine is staying is run by her old tutor Celia Bannerman. Josephine is keen to interview anyone who was around at the time of the hanging and Celia Bannerman proves to be a help in this instance having herself wo
Jul 25, 2011 Kristelle rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: first-reads
Two For Sorrow is an excellently written mystery book. Nicola Upson’s main character, Josephine, is a skilled writer who actually ‘writes’ some excerpts in the book; she is a writer who writes both plays and books. In Two For Sorrow, Josephine is writing about a crime that happened between two women years ago who were baby farmers – women who got rid of young babies by killing them and other forms to eliminate unwanted children. The women, Amelia Sach and Annie Walters were ‘partners in crime,’ ...more
This book certainly held my attention.

Josephine Tey is a real person (author of Brat Farrar and The Franchise Affair among others). In this book by Nicola Upson, Tey is working on a new book-a fictionalized version of an old crime: In 1902 two women, Amelia Sach and Annie Walters were convicted of murdering babies. Sach ran a home where unwed mothers could come to give birth and give up their children for adoption. But instead of having the babies adopted, she gave them to Walters who killed the
Audra (Unabridged Chick)
I am loathe to start a series in the middle but I just couldn't swing the first two books by the time I needed to get to this one. Fortunately, I absolutely enjoyed this book despite my ignorance of the series and the characters!

The novel fictionalizes the life of mystery novelist Josephine Tey (Tey is a pen name, but the character goes by Josephine in this series) and the novel alternates, roughly, chapters of Tey's draft account of a thirty year old crime and her present day. Upson beautifully
Sep 14, 2012 Sarah rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
In its setting, the book contrasts the drab hospitals and prisons in the first part of the twentieth century with the glamour of West End theatreland. When writer Jospehine Tey visits London from her Inverness home, she stays at the Cowdray Club, a women’s institution associated with the adjacent teaching hospital for nurses. Josephine has begun a new book focusing on the story of the notorious Finchley ‘baby farmers’, Amelia Sach and Annie Walters, who were hanged for their crimes in 1903. Celi ...more
Lydia Presley
Original review posted
Oct 21, 2011 Dee rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
May 30, 2013 Kim rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2013booksread
The third book in the Jacqueline Tey series is a strange one. It's a fictionalized account of a writer writing a fictionalized version of a historical event. So it's a bit difficult to pin down. The main flaw of the book is that the plot relies on a huge number of coincidences. Tey is writing a book about a crime that took place 30 years before and it just happens that everyone around her is connected to that case. It requires a huge suspension of disbelief to accept this, which I struggled with ...more
Mar 03, 2011 Marleen rated it really liked it
My actual rating for this book is 4.5 stars. I really liked it, but maybe not quite as much as I did the previous two books in the series.
In this, the third Josephine Tey book by Nicola Upson, Josephine is in her club in London working on a new book. The story she is writing is based on the execution of two women, 30 years earlier, for baby farming.
The crimes of the two women, Amelia Sachs and Annie Walters, were horrific as were their executions. For Josephine there is an added interest though,
Jun 01, 2012 Stacia rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This is a good book. It's well written, thoroughly researched, with an intriguing premise and a bunch of twists and turns that come together nicely. I was a bit skeptical of reading a book that is in essence RPF--a fictional account of the life of author Josephine Tey--but it's very well done and I found that I was immersed in the world that had been created around her. I'm going to try to find other books by Nicola Upton.

I'm dismayed, but not altogether surprised, that this book's relatively lo
Ant Harrison
Sep 13, 2012 Ant Harrison rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2011
I hadn't read the previous two books in this series, but was drawn to this one becuase of the subject matter and reviews. Upson is a good stylist, and the characters were well drawn and the setting believable. The evocation of 1930s London was excellent and, for the most part, the plot moved along nicely. The main premiss of the novel focused on an infamous case of 'baby farming', when two women were hanged for the crime. I thought the extracts from the imaginary Tey novel about the case were gr ...more
Jul 14, 2012 Liz rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: crime
Sadly I found the first two-thirds of this novel extremely tedious - which was frustrating because the subject matter (the execution of two baby farmers and the repercussions of this over thirty years) was fascinating. The writing, unfortunately, was slow and dull, and there was far too much of it. I don't need to know what is happening in every character's head - in fact, I think it's much more interesting to work a few things out for myself.

I only kept on reading because I was very interested
Apr 04, 2016 Brigid rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: my bookies, mystery fans
Though I didn't know this is the 3rd Josephine Tey book by Upson, I didn't feel like I've missed something. This was great to listen to, although I was surprised to find the culprit exposed so early on in the story. Narrator was very good and nicely distinguished between characters.
The main part of this story takes place in London, at the Chaudrey Club, a private club for independent women and specifically, nurses (it's congruent with a nursing college). The book Josephine is working on currentl
Apr 20, 2013 Susan rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Playwright and murder mystery writer Josephine Tey is depicted as a fictional character who is writing about two women involved in “baby farming” (murdering newborns) a generation before in London. At the same time she and Inspector Archie Penrose are drawn into the investigation of a particularly nasty killing of a young reformed convict. The book is constructed of drafts of chapters that Josephine has written and then the evidence that she finds in her research, which is sometimes quite wide o ...more
May 25, 2015 JayeL rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: own, audio, 2015
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
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Goodreads Librari...: number of pages 2 15 Oct 31, 2013 11:03AM  
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Nicola Upson was born in Bury St. Edmunds, 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 Arts Council England. She lives with her partner and splits her time between Cambridge and Cornwall.

Nicola is currently writing the sixth book in the 'Jos
More about Nicola Upson...

Other Books in the Series

Josephine Tey (6 books)
  • An Expert in Murder (Josephine Tey, #1)
  • Angel with Two Faces (Josephine Tey, #2)
  • Fear in the Sunlight (Josephine Tey, #4)
  • The Death of Lucy Kyte (Josephine Tey, #5)
  • London Rain (Josephine Tey #6)

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