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The Death of Lucy Kyte

(Josephine Tey #5)

3.86  ·  Rating details ·  1,355 ratings  ·  186 reviews
In this atmospheric, intriguing historical mystery brimming with psychological tension, an unexpected inheritance plunges beloved British mystery author Josephine Tey into a disturbing puzzle of dark secrets eerily connecting the present and the past

When Josephine Tey unexpectedly inherits Red Barn Cottage from her estranged godmother, the will stipulates that she must per
Paperback, 368 pages
Published June 10th 2014 by Bourbon Street Books (first published July 30th 2013)
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Julie This was the first one I'd read (picked up randomly and didn't realise it even was a series) and I didn't feel like I was missing out by not having re…moreThis was the first one I'd read (picked up randomly and didn't realise it even was a series) and I didn't feel like I was missing out by not having read the others first. I have missed out by not having red them at all and am on the lookout for them. This was a good read.(less)

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Susan Albert
I've been a big fan of the masterful mystery author, Josephine Tey, for decades and am delighted to discover Nicola Upson's series. Tey is just as I imagined her to be. Her biographical background is subtly introduced and serves to create the heavily atmospheric plots, both in the present time (1930s) and in the century-old murder mystery. The story develops slowly, which may frustrate readers who are looking for action. The important development, though, is in the character of Josephine, as she ...more
Terry Gibson
This is a beautiful literate book, which I was so looking forward to reading; so why have I been disappointed? Let me say first, that I’ve never read any books by Nicola Upson; maybe that is part of the problem. I know she has used the character of Josephine Tey in at least two other books, so, as a new reader, I expected some information about Josephine Tey, some idea of her as a person; but apart from the fact that she was a real person, rather than a fictitious character, I was left frustrate ...more
Cheryl M-M
Jul 11, 2013 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Kudos to the author for bringing attention to Josephine Tey aka Elizabeth MacKintosh, scottish writer of murder mysteries and a successful playwright.
Upson has created a main fictional character based on the image, I presume, that Upson has of Tey. That in itself would have been a challenge, as Tey was multifaceted and also elusive as a person. Tey actively avoided the pres and public attention.
The story suffered on occasion from drawn out descriptions and purple prose, which made it slightly lo
Lian Tanner
May 17, 2014 rated it it was ok
Shelves: crime, historical, mystery
I felt pretty ho-hum about this, all the way through. The story was interesting enough, but I just didn't warm to the characters or feel as if they were particularly rounded. And the writing seemed oddly flat. Not sure where all the glowing reviews inside the front cover came from, but this is not a series I'll follow. ...more
Mar 13, 2018 rated it it was ok
a disappointment for me - I could give it 2.5, because the writing is beautiful, but I haven't found the atmosphere of the previous books by Nicola Upson ...more
Harriet Steel
Acclaimed author, Josephine Tey, who has a sideline in amateur detection, inherits an old cottage in Suffolk from her godmother, actress Hester Larkspur. Hester was a close friend of Josephine's mother but Josephine only met her once or twice as a child.
Hester's Will stipulates that she wants Josephine to dispose of the contents of the cottage as she sees fit, and it soon becomes apparent that the task is an unusual and daunting one, for Hester's possessions include memorabilia from the notoriou
Connie D
Oct 15, 2017 rated it really liked it
You'll have to check out an official summary (or someone else's. This book has a fascinating mystery (including hauntings) and the MC's process in finding the truth was intriguing....but it would take too long to explain right now.

Incidentally, I think I would have enjoyed this more if I'd read the previous Josephine Tey mysteries.

P.S. It took me so long because I only read it in bed.

Dec 12, 2019 rated it really liked it
I enjoyed reading this historical-mystery-within-an-historical-mystery, the former based on a true historical crime, the latter fictional. Nicola Upson's series consists of fictional novels featuring real-life crime writer Josephine Tey as the central character and amateur detective.
In this story, Josephine inherits a country cottage in Suffolk from her late godmother, a famous stage actress, of whom she has seen nothing since her childhood in Inverness. The cottage happens to overlook the site
Nov 13, 2014 rated it liked it
This has been a bit of a disappointing read. The crux of a good story is there because it unites the present in a town in the English countryside with a horrible murder from a century before.
Josephine Tey, a mystery writer is bequeathed a cottage by her Godmother, Hester Larkspur. Hester was a famous English actress, who appeared in many stage presentations with her husband, Walter. But when Walter died, Hester's life seemed to crumble. When Josephine starts to investigate her inheritance the
Jan 12, 2020 rated it liked it
If you are in the mood for a slow, but thoroughly detailed look into both the 1930s English countryside as well as the 1800s English countryside, this book may be for you. I've never been to England, but have always loved reading of/hearing of the countryside, especially the English coast. Josephine is a lovely character, and she came to life for me, as did those around her. There is a bit of a meta-quality to the story as we are reading a mystery about Josephine reading about a mystery, thus co ...more
Laura Lee
Jan 15, 2014 rated it it was amazing
A series, will be reading the rest! Josephine Tey is a successful playwrite who inherits a cottage in the Suffolk countryside. It was the home of her godmother Hester, an actress of past renown. Josephine did not really know Hester, her mother's best friend, except a few memories as a child. The cottage is seemingly haunted, sad and full of grief. Josephine follows in Hester's footsteps to release the house from its demons. Excellent story, wonderful writing, would be great book club book. I don ...more
Mar 13, 2019 rated it it was amazing
My favourite in the series so far. Rides that fine line between Murder mystery & ghost story with ease, bringing to life both an 1828 Murder & a suspicious death in the 1930s. Add in some doors opening on their own, the smell of smoke with no source for it & footsteps on the backstairs, going to a room with an atmosphere of sadness and you have a genuinely creepy mystery.
Irma Myers-Donihoo
Jul 29, 2018 rated it it was amazing
This Josephine Tey mystery was different in that a) it seemed more Tey centric and contained a 100 yo murder for her to figure out. Very descriptive passages of Suffolk. Thoroughly enjoyed this book!
This fifth book in the series based on the life of Josephine Tey, detective novelist and playwright, continues to develop the shy, private persona of the intelligent protagonist while revealing all her self-doubts and second guessing about her relationships. The reader learns more about Marta Fox whom Josephine had met two years before; Marta was involved with Josephine's good friend, Lydia, and had reluctantly fallen in love with Marta. Marta is as complex as Josephine; her experience with grie ...more
It was ok. It sadly bored me throughout the book. She writes very well. Her landscapes descriptions are amongst the best. I didn’t like the characters. Almost liked Miss Peck more than Josephine, or at least, cared more about her. Understood her. Josephine’s indecisiveness was too much.
Laura Jayne Tricker
Jul 31, 2019 rated it liked it
This one was slow to unfold. The writing was beautiful but lacked real bones and stretched out unnecessarily in some parts, while important plot reveals were brushed over. A little uneven for me but I did want to keep reading and untangle the mystery.
Dec 30, 2018 rated it liked it
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Jun 23, 2014 rated it really liked it
Nicola Upson, Jacqueline Winspear, Charles Todd, and Susan Elia MacNeal, now you may be asking why I'm just listing a bunch of authors at the beginning of a book review, well good question. For a reasons, I will get to in a second, these authors are all tied up together in my head. First of all, they are all set around the same time, in the same country. Basing mysteries in England, around the two World Wars, will automatically link them together. For me, it's more than that though. They aren't ...more
Valerie Campbell Ackroyd
I took a long time to read this book. The beginning was so slow that I had actually put it aside, thinking I would just not finish it. I didn't enjoy the portrayal of Josephine Tey, whose novels I had so enjoyed in my teens. A private person in real life, I felt that Tey would be incensed at Upson's commandeering of her, adding details that no one could possibly know the truth about. However, about a week ago, I looked at it on my Kindle again and realized that, having read about 30% of it, I ha ...more
Aug 10, 2013 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
This is a beautiful literate book, which I was so looking forward to reading; so why have I been disappointed? Let me say first, that I’ve never read any books by Nicola Upson; maybe that is part of the problem. I know she has used the character of Josephine Tey in at least two other books, so, as a new reader, I expected some information about Josephine Tey, some idea of her as a person; but apart from the fact that she was a real person, rather than a fictitious character, I was left frustrate ...more
Sep 10, 2013 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
It was a lot slower than her previous novels, and I wasn't sure if I was enjoying it. Then, I suddenly realised I was loving it and didn't want to put it down. It was subtle, tense and incredibly atmospheric. Loved it. ...more
The story started out so slowly that I almost gave up on it. Finally, toward the end of the audiobook, the pace picked up and tied up a lot of the loose threads. The use of the F word was unnecessary and jarring in contrast to the otherwise peaceful writing.
Jul 19, 2020 rated it liked it
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Dec 07, 2018 rated it it was amazing
This was a rather fascinating story, including a 'story within the story'. Josephine inherits an isolated cottage from her godmother, with the proviso that she clear it out and take care of her papers. There is also a bequest to Lucy Kyte, but the solicitor is having trouble finding her. While staying at the cottage, Josephine discovers her godmother was obsessed with a murdered girl called Maria Martin - she had starred several times in a play (where she is called Maria Marten) about the girl. ...more
Vic Lauterbach
Dec 04, 2018 rated it liked it
I didn't realize this novel was the fifth entry in a series when I started it, so I finished it out of obligation after taking a break to read the first installment. This one is better overall than An Expert in Murder in which Ms. Upson's fictitious amateur sleuth named Josephine Tey debuted because here she takes on the central role while D.I. Archie Penrose makes only a token appearance. The plot, which is very loosely based on a real 19-century crime, is nicely developed (although the superna ...more
Charlene Roberson
I was not familiar with the Red Barn murder, nor with Josephine Tey, except through a previous novel, but neither of those affected my enjoyment of this book. Set in Suffolk, England sometime in the 1930s, Nicola Upson has managed to give the author a rich life, which seems to be all fictional! Josephine Tey is a novelist and playwright, involved with the theater in London, although she is originall Scottish. When she inherits a cottage in Suffolk from a godmother she was barely acquainted with, ...more
Dec 09, 2017 rated it really liked it
This complex mystery / gothic mystery features mystery writer Josephine Tey as detective and heroine. This series is part of a trend that features authors or fictional characters as detectives in other tales. Upson creates an interesting literary tale cum mystery that will keep you interested until the very end.

The story is set in the 1930s when Tey was at her height as author and playwright. After inheriting a house in the rural Suffolk countryside from her godmother, she begins reading about t
Mar 10, 2018 rated it liked it
I'd never heard of Maria Marten or the Red Barn Murder, committed in 1827 in Polstead, Suffolk, England--but the local fascination with all things to do with the tragic crime and its aftermath brought to mind parallels (and differences) with the notorious Borden murders of Fall River, MA, my home town.

Upson gives her 1930s heroine Josephine Tey plenty to investigate when she has the author/sleuth inherit the Red Barn Cottage overlooking the scene of the earlier crime. Upson weaves together deta
Linda Amos
Sep 17, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Josephine's godmother, Hester, has passed away and in her will Josephine is left her cottage in Suffolk. The co-beneficiary is a mystery. It is on the edge of the village and is somewhat dilapidated, but Josephine decides to stay the night. The villagers don't seems particularly friendly, nor does the house. There is a feeling of overwhelming sadness and grief about the place. As Josephine starts to find out why, the Red Barn Murder plays a prominent part, as does Hester's choice of husband.
Verity W
May 22, 2017 rated it liked it
This is the second in this series that I've read - and is the book before the other one. So I'm definitely missing out on a lot of backstory here, but this is an engrossing read which ties a real life crime fiction author in to a real life historical crime (one which I heard all about when I worked down Suffolk way). I still can't make up my mind what I think about the series though - I think I need to try and get hold of one of the earlier books in the series to fill in some gaps. I didn't like ...more
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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

Other books in the series

Josephine Tey (9 books)
  • An Expert in Murder (Josephine Tey, #1)
  • Angel with Two Faces (Josephine Tey, #2)
  • Two for Sorrow (Josephine Tey, #3)
  • Fear in the Sunlight (Josephine Tey, #4)
  • London Rain (Josephine Tey #6)
  • Nine Lessons (Josephine Tey #7)
  • Sorry for the Dead (Josephine Tey #8)
  • The Dead of Winter (Josephine Tey, #9)

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