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The Death of Lucy Kyte

(Josephine Tey #5)

3.84  ·  Rating details ·  1,108 ratings  ·  163 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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Anne Tanner Yes, I am reading them out of order and they stand alone quite well, although there is quite a lot of back story by way of explanation in some of the…moreYes, I am reading them out of order and they stand alone quite well, although there is quite a lot of back story by way of explanation in some of the later books. I am loving them all.
Hope you enjoy the read Melissa.(less)

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3.84  · 
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 ·  1,108 ratings  ·  163 reviews

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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: mystery, crime, historical
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.
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
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.

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
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
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!
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.
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.
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
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.
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
Jan 20, 2019 rated it really liked it
This is the 5th book in the series. Josephine has been left a cottage by her godmother, a woman who she had not seen for a long time. The complication is that there is someone else who has been left a bequest regarding the cottage; a woman named Lucy Kyte, who appears to be a mystery. The bequest requires Josephine to go to the cottage to sort out her godmother’s possession. As she looks into the mystery of Lucy, she learns more about her godmother, an actress who was well known for being in a p ...more
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
Oct 17, 2018 rated it it was ok
This book was slow and boring!! Josephine inherits a cottage from her godmother (Hester), takes ownership of it, cleans it up, and in the process, figures out how/why her godmother died, as well as how/why a previous tenant of the cottage (Lucy) died. At one point, Josephine is reading Hester's account of Lucy's diary, and she "wondered at the power of fiction to bring history to life." Upson's main character is a historical figure, whom she puts in fictional situations, but interweaves true eve ...more
Hilary (A Wytch's Book Review)
Nicola Upson has turned the life of Josephine Tey and a local (to Ms Upson) murder history/story into a wonderful and complex tale, we have a true tale of murder linked to a village where Josephine has been left a cottage, she needs to overcome the distrust of the locals (Josephine's Godmother had managed to put the backs up of a lot of the village) and get the cottage habitable.  Add in a possible paranormal twist and this turns into a real page turner of a book (and luckily the Sapphic link be ...more
Jan 29, 2019 rated it really liked it
This was a particularly clever mystery novel. Part horror, part ghost story, part mystery and it flowed naturally from the circumstances in which the protagonist puts herself. The feelings of the characters ring true - love, joy, jealousy, bitterness, spite, determination, contentment.

My only complaint is with the relationship started three books prior where both lovers are betraying someone over and over. The full nature of their relationship to the person who is being betrayed wasn't made ver
Cassandra Litten
It took me awhile to get into this story — life getting in the way as it so often does — but when I finally had the time to sit with it, i couldn’t put it down. I felt more of an emotional connection to Josephine than I ever have (probably because this is the first book told entirely from her point of view) and going through her discoveries and anxieties and fears and joys at Red Barn Cottage was an absolute treat. Nicola Upson is a fascinating writer; I never find myself bored or dissatisfied w ...more
Lorna Down
Jan 16, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I really enjoyed reading this novel. The story within the story; the double plot worked well - each commenting and extending the other. The characters are memorable - finely drawn. The writer keeps us in suspense as she ‘slowly’ reveals them and their story. Sometimes the description of the natural environment slowed the movement of the plot. Yet that also helped to create the mystery and the suspense and added a certain texture/richness to the narrative.

Upson has creatively explored the timeles
Feb 23, 2019 rated it it was ok
I've been reading this series for a while, and the books are uneven veering into weird in cases. This book hasn't got that weird part, but its rather lazy in that over half the book is an historic flash back diary, and the culprit in the contemporary story is dropped in without much build up. This book smacks of duty to the publisher rather than a crafted creation. The part that keeps me interested is the continuing story of Josephine and Marta. I haven't read the origin of that yet so I suspect ...more
Ann Boytim
Jan 16, 2019 rated it really liked it
Josephine Tey is a best selling author and she has just inherited a small cottage in remote Suffolk from a godmother who she barely knew. This place is full of secrets and a century before the Red Barn murder was committed and people still talk about this in the village. Josephine has to find another beneficiary in her godmother's will someone know by the name of Lucy Kyle. As Josephine is going through her godmother's papers and possessions she is very disturbed by "things" ion the cottage. His ...more
Sep 22, 2018 rated it liked it
In the afterword, the author explains that Josephine Tey always wanted to own a cottage, so the author decided to give her one. Unfortunately the Red Barn Cottage is in a very isolated location and is both cursed and haunted. Loosely based on a historical murder that took place in the 1820’s, the author adds numerable layers of tragedy tinged with horror. Well written but extraordinarily depressing.
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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 (7 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)