English Mysteries Club discussion

An Expert in Murder (Josephine Tey, #1)
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General Archive - current > September 2020 - An Expert in Murder by Nicola Upson

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message 1: by Bionic Jean (new)

Bionic Jean (bionicjean) | 1815 comments Mod
Our group read for September will be the modern murder mystery, An Expert in Murder by Nicola Upson, which has won our poll.

This novel was written in 2008, and has the intriguing premise that Josephine Tey (who was the author of our first mystery read since the relaunch) is the main character! She is a mystery writer in 1930s London.

What's more, this is the first in a series of 9 books (so far).

Have fun with this one, everyone :) Reading and discussion start on September 1st, but since this is a month-long read, where everyone will be at different stages, PLEASE remember to use spoiler tags where appropriate. Thanks all!


message 2: by Pamela (new)

Pamela Mclaren | 285 comments Bionic Jean wrote: "Our group read for September will be the modern murder mystery, An Expert in Murder by Nicola Upson, which has won our poll.

This novel was written in 2008, and has ..."


Sounds like a good book and new series to explore but I have to work down my stash (yes, and that means, no more binge buying as I have been doing during this pandemic!) Am reading a nonfiction book about salt and will have to focus and just read through what I have on my bulging book shelves!.


message 3: by Michaela (new) - added it

Michaela | 187 comments I don´t know either if I´ll manage that, apart from getting the book from the library only after the middle of the month.


message 4: by Bionic Jean (new)

Bionic Jean (bionicjean) | 1815 comments Mod
Well lots of people voted for it, so let's hope this is a good read. It certainly sounds it :)


France-Andrée (iphigenie72) | 378 comments I bought it as a audiobook, looking forward to it.


message 6: by Bionic Jean (new)

Bionic Jean (bionicjean) | 1815 comments Mod
Reading begins today :)


Mariasha | 15 comments I just finished the audiobook and I enjoyed it. The characters are well written and the victims are described in a way that you can actually feel sorry that they died.


message 8: by Bionic Jean (new)

Bionic Jean (bionicjean) | 1815 comments Mod
Wow Mariasha! That was quick! Good to know you enjoyed it though, thanks :)


Mariasha | 15 comments Yes, I am on holiday and I was basically listening to it all day yesterday. I have to admit I also really liked Daughter of Time and A Shilling for Candles by Josephine Tey herself. That made listening to this book even more enjoyable.


message 10: by Ruth (new) - rated it 5 stars

Ruth | 97 comments Has anyone read any of the other books in this series?


message 11: by Pam (new)

Pam Tedder | 15 comments I have also just finished listening to the audio book. I had read the book before a couple of years ago but still really enjoyed it. Nichola Upson shows good attention to detail for the period and I liked the way she put the story into context at the end. I was struck by how good this was. I have read the rest of the series and will eagerly await the next one, but had not appreciated how superior this first one was. It may be because in this first book she has yet to 'play around' with Joesphine's sexuality. As I have said, I have read the rest of the series and enjoyed them. There is no doubt that Upson is a very good writer and does her research well. In Two for Sorrow I found her portrayal of the slum housing very accurate, not something that often happens in detective fiction.


RosaG (pookshill) | 5 comments Just barely about a quarter into the book but wanted to post some comments.
I’m glad this was picked as the monthly read. I was somewhat disconcerted that the “detective” in this series is a real person, and a mystery writer a that. Intrigued at how this will work out. I remember reading Daughter of Time a very, very long time ago. I can’t remember the plot, just the weaving in and out of history.
So far in this book, I’m enjoying the atmosphere created, and the contrast between West End glitter and the dark, misty streets the characters walk through.
It’s really nice to be reading online and to be able to call up images for the various areas and landmarks mentioned.


message 13: by Ruth (new) - rated it 5 stars

Ruth | 97 comments RosaG wrote: "Just barely about a quarter into the book but wanted to post some comments.
I’m glad this was picked as the monthly read. I was somewhat disconcerted that the “detective” in this series is a real ..."


I read this a few years ago while we were visiting London and we went to see The Mousetrap at St Martins Theatre, which is in the same area as the theatrical sections of the book. It was so evocative to be on the spot.


Rosemarie | 193 comments I've finished this one and enjoyed it overall, but found it a bit wordy with too much description of settings that had little to do with the plot. It turned out to be a dark and sad mystery.


message 15: by Bionic Jean (new)

Bionic Jean (bionicjean) | 1815 comments Mod
The series has an interesting premise, I think, but perhaps it's the type of series where you just want to read one or two?


Rosemarie | 193 comments I'm only going to read this one, since I do prefer vintage mysteries.


Dorothy  (vilette) | 193 comments Bionic Jean wrote: "Our group read for September will be the modern murder mystery, An Expert in Murder by Nicola Upson, which has won our poll.

This novel was written in 2008, and has ..."


I'm going to pick this up on audio at the library this morning. I think this is the first time I can join a group read!


Rosemarie | 193 comments Yay, Dorothy!


Mariasha | 15 comments The Audio book is definitely a good choice for this book, Dorothy!


Ellen | 155 comments I finished this last week and think it is a well written book. I felt quite sad about the victims. In general I do think I prefer it when the victims are unsympathetic or maybe you just don't find out enough about them to care very much.


Rosemarie | 193 comments I did feel sad about the victims too, especially the first one.


Elizabeth A.G. | 42 comments It is my understanding from a brief article about Josephine Tey that she was averse to being in the public eye and it has been difficult to learn about her opinions or personal life. I marvel that Nicola Upson has been able to write this series with Tey as the primary character -she seems to have extensively read Tey's novels to gleen what Tey herself would be like in her fictional portrayals. Upson has stated that she originally intended to write a biography, but was driven to write mysteries with Tey as her protagonist.
A biography that might be of interest: Josephine Tey a life by Jennifer Morag Henderson Josephine Tey: a life by Jennifer Morag Henderson


Elizabeth A.G. | 42 comments This was definitely a sad story and mystery. Characters were hiding their true feelings and grudges - (view spoiler)


message 24: by Bionic Jean (new)

Bionic Jean (bionicjean) | 1815 comments Mod
Thank you for this interesting information Elizabeth, and the bio link.


France-Andrée (iphigenie72) | 378 comments I was a little late starting this one, I also went for the audiobook read by Davina Porter.

I agree with everyone about how sad the story was. I love the characters even the villains had positive qualities, a little like real life. I didn’t think the victim would be who it was, I (contrary to Ellen) love when you can feel sorry about the victims because they were a good person, I liked that we got to know the victim before the murder.

I’m going to continue with the series, I’ve already gotten the second in audiobook too with the same narrator.


Mariasha | 15 comments I think I will continue with the series as well. As soon as my mountain of books to read is a little shorter. :D


Vicky D (readingwithmrsd) | 3 comments Thanks for making this the group read, pushing me to get around to reading this. Overall, I was disappointed in the book as it felt very much like fan fiction, using an established name in the mystery genre, perhaps cashing in on that name? I did finish it and it was okay but I won’t be continuing the series. I am , however, much more eager to get to the two books I have that Tey herself wrote. I know nothing about her life so I’m intrigued to learn more about her as a result of this book. Does anyone know if Nicola Upson took liberties with the key events of her life as described in this book?


Vicky D (readingwithmrsd) | 3 comments Just to add, I also listened to the audiobook and I agree that the narrator, Sandra Duncan I think, was great.


Suzanne | 4 comments I'm enjoying this so far-- I like the writing, which feels a little Golden-Age-y with some welcome 21st century attitude.


Dorothy  (vilette) | 193 comments Rosemarie wrote: "Yay, Dorothy!"

I have finished the book and enjoyed it. I love theatre so enjoyed the setting. I noticed that the author named some of her characters after real people connected with English Theatre eg. Terry, Swinburne. The murders were gruesome and intriguing. I think I will read more from this author.


message 31: by Bionic Jean (new)

Bionic Jean (bionicjean) | 1815 comments Mod
Vicky wrote: "Does anyone know if Nicola Upson took liberties with the key events of her life as described in this book?..."

Perhaps the answer to this would be found in the biography Elizabeth linked to, Vicky :)

Which two books by Josephine Tey do you have? We read Brat Farrar as our first group read after the relaunch, and it was a popular choice (the thread is in the archive). It might be nice to have an author folder for her, if anyone would like to run it. Just let me know :)


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