Two for Sorrow by Nicola Upson


TwoforSorrowTwo for Sorrow by Nicola Upson (Harper Perennial, 2011)

Blurb: 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 in1903. 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 Tey’s friends, the Motley sisters, amid preparations for a star-studded charity gala. Despite initial appearances, Inspector Archie Penrose is not convinced this murder is the result of a long-standing domestic feud–and a horrific accident involving a second young woman soon after supports his convictions. Now he and his friend Josephine must unmask a sadistic killer before more blood flows–as the repercussions of unthinkable crimes of the past reach out to destroy those left behind long after justice has been served.

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 low ratings both here and on Amazon seem to be due entirely to the lesbian subplot. For whatever reason, no matter how organic it is to the story, a “mainstream” book with a lesbian subplot is likely to get a lot of bad reviews from people who are upset that “that sort of thing” is being “forced” into the story–when chances are they would have no objection whatsoever to a similar heterosexual romantic subplot. This is definitely a book worth reading if you like historical mysteries.

My rating: 4 Stars


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