The Secrets of Winter: A Josephine Tey Mystery

Written by Nicola Upson
Review by Peggy Kurkowski

In this ninth entry of the popular and imaginative series, famed mystery writer Josephine Tey and friends descend upon the beautiful and isolated Cornish island of St. Michael’s Mount to celebrate Christmas together. But it seems murder never takes a holiday.

It is December 1938, and rumors of war are swirling. An invitation to pass a peaceful Christmas at the ancient castle atop the historic Mount draws a guest list ripe for animated conversations—including the controversial arrival of a world-famous actress seeking sanctuary from recent shadowy threats. Along with her partner, Marta, and longtime friend (and detective), Archie Penrose, Josephine prepares to enjoy the solitude with those she loves the most. When two brutal murders occur over the course of a savage blizzard effectively sealing off the island from the mainland, Archie—with the help of Josephine and Marta—must put together the confounding clues that eerily trigger memories of a horrific Christmas killing 20 years earlier… before the killer among them strikes again.

Upson has lost none of her plotting chops in The Secrets of Winter, intricately weaving overlapping stories into a satisfying denouement that harkens back to the depthless appeal of the closed-room mystery. Fans will be charmed by the exotic locale and its history, the threatening portents creeping around every garret corner, and a cozy and affectionate storyline that reveals more of Josephine’s personal life. Highly recommended.