Called to the peaceful wooded churchyard of St-John's-at-Hampstead, Detective Chief Inspector Archie Penrose faces one of the most audacious and unusual murders of his career. The body of the church's organist is found in an opened grave, together with a photograph of a manor house and a cryptic note. The image leads Archie to Cambridge, where the crisp autumn air has brought with it bustling life to the ancient university and town.
Both Josephine Tey and Archie's lover Bridget have recently settled in Cambridge, though both women are not equally happy to see him. One has concealed an important secret from Archie which now threatens to come to light. Meanwhile, the change of seasons has also brought with it a series of vicious attacks against women in town, spreading fear and suspicion through the community.
Soon, another body is revealed, and in the shadow of King's College Chapel, Archie uncovers a connection twenty-five years old which haunted both victims--as well as some of their living companions. As Archie and Josephine each grapple with savage malefactors intent on making their victims pay, they must race to stop another attack in this beautifully written, intricately plotted mystery. (Summary via Goodreads)
Nine Lessons by Nicola Upson has some storylines that are a first for me and I have been reading for a long, long time. There is something to be said about finding a book that can provide a reader with that.
Nine Lessons sends the reader back to 1937 and starts in a cemetery in London and an old grave where a recent murder has taken place. Unfortunately for Detective Chief Inspector Archie Penrose this is just the beginning of a very interesting and intrigueing case that will take him down some dark paths leading him to more death and more questions than answers. There are clues left with the body that do not make any sense until more bodies and clues begin to occur. These bodies and clues take Penrose to a college and a choir twenty-five years ago but the remaining survivors from that choir are not talking.
Also going on in Nine Lessons are a series of attacks and rapes on women where Penrose's dear friend Josephine finds herself investigating in a quiet manner. And I might add here that Josephine is in a relationship with a woman, Marta, during a time where it was very unacceptable. The way in which Upson writes about this relationship and the manner in which others view it is remarkable.
There is so much more that I can say about the stories and the people involved in this book but by doing so I would be giving too much away to you the reader and I feel that this is a book that belongs on your nightstand or endtable with your personal bookmark sticking out.....
I really enjoyed reading Nine Lessons, I am only sorry that this is the first book in this series that I have had the pleasure of reading. I am certain that the previous books were just as entertaining as this one. Upon finishing Nine Lessons I am thoroughly looking forward to the next installment in this series. The way that Upson concluded Nine Lessons made me anxious for more .......
Review by Missi S.