BOOK REVIEW: London Rain by Nichola Upson

Set against the backdrop of 1937’s coronation of King George VI, lies, jealousy, adultery and murder stalk the corridors of Britain’s most upstanding institution: the BBC. In London to oversee the radio production of her stage play, The Queen of Scots, bestselling writer, Josephine Tey is unwittingly drawn into the events at Broadcasting House. While Detective Archie Penrose is tied up in internal politics, it falls to Josephine to uncover the truth.

London RainThe sixth in the Josephine Tey series, this is the first that I have read. And I have to say that it has changed my opinion of historical crime. As a rule, I find it somewhat pedestrian and patronising, but not this! From start to finish I was fascinated by the vivid descriptions of London gripped by coronation fever. The characters felt so real to me after only a few chapters, it was as if they were old friends. Even the minor roles were well fleshed out with a sense of realism that I rarely find in historical novels.

The story itself was delicately woven into the lives of Josephine and Archie, and their respective relationships, that the murders almost played second fiddle. That said, the narrative following the crimes stretched across decades but never for one moment lost its momentum. A fascinating read, giving me such a real sense of inter-war London that I cannot wait to read more from this extremely talented author.

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