Monday, 23 May 2011

The Angel with Two Faces by Nicola Upson

This is the second in the series of books featuring the writer Josephine Tey.  I've read the first, An Expert in Murder, and loved it.

This story takes place in Cornwall. Josephine has been invited for a holiday there by her friend Archie Penrose. Archie grew up in Cornwall, and his relatives still live on the family estate. The death of a popular young man, Harry Pinching, has thrown the local community into turmoil and Josephine and Archie soon become embroiled in the mystery surrounding his death.

I have to say I didn't enjoy this as much as the An Expert in Murder. I felt that it was less tightly written and plotted. I didn't feel that I got to know the characters very well. I think that the idea was to show how the pressures of a small community can lead to tragedy, but it just didn't work for me. Also there was a theme of incest, which I found quite disturbing.

Josephine and Archie's relationship seems to be slowly developing into something more than friendship. I do like those two characters, they're both quite worldly, but both rather reserved. And Archie's theatrical cousins, Lettice and Ronnie are good value, as they were in the first book.

I will definitely read the third in the series, but I was a bit disappointed with this one.


  1. I liked the first book but I was disappointed in this one too. It was set just a few miles from where I leave and I just couldn't believe in the characters or the setting. A shame, because murder at the Minack had such potential.

    Fortunately the third book looks more promising, and I've read some good reports.

  2. Jane - glad to hear it wasn't just me! I really wanted to like it but just couldn't get involved either with the plot or the characters. Good news about the third book though.

  3. This was the first one I read, and then went back and read An Expert in Murder which was the better of the two. The third book, Two for Sorrow is different yet again and I really enjoyed - 5 star review from me.

    Reading about Tey has now made me read her books, and I have recently enjoyed The Franchise Affair.

    Hope you enjoy it.

  4. Jo - I will definitely look out for Two for Sorrow at the library. I have never read anything by Josephine Tey but would be interested in doing so. The trouble is there are so many other books I want to read as well!