Publishing year: 2013
This is the last book (so far) of Josephine Tey series.
In this novel Josephine inherits a cottage in Sufflolk, which belonged to her godmother, Hester Larkspur. Josephine never got to know Hester, but the old woman was Josephine’s mother’s best friend, and for some reason she decided to leave her home to her best friend’s eldest daughter. The will has two codicils; in the first one Hester states that Josephine needs to sort out the belongings in her home and decide what to keep; otherwise, everything will be destroyed. In the second codicil Josephine states that Lucy Kyte could take one thing from the cottage she might want. Nobody knows who Lucy is; she isn’t a local or a friend of her as far as the lawyer knows.
From that moment, Josephine starts a journey in which she gets to know her godmother. Hester was an actress and for years she performed the role of Maria Marden, a woman who in the nineteenth century was murdered by the man who seduced her. Hester was so linked to the story that she and her husband bought the cottage in the village where Maria was murdered, Polstead, and not far from where she was killed.
Josephine travels to Suffolk, and finds the cottage in a poor state, so she tries to make it decent. She gets to know Bert, the local mechanic, who befriended Hester and found her dead in the cottage. Hester seems to have been a very particular person, and Josephine seems to think that they were similar as both of them aren’t too sociable. Josephine learns from Bert that Hester was losing her sight, and they fell out when Hester accused Bert’s daughters of stealing some memorabilia of her keen interest in Maria Marden.
This new book feels different to the other ones so far. Josephine is really a central character, and apart from a few references to Marta, there’s no hint that Archie, Marta, and the Motley sisters will appear. I hope they show up eventually, and I wonder when Lucy Kyte will appear, and if her murder will be investigated by Archie.