Welcome to my stop on The Dead of Winter blog tour! Huge thanks to Faber for inviting me to take part in this tour in exchange for an honest review! Also, some of the review may seem a little vague but as this is a contemporary take on the classic ‘whodunit’ one of the greatest elements of this novel is the reveal – which I don’t want to spoil for readers! CW: Domestic violence.
The Dead of Winter takes place at Christmas 1939 when Hilaria St Aubyn opens her castle home on St. Michaels Mount to a group of strangers to raise money for German war refugees. Among the guests are writer Josephine Tey and DCI Archie Penrose, old friends who have been looking forward to spending their Christmas at the castle. However, what should be a trip full of festive cheer turns to paranoia and fear when two people are found brutally murdered…
This novel is the ninth instalment of the Josephine Tey series, however, this can easily be read and enjoyed as a standalone novel. I really liked the variety of characters that we found in this novel, the types of people that found themselves at the castle were all so different and that alone felt reminiscent of other golden age detective fiction novels. From a renowned German actress who Hitler wants to control, to a married couple who seem anything but happy; from an excited photojournalist on their biggest job yet, to the respected reverend and his wife – the level of detail that Upson goes into for each character makes each of them feel like genuine people and makes them all interesting in their own right.
Whilst I adore the ‘golden age’ when it comes to detective fiction, rather than the crime/thriller genre, sometimes I find that they can still be a little predictable. However, that definitely wasn’t the case with this novel – every time I thought one character was responsible, we found out new information that would make me change my mind. This kept me hooked and had me devouring the majority of the novel in one sitting. Not only was I eager to know who was responsible for the murders, but I also wanted to know how it all tied in with the prologue of the novel too. When I finally got to the reveal, I could not keep the grin off of my face with how well Upson had woven the story and kept me guessing!
Overall, this is definitely a mystery novel that is perfect to get cosy with on the run up to Christmas (or even make a great present to a fellow book lover!). However, be warned, once you pick up this novel it will be nearly impossible to put it down and you will keep promising yourself ‘just one more chapter’, so give yourself plenty of time to enjoy it!