How many lessons? – Book Review for NetGalley – Nine Lessons by Nicola Upson (Josephine Tey #7)

cover116545-medium.png Nine Lessons

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.

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The evil we inflict on other people can produce greater evil in response…

This is a thought this book left me with.

A peaceful and picturesque Cambridge, nice people with long and complicated histories is the set for a serious novel or light-hearted love story. But no, postcardish streets of Cambridge and picture-perfect lawns, valleys and parks had to be marred by evil.

There is evil open and evil covert. There is a rapist, a serial rapist at that and there is the evil conjured up by horror of years past.

Everything in this life comes with a price tag, with a lesson. How many lessons are there in this book? I lost count and got confused. May be you, the next reader, can figure it out.

There are numbers everywhere. There are several rapes and vicious attacks on young women. There are a certain number of men being killed one after another… There are life lessons to be learned by the main characters. Some of those lessons would be life-changing.

Nine lessons is a crime story (crimes). It is a story of loves lost and lives ruined. It is a story of post-war and per-war Cambridge and its life. There is something for many varied readers.

The quietness of the town and its sleepy life makes the evil of the crimes ever more horrific and unforgivable.

Everything is wrapped nicely at the end. The book lives you with a peculiar aftertaste and a wish to know more.

Would I read the previous 6 books in the series? I do not think so. The author did a good job of bringing in the new reader giving snippets of explanation and glances into the histories of main characters and things that happened before.

This book is a nice, slow read and yet another lesson in human nature, for better of it and for it’s worst…


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