My book review of 'Dear Little Corpses' by Nicola Upson
The mystery felt almost incidental in this latest novel from Nicola Upson. I loved her standalone story of 'Stanley and Elsie' and this felt reminiscent of that in its delight in the domesticity of life in rural England just before the start of the second world war.
There's a wonderful period setting, great characterisation and a nostalgic, atmospheric backdrop which begins with a detailed and sensitive account of all perspectives of those involved in the evacuation of children from London. The parents, the hosts and the children are all given a voice, and the Golden Age crime writer Josephine Tey finds herself involved, too, as she agrees to providing temporary accommodation to the young boy Noah when the villagers are inundated with children.
There are preparations for a village fete and Josephine is judging cakes, vegetables and crafts with her fellow writer Margery Allingham. All seems idyllic, albeit with the threat of war looming, but a more pressing crisis occurs when it seems one of the local children has gone missing. As Josephine and her friend, the London police officer Archie Penrose try to find the young girl, it is clear that the village has been hiding sinister secrets for many years.
For me, the story of the crime, and a second murder in London, is all a little too dark for what is a charming, soothing, wonderful read. Nicola Upson writes beautifully and I devoured this book, unable to put it down and not wanting it to end. I can't wait to see what she writes next!