Tag Archives: Josephine Tey

Reading Road Trip — Atlanta

23 Jan

Only one post into my newest feature and I have already taken a side trip! I intend to visit all 50 states in the coming months, but when I left Alabama and headed to my home state of Georgia, I found way too many books to share for just one post. So I have decided to take a detour to Atlanta this week. There are lots of great books set in my state’s capital. (We’ll visit the rest of the state in a coming post.)

Atlanta is the largest city and the capital of Georgia. The entire metro population exceeds 5 million (and it feels like it when you are on the road on a weekend!). All of my kids were born in Atlanta, and my oldest attended both undergraduate and graduate school there. After a brief stint in Texas, he is back enjoying all the city can provide — arts, recreation, and an urban/hometown kind of vibe.

Atlanta is only a 90 minute drive from my home, and if you ask anyone in the state, you can’t get where you are going unless you go through Atlanta! Whether we are traveling to our cabin in North Georgia or to some far flung destination, we go through Atlanta quite a lot.

Besides visiting regularly, I have enjoyed a good many books set in Atlanta — contemporary and historical. I hope you find one you will like from my list.

Atlanta Reading Road Trip!

Yankee in Atlanta by Jocelyn Green

When soldier Caitlin McKae woke up in Atlanta after being wounded in battle, the Georgian doctor who treated her believed Caitlin’s only secret was that she had been fighting for the Confederacy disguised as a man. In order 
to avoid arrest or worse, Caitlin hides her true identity and makes a new life for herself in Atlanta.

Trained as a teacher, she accepts a job as a governess to the daughter of Noah Becker, a German immigrant lawyer, who enlists with the Rebel army. Then in the spring of 1864, Sherman’s troops edge closer to Atlanta. Though starvation rules, and Sherman rages, she will not run again. In a land shattered by strife and suffering, a Union veteran and a Rebel soldier test the limits of loyalty and discover the courage to survive. Will honor dictate that Caitlin and Noah follow the rules, or love demand that they break them?

The Sweetest Thing by Elizabeth Musser

The Singleton family’s fortunes seem unaffected by the Great Depression, and Perri–along with the other girls at Atlanta’s elite Washington Seminary–lives a carefree life of tea dances with college boys, matinees at the cinema, and debut parties. But when tragedies strike, Perri is confronted with a world far different from the one she has always known.

At the insistence of her parents, Mary “Dobbs” Dillard, the daughter of an itinerant preacher, is sent from inner-city Chicago to live with her aunt and attend Washington Seminary, bringing confrontation and radical ideas. Her arrival intersects at the point of Perri’s ultimate crisis, and the tragedy forges an unlikely friendship.

The Sweetest Thing tells the story of two remarkable young women–opposites in every way–fighting for the same goal: surviving tumultuous change.

 

The Swan House by Elizabeth Musser

Mary Swan Middleton has always taken for granted the advantages of her family’s wealth. But a tragedy that touches all of Atlanta sends her reeling in grief. When the family maid challenges her to reach out to the less fortunate as a way to ease her own pain, Mary Swan meets Carl — and everything changes. For although Carl is her opposite in nearly every way, he has something her privileged life could not give her. And when she seeks his help to uncover a mystery, she learns far more than she ever could have imagined.

*The Atlanta Justice series by Rachel Dylan

In the biggest case of her career, attorney Kate Sullivan is tapped as lead counsel to take on Mason Pharmaceutical because of a corporate cover-up related to its newest drug. After a whistleblower dies, Kate knows the stakes are much higher than her other lawsuits.

Former Army Ranger turned private investigator Landon James is still haunted by mistakes made while serving overseas. Trying to forget the past, he is hired by Kate to look into the whistleblower’s allegation and soon suspects that the company may be engaging in a dangerous game for profit. He also soon finds himself falling for this passionate and earnest young lawyer.

Determined not to make the same mistakes, he’s intent on keeping Kate safe, but as the case deepens, it appears someone is willing to risk everything — even murder — to keep the case from going to trial.

*Southern Crimes series by Lisa Harris

When two Jane Does are killed on the outskirts of Atlanta, Georgia, detective and behavioral specialist Avery North discovers they share something in common–a tattoo of a magnolia on their shoulders. Suspecting a serial killer, Avery joins forces with medical examiner Jackson Bryant to solve the crimes and prevent another murder. But it doesn’t take long for them to realize that there is much more to the case than meets the eye. As they venture deep into a sinister world of human trafficking, Avery and Jackson are taken to the very edge of their abilities–and their hearts.

*first book in the series is linked

 

 

Book Review: Miss Pym Disposes

22 Nov

In my efforts to complete the reading challenges I have set for myself (yes it is almost December), I chose Josephine Tey’s Miss Pym Disposes to satisfy two challenges.  Here are my thoughts:

 

Miss Lucy Pym, a popular English psychologist, is guest lecturer at a physical training college. The year’s term is nearly over, and Miss Pym — inquisitive and observant — detects a furtiveness in the behavior of one student during a final exam. She prevents the girl from cheating by destroying her crib notes. But Miss Pym’s cover-up of one crime precipitates another — a fatal “accident” that only her psychological theories can prove was really murder.

 

 

Josephine Tey is one of the best-known and best-loved of all crime writers. She began to write full-time after the successful publication of her first novel, The Man in the Queue (1929), which introduced Inspector Grant of Scotland Yard. In 1937 she returned to crime writing with A Shilling for Candles, but it wasn’t until after the Second World War that the majority of her crime novels were published. Josephine Tey died in 1952, leaving her entire estate to the National Trust.

 

 

My Impressions:

Miss Pym Disposes is a typically British mystery set at the Leys Physical Training Institute (PTI) in post WWII.  A PTI seems to be a college for women that prepares them for jobs in the fields of physical education, physical therapy and nursing.  The training is rigorous — the young women are run from gymnastic and dancing classes to anatomy classes to clinics from 5:30 in the morning until 8:00 at night.  Miss Lucy Pym comes to the school as a Friday evening guest lecturer because of her celebrity in writing The Book, a refutation of psychological theory.  Miss Pym was a French teacher who read a lot of psychology books and then wrote her own.  She is the darling of literary circles and finds the enthusiasm and youth of Leys to be a tonic and so stays on to enjoy the last days of the term when the Seniors are due to give their final Demonstration to family and friends prior to graduation.  But beneath the exuberance and excitement there is tension and malice.  The competition for a position at a prestigious girl’s school proves too much for both staff and students, and one of their number is murdered.

Miss Pym Disposes is witty and fun, yet dated.  The cultural references may be lost to the current generation and some of the aphorisms may be racially offensive.   I generally skipped over the references I didn’t understand and chalked up some of the language as pre-Civil Rights.  Neither really added to the mystery at hand.  All in all, it was a good way to spend a lazy weekend.  But if you really want to read a great mystery by Josephine Tey, I recommend Daughter of Time instead.

(I chose this book from my shelves.  The review is completely unsolicited.)