To Love and be Wise by Josephine Tey was first published in 1950 and she must have been feeling comfortable financially because she gifted the copyright to the National Trust. In fact when she died in 1952 she left everything to the NT.
I’ve been on something of a mystery binge recently and I think this is the one which I have enjoyed most. Salcott St Mary is an old village which had been a quiet backwater until the actress Marta Hallard decided to settle there, she bought the ‘big house’ and that put the place on the map, meaning that a lot of other show business types followed in her footsteps.
Detective Inspector Grant happens to be a good friend of Marta’s and it’s whilst attending one of her parties in London that he meets Leslie Searle, a young American who turns out to be a well known celebrity photographer to the stars of Hollywood.
Leslie ends up getting an invite to Salcott St Mary where he charms most of the inhabitants and disconcerts some. As usual I don’t want to say too much about this mystery but the San Francisco Chronicle said: ‘Nobody can beat Miss Tey at characterisation or elegance of style: this novel’s a beauty.’
I think it’s better than The Franchise affair, which is usually thought of as being her most successful book.
Josephine Tey was of course a Scottish author so this one counts towards the Read Scotland 2014 challenge.