Ok, so the romance sub-plot got a little worse ending up in a love triangle tetrahedron before it was kind of resolved, or at least left aside (for a later book no doubt).
And we are still trying to catch out the killer.
There have been various references to Tey's work and her contemporaries that have been delightful, even tho they just cannot make up for the ridiculous romance sub-plot, and this is one that really made me smile as it refers to both a favourite Christie and makes me want to re-read A Shilling for Candles, which to date is my favourite Tey mystery:
She disappeared into the crowd and Josephine fought her way reluctantly across the room to smile for Tatler.
‘Nice to see you back in London, Miss Tey,’ called one of the reporters. ‘You’ve got a new Inspector Grant book out soon, we hear.’
‘Yes – early next year. It’s called A Shilling for Candles.’
‘Let’s hope it raises a bit more than a shilling, eh? You’re donating the proceeds to charity, aren’t you?’
‘That’s right, to a cancer hospital.’
‘And is there a personal reason for that?’
He must have seen the look on her face, because he added quickly: ‘I’m not trying to pry, but it’ll make a nice little story to go alongside the Cowdray Club piece. It all helps to get the public on side, doesn’t it?’
It was a cheap trick, but Josephine felt obliged to answer, as he had known she would. Remembering why she hated the press, and why she never gave interviews, she said:
‘My mother died of breast cancer twelve years ago.’
‘That must have been a sad time for you.’
She didn’t even dignify that with a response: in truth, her mother’s death had devastated her, but she wasn’t about to share that with the world, not even in the name of charity. Smiling politely, she tried to excuse herself, but the reporter hadn’t finished.
‘A lot of people say that one of the characters in Mrs Christie’s new book is based on you,’ he said with a sly grin. ‘Muriel Wills – the woman who writes plays as Anthony Astor. Is there any truth in that, do you think?’
‘I wouldn’t know. I don’t often read Mrs Christie.’
It was the best snub she could think of at short notice; she had, in fact, bought the book as soon as she heard the rumour, and had been furious to discover a ghastly creation who simpered and giggled and cluttered her home with nick-nacks; the fact that the playwright was observant and deadly with a pen did nothing to soften her anger.
‘No harm in a bit of friendly rivalry, though, is there?’ the reporter continued.
‘I just wondered if we might find a little cameo in your new book for Mrs Christie?’
Josephine was distracted by a commotion at the door.
‘A cameo for Mrs Christie? I couldn’t possibly say. If you look carefully, though, you’ll find a tramp with a very similar sense of humour. Now, if you’ll excuse me, there are some people I have to talk to.’