Nicola Upton includes real people as characters and places in her books. The author, Josephine Tey, regularly is a key character while in this novel the memory of M R James, Provost of Kings College, Cambridge, in 1913, and writer of ghost stories, also features.
In November 1937, Detective Chief Inspector Archie Penrose, from Scotland Yard, found himself in Cambridge investigating the deaths of members of the Kings College Choir who had performed in the 1913 Lessons and Carols Service.What is the connection between the men who are brutally killed and is there a link with the stories told by M R James? At the same time police in Cambridge investigate a series of rapes occurring in the city.
Although the investigation and resolution of the crimes plays a major part of the novel, the author is also concerned with the impact of crime on the victims and the families of victims. The author also uses the Armistice Day commemoration to illustrate the divisions within the community regarding war. For some, fears grow that there is about to be another war, while for many, issues from World War I have not been fully resolved. The relationships between Josephine, Marta, Archie and Bridget continue to feature throughout the novel.
Like the other books in this series, Nine Lessons is a thought provoking, well written crime novel that is difficult to put down once you start reading it.
The University of Adelaide has made available free digital copies of books by Josephine Tey as well as ghost stories of M R James.