Murder Tey Way: Marilyn Levinson
Author Marilyn Levinson once again uses a great mystery writer as her model for Murder Tey Way. Josephine Tey was a great mystery writer whose primary trademark was focusing on the facial expressions of her suspects. The novel she spotlights at the start of the book is The Daughter of Time. Talking about this novel and the main character Alan Grant of Scotland Yard she hopes will spark a discussion among her characters that are members of the Golden Age of Mystery Book Club.
Dr. Lexie Driscoll is the moderator of this club and is back as our main character. Added in we now meet some colorful and odd additions to the club. Felicity and Corinne Roberts who are sisters and definitely quite strange. Felicity is fragile, sad and looks like if you blow on her she might wither away. Standing in the shadow of the sister, Corinne, she tries to speak her mind but cowers when Corinne reels her in.
There are many more new characters, which makes this novel quite colorful and filled with suspense. Enter Gayle, Lexie’s sister who is six years young than her. Into the wrong guys, has her hand in criminal activities she falls prey to the wiles of others and often makes wrong decisions. Not close to Lexie and having been out of touch for quite some time, it was odd that she phoned, said she was driving from Utah and would show up at her door in Long Island. The reunion was not exactly what you would expect between two sisters yet, Lexie took her in despite her odd behavior. Asking to go to sleep the minute she arrived, not really acknowledging that fact that the book club was in session, Gayle makes her exit and entrance. But, the next morning would prove quite telling as but not before the members of the club discuss the fact that many houses were burglarized, the police are stumped so far and the first murder is about to occur.
What would you do if you found a dead body in your backyard? What would you do if your sister recognized the body and told you not to call the police? What would you do if she explained her relationship with a man named Chet that was killed by a cop and she was afraid the cop was coming after her? Only Lexie can answer these questions and what she does will not only surprise readers but might be her in grave danger making her look like she is covering up something for her sister. So, why does she give her sister 500 dollars, lets her drive away and has no idea where she is going or what else she is into?
Calling Brian Donavan was now a must but relating the facts and the incident of how she found the body make him ponder whether she was telling the truth. Although they were close and might even get closer lying to him did not put her in his good graces. In Chapter 3 the author relates information that you will have to learn for yourself about her sister, her past and what type of a life she led explaining why Lexie and Gayle came from two different worlds. But, added in we meet FBI agent Joy, her husband Mike and the hilarious mix up and misunderstanding when a wife overhears a conversation and gets the wrong impression about what her husband might be doing. What she does and how she retaliates is quite funny. But, getting to know Corinne and Felicity will not endear you to either one of them, well maybe Felicity as we learn the name of the person killed: Len Lyons and his relationship to Felicity as she describes it. Throughout Chapter 4 the author reveals more about these characters, we hear the interviews first hand and learn more about Brian and Lexie’s relationship.
Meet Tim and Sadie who have become a couple and some think are living above their means. Sadie a guidance counselor and Tim who is the next victim who appears to have taken over where Len Lyons, the loan shark left off. As we learn more about Marge and Evan and the fact that they were trying to bring their granddaughter over from another country, we learn more about what Evan was into, what dealings he had become involved with and the fact that he was being squeezed by Tim for more money. But, it really heats up within the pages of Chapter 20 when the author begins to discuss with Lexie and the book club Miss Pym Disposes. Marge and Evan attend, Sadie, but what makes the meeting really interesting is that Lexie unknowingly invited Tim’s ex-wife, Viola and her boyfriend Ron. Then, someone shoots up Corinne and Felicity’s house, Felicity thinks it’s an old boyfriend of Corinne, Johnny Scarvino and the plot takes on another turn. Is Felicity delusional? What is Corinne’s reason for controlling her life and always saying she cannot think or do things for herself? What happens when Felicity speaks up?
Gayle up until this point is MIA but authorities from different places or states want to question her in the murder of Len Lyons and maybe even Tim. When, Lexie claims not to know where she is it puts a strain on her relationship with Brian. Added in are the cameo appearances of Alistair adding some more intrigue to the plot. But, the end result when Gayle is finally questioned and the evidence comes front and center will reveal a killer hiding in plain sight.
When the author brilliantly elaborates on Tim’s business dealings and we learn more about his illegal dealings as a lawyer, and realize that he even owed his ex-wife money you begin to not feel any sympathy for his death. Who did he borrow money from to pay back Viola? Why did Sadie defend him? As Lexie learns more about who might be involved, speaks to the police and even gets blamed when information did not come from her, we realize that Corinne is unstable, flies off the handle and often sets her sights for Lexie but not in a good way.
Just who committed all of the murders and why? What comes out will shock readers. What happens when Brian realizes what Lexie knows and what happens when Alistair reveals something from across the ocean? “Josephine Tey was a pseudonym used by Elizabeth Mackintosh (25 July 1896 – 13 February 1952) a Scottish author best known for her mystery novels. She also wrote as Gordon Daviot, under which name she wrote plays with an historical theme. In 1990, The Daughter of Time was selected by the British-based Crime Writers’ Association as the greatest mystery novel of all time; The Franchise Affair was 11th on the same list of 100 books.
The Franchise Affair also has a historical context: although set in the 1940s, it is based on the 18th-century case of Elizabeth Canning. The Daughter of Time was the last of Tey’s books published during her lifetime. A further crime novel, The Singing Sands, was found in her papers and published posthumously.
” Wikipedia . Focusing on the facial expressions of her characters author Marilyn Levinson incorporates the works of this outstanding author within her FIVE STAR NOVEL: MURDER the TEY WAY! To understand and decide how Tey would solve the murders that have to read the novel, get to know the author and decide just how someone’s actions, reactions and facial expressions just might give it all away.
Fran Lewis: Reviewer