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TO LOVE AND BE WISE by Josephine Tey

(Penguin £9.99, 272 pp) ONe of the finest writers of the Golden Age, Josephine Tey is back with us in a fine batch of Penguin reissues.

In To Love And Be Wise, a genteel family is thrown into disarray by the appearance in their midst of a handsome, young society photograph­er.

his impact on the women in the household and on a close-knit community of tender egos brings resentment and jealousy.

The sense of impending crisis becomes all too tangible when, on an expedition to record the local beauty spots, the cause of all the trouble goes missing.

It is left to Inspector Alan Grant to determine if the sinister implicatio­ns are to be taken seriously.

The joy of the novel is in the vivid characteri­sation, with Grant testing his skill

and patience on an assembly of wildly contrastin­g personalit­ies. his solving of the mystery is the icing on a delicious cake.

DEATH OF MR DODSLEY by John Ferguson

(British Library

£9.99, 256 pp)

PRePARe for a leisurely read. John Ferguson is in no hurry to pull back the veil on the murder of a wealthy dealer in rare books. But this is not to say that the mystery lacks interest. Refraining from what the author calls ‘cheap thrills’, he succeeds in weaving a plot that has all the marks of an insoluble crime.

That is until private detective Francis MacNab takes a hand in demonstrat­ing to the police the flaws in their reasoning.

On the way to a satisfying solution, we meet an assortment of prospectiv­e killers, led by those who stand to benefit from the inheritanc­e. Then there is an ambitious politician who has much to hide in his rise to the top. What reason has he to fear the revelation­s that might come with the murder inquiry? Ferguson will keep you guessing.

THE WHITE LADY by Jacqueline Winspear (Allison & Busby £19.99, 384 pp)

BRANChING out from her popular Maisie Dobbs series, Jacqueline Winspear has struck gold with another indomitabl­e heroine of wartime Britain.

When we first meet elinor White she is living in rural seclusion in Kent, coping with traumatic memories of a hit-and-run life behind enemy lines.

But the threat of violence is never far away. By helping a young couple trying to break free from a family mired in crime, elinor, ‘the White Lady’, is thrown back into a life of subterfuge and brutality.

Calling on the support of a former comrade, now a senior police officer, she finds that, in peace as in war, trust is never absolute. It takes all her skills as an undercover agent to defeat enemies close to home, while at the same time coming to terms with the demons in her own life.

Though said to be a stand-alone novel, The White Lady must surely warrant a sequel.

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