Bestselling author Lucy Pym is initially thrilled to be invited to lecture at Leys Physical Training College. The girls are eager to learn about psychology, her pet subject, and she finds herself inspired by their discipline, humour and determination. However, a tragic accident in the gymnasium reveals a darker side to the school, and unexpectedly Miss Pym finds she must draw on her psychological expertise to trace who, of all these wholesome girls, has violence on the mind.
How could one believe that someone one had laughed and talked with, liked and admired, shared a communal life with, be responsible for another’s death?
Bound in blocked buckram
Set in Dante with Station No. 5 display
Frontispiece and 6 colour illustrations
9˝ x 5¾˝
The mistress of unconventional crime
Tey herself attended a physical education college as a girl and even taught in them as an adult, and this intimacy with the subject shines throughout the book. The girls and the teachers are all distinctive, even familiar, characters, and Tey writes about them with warmth and a keen observational eye. It was whilst teaching in such a college that Tey herself was struck by a piece of falling gymnasium equipment, providing the seed that would inspire this tale of twists and obsessive friendship. Unusually for a Golden Age crime novel, rather than a detective or even an enthusiastic amateur sleuth, it features a simple bystander thrown into the drama. This only adds to the charm of the mystery – the reader is on an equal footing with Miss Pym, and is invited to solve the crime alongside her.
‘The most interesting of the great female writers of the Golden Age’
Mark Smith, who provided the illustrations for The Singing Sands, A Shilling for Candles and our new edition of The Daughter of Time, returns to bring the world of Leys to life. As well as brilliantly conveying a sense of time and place, Smith cleverly uses unusual angles, ominous shadows and body language to bring a hint of menace to these apparently innocent scenes.
About Josephine Tey
Josephine Tey was the pen-name of Elizabeth MacKintosh, playwright and author of some of the finest detective novels from the Golden Age of crime fiction. She was born in Inverness in 1896, and taught physical education for a number of years before the success of her first book, The Man in the Queue, in 1929. The book introduced her detective protagonist Inspector Grant of Scotland Yard, who would appear in a further five novels: A Shilling for Candles (1936), The Franchise Affair (1948), To Love and Be Wise (1950), The Daughter of Time (1951) and The Singing Sands (1952). Her standalone mysteries include Miss Pym Disposes (1946) and Brat Farrar (1949). Tey also wrote for the theatre, under the pseudonym Gordon Daviot, and had a notable success with Richard of Bordeaux in 1932, starring John Gielgud in the title role. She died in 1952, leaving her entire estate to the National Trust.
About Mark Smith
Mark Smith’s work has been recognised by all the major industry award panels, including Communication Arts, SPD, the V&A Illustration Awards and the UK Association of Illustrators. He has also achieved repeated recognition for his work on the Folio Society series of Josephine Tey novels from 3x3 magazine, New York Society of Illustrators, Los Angeles Society of Illustrators, and the American Illustration annual. As well as books, Smith’s work has appeared in numerous publications, including the New Yorker, the New York Times, the Guardian, the Financial Times and GQ among others.
One of Tey’s finest novels, this suspenseful story centres on the mysterious death of a young man on a train, and the cryptic poem that gradually reveals the greed and envy behind his demise. Award-winning artist Mark Smith illustrates.