The new British Library Crime Classic book, the anthology “The Edinburgh Mystery and other tales of Scottish Crime”, edited by Martin Edwards, contains a short story by Josephine Tey. I was really pleased to help Martin source this story, and am delighted to see it in print again.
The short story is called “Madame Ville d’Aubier”, and this is the first time it has appeared in print, as far as we know, since it was first published in the English Review in 1930.
It’s one of my favourite of Tey’s early short stories, and contains some really good lines, as well as a real sense of menace around the crime.
I discuss Tey’s short stories in detail in my biography “Josephine Tey: A Life” (new 2021 edition available now). When I was researching, I knew that Tey had published several short pieces, but didn’t know exactly where. I searched through the British newspaper archives for references under all her pennames; a long process – particularly when I discovered her name had been spelt wrong in at least one instance.
Some of the newspaper archives I looked at were partially digitized, but I also spent time in the old Colindale newspaper archive building in London. I didn’t realise it at the time, but I must have been amongst the last people to research there before it closed and the collection was moved to Boston Spa: https://lukemckernan.com/2013/10/09/leaving-colindale/
I also found some Josephine Tey short stories from another source: her family. After I got in touch with Tey’s nephew (her closest living family member) he promised to bring some papers to our first in-person meeting. We met at the British Library in London – a very memorable day for me! – and he produced an envelope which contained, among other things, several typewritten short stories! These were brand-new Tey stories which I had never seen before – you can imagine how excited I was to read through them.
I eventually tracked down some of these stories in various publications. However, I still have some Josephine Tey / Gordon Daviot stories which I believe have never been published.
Perhaps one day all of Tey’s short stories, including the unpublished ones, can be collected and made available to readers. In the meantime, I urge you to seek out “The Edinburgh Mystery” – not only for the Tey story, but also for the other interesting stories in this great collection. I have been reading and enjoying the British Library Crime Classics series since it began and I’m really pleased to have contributed in a small way, and to see my own name in one of their books!
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