Review of The Daughter of Time by Josephine Tey – 4 Stars.

The Daughter of Time (Inspector Alan Grant, #5)The Daughter of Time by Josephine Tey

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

This book is pretty much as the back cover describes. Inspector Alan Grant finds himself cooped up after suffering from a broken leg. When his friend Marta brings him a jumble of historical mysteries the portrait of Richard III immediately intrigues him. Soon the inspector is pulling every historical source he can find to determine the truth, did Richard the third truly murder the princes in the tower.

When I started this book it took me a really long time to adapt to the slow and methodical writing approach. It is deliberately done this way so that the reader gets caught up in Alan Grant’s viewpoint of ‘don’t believe everything written in the history books’, take things one step at a time. The author also has a good way of drip feeding bits of British History without it becoming a cumbersome read. However, as this novel was first published in the 1950s the writing is a little old-fashioned and takes a bit of time to get used to, for example;

 

“If anyone, looking into a crystal ball at that party, had told Cecily Nevill that in for years not only the York line but the whole Plantagenet dynasty would have gone forever, she would have held it either madness or treason.”

I did enjoy the story of this book but found the character Inspector Alan Grant to be a bit bland. However, I do confess when reading this I had no idea it was a series and had assumed it was a standalone (it was pleasantly readable as a standalone), so I do wonder if perhaps I had read the others in the series first I would have enjoyed this character more.

I really loved the concept of the book; trying to solve an old murder mystery from centuries before with just the materials you can lay your hands on at the time. I must say considering the novel is nearly seventy years old it has aged brilliantly and is still very readable. It is a quirky novel, well researched and an intriguing addition to the Richard III and the murder of the princes’ debate.

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Know Your History – 25th July – Josephine Tey

know your history - writingOn this day… 25th July, 1896 – Josephine Tey born.

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. On her death, she bequeathed her considerable fortune to the National Trust.

About Writing

Tey’s novel “An Expert in Murder” is a blend of fact and fiction, set in London in 1934 – just as the first major success of MacKintosh’s professional life was drawing to a close. Richard of Bordeaux, the play Josephine Teywhich – as Daviot – she wrote for John Gielgud after seeing him at the Old Vic, was the toast of the West End for over a year. It ran for 463 performances at the New Theatre – now the Noel Coward Theatre – in St Martin’s Lane, took more than £100,000 at the box office, and acquired the popularity of a blockbuster movie: people went 30 or 40 times to see it; commemorative portrait dolls were produced; and it transformed Gielgud from a brilliant young actor into a commercial star overnight. – source.

Did You Know?..

Tey is mentioned in the Stephen King novella, Apt Pupil (1982).

Know Your History – 13th February – an Englishman, a Scotswoman & a Welshwoman…

know your history - writingOn this day…

13th February, an Englishman, a Scotswoman & a Welshwoman…

No it’s not the start of a bad joke but rather todays post features three intriguing historical writers.

flags1. 13th February 1891 Kate Roberts born.

Kate Roberts was one of the foremost Welsh-language authors of the twentieth century. Known as Brenhines ein llên (“The queen of our literature”), she is known mainly for her short stories, but she also wrote novels. Roberts was also a prominent Welsh nationalist.
It was the death of her brother in the First World War that led Roberts to writing. She used her literary work as a means of coming to terms with her loss.

Her first volume of short stories appeared in 1925 O gors y bryniau (“From the swamp of the hills”) but perhaps her most successful book of short stories is Te yn y grug (“Tea in the heather”) (1959), a series of stories about children. As well as short stories Roberts also wrote novels, perhaps her most famous being Traed mewn cyffion (“Feet in chains”) (1936) which reflected the hard life of a slate quarrying family. In 1960 she published Y lôn wen, a volume of autobiography.

2. 13th February 2009 Edward Upward dies at age 105

Edward Falaise Upward (9 September 1903 – 13 February 2009) was a British novelist and short story writer who is believed to have been the UK’s oldest living author. Upward’s first novel, Journey to the Border, was published by the Hogarth Press in 1938. It describes in poetic prose the rebellion of a private tutor against his employer and the menacing world of the 1930s, moving from a nightmarish state to one where he recognises that he must join the workers’ movement.

A semi-autobiographical trilogy, The Spiral Ascent, was published in the 1960s and 1970s after Upward had retired from teaching and moved to Sandown on the Isle of Wight. The trilogy deals with a poet’s struggle to combine artistic creativity with political commitment, including in its historical sweep the fight against the British Union of Fascists in the 1930s, opposition to the leadership of the Communist Party in the 1940s and later involvement in the Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament.

 3. 13th February 1952 Josephine Tey dies

Josephine Tey was a pseudonym used by Elizabeth Mackintosh, 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 five of the mystery novels, all of which except the first she wrote under the name of Tey, the hero is Scotland Yard Inspector Alan Grant. (Grant appears in a sixth, The Franchise Affair, as a minor character.) The most famous of these is The Daughter of Time, in which Grant, laid up in hospital, has friends research reference books and contemporary documents so that he can puzzle out the mystery of whether King Richard III of England murdered his nephews, the Princes in the Tower. Grant comes to the firm conclusion that King Richard was totally innocent of the death of the Princes.

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.

Interesting Fact – Tey is mentioned in the Stephen King novella, Apt Pupil (1982).

Sources – http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Josephine_Tey , http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kate_Roberts_(author) & http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Edward_Upward