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The Daughter of Time (Inspector Alan Grant Series #5)

Average Rating 4
( 33 )
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5 Star

(14)

4 Star

(11)

3 Star

(4)

2 Star

(2)

1 Star

(2)

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Most Helpful Favorable Review

5 out of 5 people found this review helpful.

The Mystery Writers of America rank this book as the 4th greates

The Mystery Writers of America rank this book as the 4th greatest mystery of all time. After you read it, you’ll wonder why it isn’t number one.

Alan Grant is a police detective convalescing in the hospital and bored out of his mind. In an attempt to distract Grant, ...
The Mystery Writers of America rank this book as the 4th greatest mystery of all time. After you read it, you’ll wonder why it isn’t number one.

Alan Grant is a police detective convalescing in the hospital and bored out of his mind. In an attempt to distract Grant, his theatrical friend brings him a group of historical portraits and they play a little game to see what the police detective can figure out about the character of these people by looking at their faces. Do they belong in the dock as an accused villain on trial or on the bench as a judge? Grant is shocked when he places the notorious English King Richard III on the bench and his categorization causes him to try and learn more about the English King whom history tells us murdered his two nephews to secure his hold on the throne.

Yet the historical accounts immediately begin to frustrate Grant. They are filled with propaganda and hearsay evidence. Modern historians riddle their accounts of the reign with contradictory assessments of Richard’s character and often ignore the implications of his documentable actions. Grant, with his policeman’s eye, begins to cut through the forests of hearsay and to compile the actual evidence of the crime. He looks at motives and who benefits from the acts. And he eventually, reluctantly, comes to the conclusion that the two princes survived Richard’s short reign meaning that someone else murdered them. He even goes so far as to convincingly identify a more probable murderer—the man who killed off the rest of the York claimants to the English throne—Henry Tudor.

This is a brilliant book and a wonderful detective story that teaches an important lesson in the power of public perception. I regret that I can only give this novel five stars.

posted by Gilbert_M_Stack on June 18, 2013

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Most Helpful Critical Review

1 out of 4 people found this review helpful.

A reviewer

This book is extremely hard to understand. The plot is not clear to understand and the author assumes that you have a lot of previous knowledge.

posted by Anonymous on July 8, 2007

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  • Posted June 18, 2013

    The Mystery Writers of America rank this book as the 4th greates

    The Mystery Writers of America rank this book as the 4th greatest mystery of all time. After you read it, you’ll wonder why it isn’t number one.

    Alan Grant is a police detective convalescing in the hospital and bored out of his mind. In an attempt to distract Grant, his theatrical friend brings him a group of historical portraits and they play a little game to see what the police detective can figure out about the character of these people by looking at their faces. Do they belong in the dock as an accused villain on trial or on the bench as a judge? Grant is shocked when he places the notorious English King Richard III on the bench and his categorization causes him to try and learn more about the English King whom history tells us murdered his two nephews to secure his hold on the throne.

    Yet the historical accounts immediately begin to frustrate Grant. They are filled with propaganda and hearsay evidence. Modern historians riddle their accounts of the reign with contradictory assessments of Richard’s character and often ignore the implications of his documentable actions. Grant, with his policeman’s eye, begins to cut through the forests of hearsay and to compile the actual evidence of the crime. He looks at motives and who benefits from the acts. And he eventually, reluctantly, comes to the conclusion that the two princes survived Richard’s short reign meaning that someone else murdered them. He even goes so far as to convincingly identify a more probable murderer—the man who killed off the rest of the York claimants to the English throne—Henry Tudor.

    This is a brilliant book and a wonderful detective story that teaches an important lesson in the power of public perception. I regret that I can only give this novel five stars.

    5 out of 5 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted June 3, 2011

    more from this reviewer

    Erudite, down-to-earth, and a really intriguing mystery

    "Truth is the daughter of time, not of authority," said Sir Francis Bacon. In Josephine Tey's 1950s novel, The Daughter of Time, truth is that which Scotland Yard inspector, Alan Grant, has often searched after and found in the faces of criminals. Now he's laid up in hospital with an injury, and thoroughly bored. Friends try to cheer him with images of famous criminals, but it's the face of King Richard III that intrigues him, a man who looks more like he belongs on the bench than in the dock. Did Richard really kill the princes in the tower, as English history books have said, or has time made a mockery of truth?

    Our book group chose this novel to fit the classic and mystery genres, both of which it does well. I was surprised how easily it read and how quickly it absorbed my interest; the dialog is delightfully real, well-accented, diverse and amusing; the characters are fun; the tone is an intriguing mixture of erudite and down-to-earth; and the history lessons are spot-on. By the end of the book I'm thinking I might learn to treat history with the same sort of doubt as newspaper accounts, and perhaps that's no bad thing.

    Add to this the fact that I've seen that picture of King Richard III and thought, as does the inspector, that he appears quite a pleasing character, and you'll know why this book was so hard to put down. I enjoyed the author's scorn for "boring" history, her delight in seeking contemporary corroboration, and her amusing comments on books in general. But most of all I enjoyed a really good read, with a really neat, absorbing mystery at its core.



    Disclosure: I bought this to read with the book group then missed the meeting. I do hope the other members enjoyed the story as much as I did.

    3 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted November 28, 2012

    My favorite mystery book

    My favorite mystery book

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted February 12, 2008

    A reviewer

    Ground-breaking in its day, and still a fun read.

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted May 25, 2013

    Intriguing - recommended.

    The story starts well, and Josephine Tey's use of language is a joy to read. The premise is also fun and intriguing - how much can we tell from a face? And if we trust that perception, where will it take us? The middle gets a bit bogged down in historical detail. But overall, a very good read.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted December 4, 2011

    AP World History Review

    I highly recommend The Daughter of Time by Josephine Tey. She delivers a great story that unravels her plot through an inspector stuck in the hospital. She sets up the book with a "media ray" beginning, which was very neat. Josephine also, produces a book that was a surprisingly descriptive book, which kept me, as a reader, on the edge. The book builds up in tension as Grant highers a scholar to help aid him. I believe the Tey completed her purpose very thoroughly, since her story was kept at the edge of the seat and accomplished her educational accessory. The impression of Grant is very unique. In the beginning, Inspector Grant, the main character, is in the hospital with a broken-leg. He discovers a picture of Richard the Third but is intrigued by the way the photo is shown. He then researches and looks into Richard's past unraveling the murderer of his nephews. The story was a great read that has a very good perspective from Josephine Tey in writing Inspector Grant.

    1 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted December 4, 2011

    My Impression of The Book

    My personal impression of this book was relatively positive; I thought it was well-written with a clever plot and idea. I recommend this book, for it was fairly easy to understand as a history novel, and definitely a short read. I have only read this one book by Josephine Tey, so I was unfamiliar with the characters from the Alan Grant series, but within the first chapter I was able to depict the characters and their relationship. Considering the fact that this book was a history novel, I thought that it had a satisfying amount of action, also remembering that the main character of the book is bed-ridden. The historical information and references are also very useful, especially to one who has not studied the English government during this time period very much in depth. But this also could present a problem; it was sometimes difficult to keep names straight despite the family tree in the beginning of the book. For this reason, the book was slightly more difficult. Overall, it was an informative and interesting read.
    The author fully completes her purpose of this book: to factually inform readers of the Princes in the Tower with an interesting and dynamic plot. She was able to get her point across through a fiction novel where the main character is bed-ridden, yet researches the subject of the two Princes. By having the main character learn new information, readers were able to also absorb this and learn. Josephine Tey is able to inform and entertain simultaneously.

    1 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted May 14, 2010

    Oldie But Goodie

    I am a mystery fan, but I do not like violence, so this was right up my alley! I like to read some of the older writers to get a glimpse into the past and what was mysterious to them in their day. Refreshing to read a good mystery that doesn't make me want to lock my doors and windows at night!

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted July 8, 2007

    A reviewer

    This book is extremely hard to understand. The plot is not clear to understand and the author assumes that you have a lot of previous knowledge.

    1 out of 4 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted July 28, 2001

    Derek Jacobi gives a superb reading of Tey novel

    One of the finest mystery novels ever concocted is Josephine Tey's 'The Daughter of Time.' Inspector Grant is injured from a previous case and is in a hospital bed when a friend brings him some pictures of people from history and one is particularly striking in a positive way. But the reverse side identifies the face as that of Richard III, the greatest villain in English history. Grant, whose professional success depends on knowing a person by his face, cannot believe he could have been so mistaken and recruits his nurses, friends, fellow policemen, and even a young American researcher to bring him all they can about the Great Mystery of 'who murdered the princes in the tower.' Little by little, the case against Richard falls to pieces; while the evidence begins to point in the most surprising direction. The wonderful thing about this novel is how it shows that so much of what we consider 'history' is merely a pack of lies devised by the winning teams to blacken the opposition and whitewash themselves. The incident at 'Tonypandy,' for example, is made much of in this novel. You will not believe how easily the 'official version' of that incident was accepted, even by people who were there. For a thorough enjoyment of this novel, you really need to be fairly familiar with Shakespeare's 'Richard III.' Now bear in mind that the playwright got his information from 'Holinshed's Chronicles,' which got its information from authors paid by the king who had defeated Richard III in battle, who got most of their information from one of Richard's deadliest enemies. One might as well accept 'Mein Kampf' as an objective look at Germany during the years between World Wars. Reading this book, in fact, will change your entire attitude toward anything you read in any book or periodical that claims to present 'the facts.' I will not ruin your enjoyment of this book by pointing out how Grant weighs the evidence that been accepted for so long as 'true' and comes to the conclusions he does. Now the really Good News is that we have a wonderful recording of this complete text on a set of four Audio Partners tapes. Better yet, let me tell you it is read by Derek Jacobi--or better still, acted out by Derek Jacobi, because he finds a new voice for each character, the American being the best of the lot. Richard III might be a great villain on stage, but I firmly believe that the historical Richard deserves to have his case for the defense heard as often as possible. If for no other reason than to remind us of how many collections of 'historical facts' might be little more than an imaginative treatment to bolster one's cause or downgrade another's. History, which is the Daughter of Time by the way, is written by the winners. It takes a good author like Tey to plead the case for the loser.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted November 15, 2013

    Not highly recommended

    This was a very hard book to get into. I would not recommend it to anyone.

    0 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted August 2, 2013

    Not recommended!

    This book is very hard to follow if you do not have good knowledge of the time of Richard III. Poorly written.

    0 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 5, 2012

    Interesting

    This book was interesting in a historical way, but I was disappointed in general. It was a short book but did not read quickly if you know wat I mean. I have read 400+ page books quicker.

    0 out of 4 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted May 8, 2010

    Pre performance of Richard III

    It was suggested that I read this prior to seeing John Douglas Thompson in Richard III at Shakespeare and Company this summer. Since I am unfamiliar with the histories and often find them ponderous in performance the book was helpful tho' trying to keep track of all the Elizabeths, Edwards and Henry's was often a bit difficult.

    Helpful ,however,was the comment about Sir Thomas More's biography. "More had never known Richard III at all....That book was the Bible of the whole historical world on the subject of Richard III-it was from that account ...that Shakespeare had written his {account}."

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  • Anonymous

    Posted December 9, 2009

    AP World History Review: This book was an excellent vacation read.

    The novel, "The Daughter of Time" by Josephine Tey, really brought me in. With the mystery of who murdered whom it really sparked a fire in my mind, making me continue on reading this fantastic book. I had absolutely no intention of putting it down. I recommend this book to readers out there who are looking for a dramatic jaw opener, wanting to top a previous literature work that they thought was just as amazing, also. I really do think that this book will exceed the prior one. This book was fascinating to read, and a good suspense novel to observe.
    This book starts out slow, with the inspector fixated on his hospital room, to him trying to solve the case the nurse introduced to him. Then, as it carries on, it brings him running into complications with the case, and the real murderer. Later, it explains him finding the outcome of the actual murder. The author did an amazing job with the setting and plot of the book, keeping me interested with every word and every event that was happening. You will not know what is coming next; this book is somewhat unpredictable. It is totally worth reading, however.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted August 9, 2009

    A different kind of mystery

    Tey is a mystery writer but this book is not your typical mystery. It's much more of an analytical mystery story than the usual murder mystery. Still, I found it very entertaining and easy to read. Highly recommended.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 18, 2008

    I Loved It!!

    Yes, if you don't know a thing about English history, you're going to have a hard time with this, but it is fantastic, and Jacobi's reading is perfect. Really, it's solving a very 'cold case,' a famous historical murder that changed the course of European history.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted May 6, 2007

    This is not what you'd expect.

    I had to read this book for school, and was hoping for a great mystery story, and was disappointed when I started reading it. It started out pretty well when Grant was in the in hospital, but it pretty much went downhill from there. If you dont like history, I would not suggest this book.

    0 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted March 5, 2001

    Engaging, Subtle, Literary

    'The Daughter of Time' is a wonderful book but not without its difficulties. A detective with a broken leg is forced to spend weeks in traction in the hospital and to pass the time decides to solve an historical question: Did King Richard III really kill his two young nephews, as is the common assumption? Traditional histories are motivated by politics and emotion and tend to flatter or condemn, and then those errors are perpetuated down through the centuries. Everything the detective reads--from a children's schoolbook to Sir Thomas More--portrays Richard III as a vicious hunchback and poor administrator who had his nephews slaughtered for no good reason, but contemporaneous accounts reveal that none of that is likely to be true. So Tey's detective alter ego chucks the 'great man' approach to history in favor of what could be called social history, using things like diary entries, military dispatches, midwives' notes and the like to ascertain where people were situated and how they lived. The combination of bedside sleuthing (literally) and the deductive power of a skilled police detective makes for a fascinating read. The drawback for Americans in reading 'The Daughter of Time' is that we're expected to bring some working knowledge of the 15th Century Wars of the Roses (the Yorks and the Lancasters) to our understanding of British history, and a good working knowledge of royal succession is a help, too (although the book does furnish a helpful geneological table). When this book was discussed at a readers' circle in the Midwest, several people disliked it simply because they disliked British royalty--the Midwest being the most Anglophobic region of the United States. But that's their problem, not yours.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted May 13, 2013

    No text was provided for this review.

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