A Shilling for Candles

A Shilling for Candles

3.1 10
by Josephine Tey

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It was a little after seven on a summer morning, and William Potticary
was taking his accustomed way over the short down grass of the cliff-top.
Beyond his elbow, two hundred feet below, lay the Channel, very still and
shining, like a milky opal. All around him hung the bright air, empty as
yet of larks. In all the sunlit world no sound except for the


It was a little after seven on a summer morning, and William Potticary
was taking his accustomed way over the short down grass of the cliff-top.
Beyond his elbow, two hundred feet below, lay the Channel, very still and
shining, like a milky opal. All around him hung the bright air, empty as
yet of larks. In all the sunlit world no sound except for the screaming
of some seagulls on the distant beach; no human activity except for the
small lonely figure of Potticary himself, square and dark and
uncompromising. A million dewdrops sparkling on the virgin grass
suggested a world new-come from its Creator's hand. Not to Potticary, of
course. What the dew suggested to Potticary was that the ground fog of
the early hours had not begun to disperse until well after sunrise. His
subconscious noted the fact and tucked it away, while his conscious mind
debated whether, having raised an appetite for breakfast, he should turn
at the Gap and go back to the Coastguard Station, or whether, in view of
the fineness of the morning, he should walk into Westover for the morning
paper, and so hear about the latest murder two hours earlier than he
would otherwise. Of course, what with wireless, the edge was off the
morning paper, as you might say. But it was an objective. War or peace, a
man had to have an objective. You couldn't go into Westover just to look
at the front. And going back to breakfast with the paper under your arm
made you feel fine, somehow. Yes, perhaps he would walk into the town.

The pace of his black, square-toed boots quickened slightly, their
shining surface winking in the sunlight. Proper service, these boots
were. One might have thought that Potticary, having spent his best years
in brushing his boots to order, would have asserted his individuality, or
expressed his personality, or otherwise shaken the dust of a meaningless
discipline off his feet by leaving the dust on his boots. But no,
Potticary, poor fool, brushed his boots for love of it. He probably had a
slave mentality, but had never read enough for it to worry him. As for
expressing one's personality, if you described the symptoms to him he
would, of course, recognize them. But not by name; In the Service they
call that "contrariness."

A seagull flashed suddenly above the cliff-top, and dropped screaming
from sight to join its wheeling comrades below. A dreadful row these
gulls were making. Potticary moved over to the cliff edge to see what
jetsam the tide, now beginning to ebb, had left for them to quarrel over.

The white line of the gently creaming surf was broken by a patch of
verdigris green. A bit of cloth. Baize, or something. Funny it should
stay so bright a color after being in the water so--

Potticary's blue eyes widened suddenly, his body becoming strangely
still. Then the square black boots began to run. _Thud, thud, thud,_
on the thick turf, like a heart beating. The Gap was two hundred yards
away, but Potticary's time would not have disgraced a track performer. He
clattered down the rough steps hewn in the chalk of the Gap, gasping;
indignation welling through his excitement. That was what came of going
into cold water before breakfast! Lunacy, so help him. Spoiling other
people's breakfasts, too. Schaefer's best, except where ribs broken. Not
likely to be ribs broken. Perhaps only a faint after all. Assure the
patient in a loud voice that he is safe. Her arms and legs were as brown
as the sand. That was why he had thought the green thing a piece of
cloth. Lunacy, so help him. Who wanted cold water in the dawn unless they
had to swim for it? He'd had to swim for it in his time. In that Red Sea
port. Taking in a landing party to help the Arabs. Though why anyone
wanted to help the lousy bastards--that was the time to swim. When you
had to. Orange juice and thin toast, too. No stamina. Lunacy, so help

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A Shilling for Candles (Inspector Alan Grant Series #2) 3.1 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 10 reviews.
Guest More than 1 year ago
I am writing this not so much to review Josephine Tey¿s A Shilling for Candles, this was her first novel and certainly not her best, but as an elegy or lament, if you will, that with turning the last page of this book, I have now read all the novels of this wonderful author. It began several years ago when my wife gave me The Singing Sands as a Christmas gift. I hadn¿t a clue about the book or its author, whose real name was Elizabeth Mackintosh. I read it during a cross country trip by air. This started a tradition. With each long trip across country I would buy a new Josephine Tey novel for the flight. The Singing Sands was followed by The Franchise Affair, The Daughter of Time, The Man in the Queue, To Love and Be Wise, Miss Pym Disposes, Brat Farrar and finally A Shilling for Candles. I am genuinely saddened at now having read all of her novels. A long and pleasing relationship has come to an end. There is nothing unread to look forward to. At the core of it is her writing. Civil, gentle, witty and wise. And so English. England and Scotland form the backdrop to all of her novels- all up in tweed, sherry, tea, trout fishing on the Clyde, and gentility. Certainly American readers may infer a stereotype of England as having no sharp edges and where most conversations are conducted with ironic good will, but that is the England of Josephine Tey. Especially as embodied in her protagonist Inspector Alan Grant. And so, get thee hence and find a novel by Miss Tey. You will enjoy it. And if you are lucky, savoring each one and always having one to look forward to.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I could not even open this... got a black screen or a word-scrambled screen. No resolution from B&N, so got rid of it.
goatdriver More than 1 year ago
In A Shilling for Candles, like all of her Inspector Grant novels, Tey combines the story-telling skills of police procedural greats such as P.D. James and Colin Dexter with the masterful use of the English language reminiscent of Dickens and Austen. This is a "you can't put it down" book.
ExiledNewYorker More than 1 year ago
The characters are a bit eccentric, but relative to the genre they are reasonably sketched and believable. Tey keeps you engaged with sympathetic and interesting characters and a moving, complex plot. The ending doesn't seem to be pulled from a hat like a magician's rabbit; even if you didn't guess- which I didn't- you look back and say, ahaa. Indeed, I'd mused about the ultimate killer and then dismissed my ideas. I'd certainly recommend it to mystery fans and for those seeking a quick beach read or bit of escapism.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
If you notice all tey s so far on nook have awful problems in format if you can get anything at all. Nook wont do anything but i have had my credit card remove charges e g charged and not received but must do in three months mom
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This nook edition unreadable. Not properly formatted or paginated. Very disappointed as I always loved the story. Find another publisher.
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nancydrewccod More than 1 year ago
I don't like there is a double space every two or three lines. Annoying to read in my Nook.