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

( 33 )

Overview

Voted greatest mystery novel of all time by the Crime Writers’ Association in 1990, Josephine Tey recreates one of history’s most famous—and vicious—crimes in her classic bestselling novel, a must read for connoisseurs of fiction, now with a new introduction by Robert Barnard.

Inspector Alan Grant of Scotland Yard, recuperating from a broken leg, becomes fascinated with a contemporary portrait of Richard III that bears no resemblance to the Wicked Uncle of history. Could such a ...

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Overview

Voted greatest mystery novel of all time by the Crime Writers’ Association in 1990, Josephine Tey recreates one of history’s most famous—and vicious—crimes in her classic bestselling novel, a must read for connoisseurs of fiction, now with a new introduction by Robert Barnard.

Inspector Alan Grant of Scotland Yard, recuperating from a broken leg, becomes fascinated with a contemporary portrait of Richard III that bears no resemblance to the Wicked Uncle of history. Could such a sensitive, noble face actually belong to one of the world’s most heinous villains—a venomous hunchback who may have killed his brother’s children to make his crown secure? Or could Richard have been the victim, turned into a monster by the usurpers of England’s throne? Grant determines to find out once and for all, with the help of the British Museum and an American scholar, what kind of man Richard Plantagenet really was and who killed the Little Princes in the Tower.

The Daughter of Time is an ingeniously plotted, beautifully written, and suspenseful tale, a supreme achievement from one of mystery writing’s most gifted masters.

In one of Tey's bestselling mystery novels ever, Scotland Yard Inspector Alan Grant is intrigued by a portrait of Richard III. Could such a sensitive face actually belong to one of history's most heinous villains--a king who killed his brother's children to secure his crown? Grant determines to find out once and for all what kind of man Richard was and who in fact killed the princes in the tower.

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
The New York Times One of the best mysteries of all time.

Boston Sunday Globe The unalloyed pleasure of watching a really cultivated mind in action! Buy and cherish!

New York Times
One of the best mysteries of all time.
Boston Sunday Globe
The unalloyed pleasure of watching a really cultivated mind in action! Buy and cherish!
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780684803869
  • Publisher: Touchstone
  • Publication date: 11/28/1995
  • Series: Inspector Alan Grant Series , #5
  • Edition number: 1
  • Pages: 208
  • Sales rank: 67,688
  • Lexile: 820L (what's this?)
  • Product dimensions: 5.38 (w) x 10.74 (h) x 0.46 (d)

Meet the Author

Elizabeth MacKintosh used two pen names during her writing career: Josephine Tey, who was also her Suffolk great-great-grandmother, and Gordon Daviot. She was born in 1897 in Inverness, Scotland, where she attended the Royal Academy. Miss MacKintosh later trained for three years at the Anstey Physical Training College in Birmingham, then began her teaching career as a physical training instructor. She gave up teaching to keep house for her father, who lived near Loch Ness, and pursue her writing. Her first book was The Man in the Queue (1929), published under the Gordon Daviot pseudonym, and it introduced the character of Inspector Grant, familiar now from the Tey novels. The author wrote chiefly under the signature of Gordon Daviot from 1929 to 1946, during which time her works included the play Richard of Bordeaux (1933), which ran for a year with John Gielgud in the lead part. The first of the Josephine Tey mysteries, A Shilling for Candies, was published in 1936 and was eventually followed by Miss Pym Disposes in 1947. Also included among the Tey mysteries are The Franchise Affair (1949), Brat Farrar (1949), To Love and Be Wise (1950), The Daughter of Time (1951), and The Singing Sands (1952). Elizabeth MacKintosh died in London on February 13, 1952.

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Read an Excerpt

Chapter 1

Grant lay on his high white cot and stared at the ceiling. Stared at it with loathing. He knew by heart every last minute crack on its nice clean surface. He had made maps of the ceiling and gone exploring on them; rivers, islands, and continents. He had made guessing games of it and discovered hidden objects; faces, birds, and fishes. He had made mathematical calculations of it and rediscovered his childhood; theorems, angles, and triangles. There was practically nothing else he could do but look at it. He hated the sight of it.

He had suggested to The Midget that she might turn his bed around a little so that he could have a new patch of ceiling to explore. But it seemed that that would spoil the symmetry of the room, and in hospitals symmetry ranked just a short head behind cleanliness and a whole length in front of Godliness. Anything out of the parallel was hospital profanity. Why didn't he read? she asked. Why didn't he go on reading some of those expensive brand-new novels that his friends kept on bringing him?

"There are far too many people born into the world, and far too many words written. Millions and millions of them pouring from the presses every minute. It's a horrible thought."

"You sound constipated," said The Midget.

The Midget was Nurse Ingham, and she was in sober fact a very nice five-feet-two, with everything in just proportion. Grant called her The Midget to compensate himself for being bossed around by a piece of Dresden china which he could pick up in one hand. When he was on his feet, this is to say. It was not only that she told him what he might or might not do, but she dealt with his six-feet-odd with an off-hand ease that Grant found humiliating. Weights meant nothing, apparently, to The Midget. She tossed mattresses around with the absent-minded grace of a plate spinner. When she was off duty he was attended to by The Amazon, a goddess with arms like the limb of a beech tree. The Amazon was Nurse Darroll, who came from Gloucestershire and was homesick each daffodil season. (The Midget came from Lytham St. Anne's, and there was no daffodil nonsense about her.) She had large soft hands and large soft cow's eyes and she always looked very sorry for you, but the slightest physical exertion set her breathing like a suction-pump. On the whole Grant found it even more humiliating to be treated as a dead weight than to be treated as if he were no weight at all.

Grant was bed-borne, and a charge on The Midget and The Amazon, because he had fallen through a trap-door. This, of course, was the absolute in humiliation; compared with which the heavings of The Amazon and the light slingings of The Midget were a mere corollary. To fall through a trap-door was the ultimate in absurdity; pantomimic, bathetic, grotesque. At the moment of his disappearance from the normal level of perambulation he had been in hot pursuit of Benny Skoll, and the fact that Benny had careened round the next corner slap into the arms of Sergeant Williams provided the one small crumb of comfort in an intolerable situation.

Benny was now "away" for three years, which was very satisfactory for the lieges, but Benny would get time off for good behaviour. In hospitals there was no time off for good behaviour.

Grant stopped staring at the ceiling, and slid his eyes sideways at the pile of books on his bedside table; the gay expensive pile that The Midget had been urging on his attention. The top one, with the pretty picture of Valetta in unlikely pink, was Lavinia Fitch's annual account of a blameless heroine's tribulations. In view of the representation of the Grand Harbour on the cover, the present Valerie or Angela or Cecile or Denise must be a naval wife. He had opened the book only to read the kind message that Lavinia had written inside.

The Sweat and the Furrow was Silas Weekley being earthly and spade-conscious all over seven hundred pages. The situation, to judge from the first paragraph, had not materially changed since Silas's last book: mother lying-in with her eleventh upstairs, father laid-out after his ninth downstairs, eldest son lying to the Government in the cow-shed, eldest daughter lying with her lover in the hayloft, everyone else lying low in the barn. The rain dripped from the thatch, and the manure steamed in the midden. Silas never omitted the manure. It was not Silas's fault that its steam provided the only uprising element in the picture. If Silas could have discovered a brand of steam that steamed downwards, Silas would have introduced it.

Under the harsh shadows and highlights of Silas's jacket was an elegant affair of Edwardian curlicues and Baroque nonsense, entitled Bells on Her Toes. Which was Rupert Rouge being arch about vice. Rupert Rouge always seduced you into laughter for the first three pages. About Page Three you noticed that Rupert had learned from that very arch (but of course not vicious) creature George Bernard Shaw that the easiest way to sound witty was to use that cheap and convenient method, the paradox. After that you could see the jokes coming three sentences away.

The thing with a red gun-flash across a night-green cover was Oscar Oakley's latest. Toughs talking out of the corners of their mouths in synthetic American that had neither the wit nor the pungency of the real thing. Blondes, chromium bars, breakneck chases. Very remarkably bunk.

The Case of the Missing Tin-Opener, by John James Mark, had three errors of procedure in the first two pages, and had at least provided Grant with a pleasant five minutes while he composed an imaginary letter to its author.

He could not remember what the thin blue book at the bottom of the pile was. Something earnest and statistical, he thought. Tsetse flies, or calories, or sex behaviour, or something.

Even in that, you knew what to expect on the next page. Did no one, any more, no one in all this wide world, change their record now and then? Was everyone nowadays thirled to a formula? Authors today wrote so much to a pattern that their public expected it. The public talked about "a new Silas Weekley" or "a new Lavinia Fitch" exactly as they talked about "a new brick" or "a new hairbrush." They never said "a new book by" whoever it might be. Their interest was not in the book but in its newness. They knew quite well what the book would be like.

It might be a good thing, Grant thought as he turned his nauseated gaze away from the motley pile, if all the presses of the world were stopped for a generation. There ought to be a literary moratorium. Some Superman ought to invent a ray that would stop them all simultaneously. Then people wouldn't send you a lot of fool nonsense when you were flat on your back, and bossy bits of Meissen wouldn't expect you to read them.

He heard the door open, but did not stir himself to look. He had turned his face to the wall, literally and metaphorically.

He heard someone come across to his bed, and closed his eyes against possible conversation. He wanted neither Gloucestershire sympathy nor Lancashire briskness just now. In the succeeding pause a faint enticement, a nostalgic breath of all the fields of Grasse, teased his nostrils and swam about his brain. He savoured it and considered. The Midget smelt of lavender dusting powder, and The Amazon of soap and iodoform. What was floating expensively about his nostrils was L'Enclos Numéro Cinq. Only one person of his acquaintance used L'Enclos Number Five. Marta Hallard.

He opened an eye and squinted up at her. She had evidently bent over to see if he was asleep, and was now standing in an irresolute way — if anything Marta did could be said to be irresolute — with her attention on the heap of all too obviously virgin publications on the table. In one arm she was carrying two new books, and in the other a great sheaf of white lilac. He wondered whether she had chosen white lilac because it was her idea of the proper floral offering for winter (it adorned her dressing-room at the theatre from December to March) or whether she had taken it because it would not detract from her black-and-white chic. She was wearing a new hat and her usual pearls; the pearls which he had once been the means of recovering for her. She looked very handsome, very Parisian, and blessedly unhospital-like.

"Did I waken you, Alan?"

"No. I wasn't asleep."

"I seem to be bringing the proverbial coals," she said, dropping the two books alongside their despised brethren. "I hope you will find these more interesting than you seem to have found that lot. Didn't you even try a little teensy taste of our Lavinia?"

"I can't read anything."

"Are you in pain?"

"Agony. But it's neither my leg nor my back."

"What then?"

"It's what my cousin Laura calls 'the prickles of boredom.'"

"Poor Alan. And how right your Laura is." She picked a bunch of narcissi out of a glass that was much too large for them, dropped them with one of her best gestures into the washbasin, and proceeded to substitute the lilac. "One would expect boredom to be a great yawning emotion, but it isn't, of course. It's a small niggling thing."

"Small nothing. It's like being beaten with nettles."

"Why don't you take up something?"

"Improve the shining hour?"

"Improve your mind. To say nothing of your soul and your temper. You might study one of the philosophies. Yoga, or something like that. But I suppose an analytical mind is not the best kind to bring to the consideration of the abstract."

"I did think of going back to algebra. I have an idea that I never did algebra justice, at school. But I've done so much geometry on that damned ceiling that I'm a little off mathematics."

"Well, I suppose it is no use suggesting jig-saws to someone in your position. How about cross-words. I could get you a book of them, if you like."

"God forbid."

"You could invent them, of course. I have heard that that is more fun than solving them."

"Perhaps. But a dictionary weighs several pounds. Besides, I always did hate looking up something in a reference book."

"Do you play chess? I don't remember. How about chess problems? White to play and mate in three moves, or something like that."

"My only interest in chess is pictorial."

"Pictorial?"

"Very decorative things, knights and pawns and whatnot. Very elegant."

"Charming. I could bring you along a set to play with. All right, no chess. You could do some academic investigating. That's a sort of mathematics. Finding a solution to an unsolved problem."

"Crime, you mean? I know all the case-histories by heart. And there is nothing more that can be done about any of them. Certainly not by someone who is flat on his back."

"I didn't mean something out of the files at the Yard. I meant something more — what's the word? — something classic. Something that has puzzled the world for ages."

"As what, for instance?"

"Say, the casket letters."

"Oh, not Mary Queen of Scots!"

"Why not?" asked Marta, who like all actresses saw Mary Stuart through a haze of white veils.

"I could be interested in a bad woman but never in a silly one."

"Silly?" said Marta in her best lower-register Electra voice.

"Very silly."

"Oh, Alan, how can you!"

"If she had worn another kind of headdress no one would ever have bothered about her. It's that cap that seduces people."

"You think she would have loved less greatly in a sunbonnet?"

"She never loved greatly at all, in any kind of bonnet."

Marta looked as scandalised as a lifetime in the theatre and an hour of careful make-up allowed her to.

"Why do you think that?"

"Mary Stuart was six feet tall. Nearly all out-size women are sexually cold. Ask any doctor."

And as he said it he wondered why, in all the years since Marta had first adopted him as a spare escort when she needed one, it had not occurred to him to wonder whether her notorious level-headedness about men had something to do with her inches. But Marta had not drawn any parallels; her mind was still on her favourite queen.

"At least she was a martyr. You'll have to allow her that."

"Martyr to what?"

"Her religion."

"The only thing she was a martyr to was rheumatism. She married Darnley without the Pope's dispensation, and Bothwell by Protestant rites."

"In a moment you'll be telling me she wasn't a prisoner!"

"The trouble with you is that you think of her in a little room at the top of a castle, with bars on the windows and a faithful old attendant to share her prayers with her. In actual fact she had a personal household of sixty persons. She complained bitterly when it was reduced to a beggarly thirty, and nearly died of chagrin when it was reduced to two male secretaries, several women, an embroiderer, and a cook or two. And Elizabeth had to pay for all that out of her own purse. For twenty years she paid, and for twenty years Mary Stuart hawked the crown of Scotland round Europe to anyone who would start a revolution and put her back on the throne that she had lost; or, alternatively, on the one Elizabeth was sitting on."

He looked at Marta and found that she was smiling.

"Are they a little better now?" she asked.

"Are what better?"

"The prickles."

He laughed.

"Yes. For a whole minute I had forgotten about them. That is at least one good thing to put down to Mary Stuart's account!"

"How do you know so much about Mary?"
par

"I did an essay about her in my last year at school."

"And didn't like her, I take it."

"Didn't like what I found out about her."

"You don't think her tragic, then."

"Oh, yes, very. But not tragic in any of the ways that popular belief makes her tragic. Her tragedy was that she was born a queen with the outlook of a suburban housewife. Scoring off Mrs. Tudor in the next street is harmless and amusing; it may lead you into unwarrantable indulgence in hire-purchase, but it affects only yourself. When you use the same technique on kingdoms the result is disastrous. If you are willing to put a country of ten million people in pawn in order to score off a royal rival, then you end by being a friendless failure." He lay thinking about it for a little. "She would have been a wild success as a mistress at a girls' school."

"Beast!"

"I meant it nicely. The staff would have liked her, and all the little girls would have adored her. That is what I meant about her being tragic."

"Ah, well. No casket letters, it seems. What else is there? The Man in the Iron Mask?"

"I can't remember who that was, but I couldn't be interested in anyone who was being coy behind some tinplate. I couldn't be interested in anyone at all unless I could see his face."

"Ah, yes. I forgot your passion for faces. The Borgias had wonderful faces. I should think they would provide a little mystery or two for you to dabble in if you looked them up. Or there was Perkin Warbeck, of course. Imposture is always fascinating. Was he or wasn't he? A lovely game. The balance can never come down wholly on one side or the other. You push it over and up it comes again, like one of those weighted toys."

The door opened and Mrs. Tinker's homely face appeared in the aperture surmounted by her still more homely and historic hat. Mrs. Tinker had worn the same hat since first she began to "do" for Grant, and he could not imagine her in any other. That she did possess another one he knew, because it went with something that she referred to as "me blue." Her "blue" was an occasional affair, in both senses, and never appeared at 19 Tenby Court. It was worn with a ritualistic awareness, and having been worn it was used in the event as a yardstick by which to judge the proceedings. ("Did you enjoy it, Tink? What was it like?" "Not worth putting on me blue for.") She had worn it to Princess Elizabeth's wedding, and to various other royal functions, and had indeed figured in it for two flashing seconds in a newsreel shot of the Duchess of Kent cutting a ribbon, but to Grant it was a mere report; a criterion of the social worth of an occasion. A thing was or was not worth putting on "me blue" for.

"I 'eard you 'ad a visitor," said Mrs. Tinker, "and I was all set to go away again when I thought the voice sounded familiar like, and I says to meself: 'It's only Miss Hallard,' I says, so I come in."

She was carrying various paper bags and a small tight bunch of anemones. She greeted Marta as woman to woman, having been in her time a dresser and having therefore no exaggerated reverence for the goddesses of the theatre world, and looked askance at the beautiful arrangement of lilac sprays that had blossomed under Marta's ministrations. Marta did not see the glance but she saw the little bunch of anemones and took over the situation as if it were something already rehearsed.

"I squander my vagabond's hire on white lilac for you, and then Mrs. Tinker puts my nose out of joint by bringing you the Lilies of the Field."

"Lilies?" said Mrs. Tinker, doubtfully.

"Those are the Solomon in all his glory things. The ones that toiled not, neither did they spin."

Mrs. Tinker went to church only for weddings and christenings, but she belonged to a generation that had been sent to Sunday school. She looked with a new interest at the little handful of glory incased by her woollen glove.

"Well, now. I never knew that. Makes more sense that way, don't it? I always pictured them arums. Fields and fields of arums. Awful expensive, you know, but a bit depressing. So they was coloured? Well, why can't they say so? What do they have to call them lilies for!"

And they went on to talk about translation, and how misleading Holy Writ could be ("I always wondered what bread on the waters was," Mrs. Tinker said) and the awkward moment was over.

While they were still busy with the Bible, The Midget came in with extra flower vases. Grant noticed that the vases were designed to hold white lilac and not anemones. They were tribute to Marta; a passport to further communing. But Marta never bothered about women unless she had an immediate use for them; her tack with Mrs. Tinker had been mere savoir faire; a conditioned reflex. So The Midget was reduced to being functional instead of social. She collected the discarded narcissi from the washbasin and meekly put them back into a vase. The Midget being meek was the most beautiful sight that had gladdened Grant's eyes for a long time.

"Well," Marta said, having finished her arrangement of the lilac and placed the result where he could see it, "I shall leave Mrs. Tinker to feed you all the titbits out of those paper bags. It couldn't be, could it, Mrs. Tinker darling, that one of those bags contains any of your wonderful bachelor's buttons?"

Mrs. Tinker glowed.

"You'd like one or two maybe? Fresh outa me oven?"

"Well, of course I shall have to do penance for it afterwards — those little rich cakes are death on the waist — but just give me a couple to put in my bag for my tea at the theatre."

She chose two with a flattering deliberation ("I like them a little brown at the edges"), dropped them into her handbag, and said: "Well, au revoir, Alan. I shall look in, in a day or two, and start you on a sock. There is nothing so soothing, I understand, as knitting. Isn't that so, Nurse?"

"Oh, yes, indeed. A lot of my gentlemen patients take to knitting. They find it whiles away the time very nicely."

Marta blew him a kiss from the door and was gone, followed by the respectful Midget.

"I'd be surprised if that hussy is any better than she ought to be," Mrs. Tinker said, beginning to open the paper bags. She was not referring to Marta.

Copyright 1951 by Elizabeth MacKintosh

Copyright renewed © 1979 by R. S. Lantham

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First Chapter

Chapter 1

Grant lay on his high white cot and stared at the ceiling. Stared at it with loathing. He knew by heart every last minute crack on its nice clean surface. He had made maps of the ceiling and gone exploring on them; rivers, islands, and continents. He had made guessing games of it and discovered hidden objects; faces, birds, and fishes. He had made mathematical calculations of it and rediscovered his childhood; theorems, angles, and triangles. There was practically nothing else he could do but look at it. He hated the sight of it.

He had suggested to The Midget that she might turn his bed around a little so that he could have a new patch of ceiling to explore. But it seemed that that would spoil the symmetry of the room, and in hospitals symmetry ranked just a short head behind cleanliness and a whole length in front of Godliness. Anything out of the parallel was hospital profanity. Why didn't he read? she asked. Why didn't he go on reading some of those expensive brand-new novels that his friends kept on bringing him?

"There are far too many people born into the world, and far too many words written. Millions and millions of them pouring from the presses every minute. It's a horrible thought."

"You sound constipated," said The Midget.

The Midget was Nurse Ingham, and she was in sober fact a very nice five-feet-two, with everything in just proportion. Grant called her The Midget to compensate himself for being bossed around by a piece of Dresden china which he could pick up in one hand. When he was on his feet, this is to say. It was not only that she told him what he might or might not do, but she dealt with his six-feet-odd with an off-hand ease that Grantfound humiliating. Weights meant nothing, apparently, to The Midget. She tossed mattresses around with the absent-minded grace of a plate spinner. When she was off duty he was attended to by The Amazon, a goddess with arms like the limb of a beech tree. The Amazon was Nurse Darroll, who came from Gloucestershire and was homesick each daffodil season. (The Midget came from Lytham St. Anne's, and there was no daffodil nonsense about her.) She had large soft hands and large soft cow's eyes and she always looked very sorry for you, but the slightest physical exertion set her breathing like a suction-pump. On the whole Grant found it even more humiliating to be treated as a dead weight than to be treated as if he were no weight at all.

Grant was bed-borne, and a charge on The Midget and The Amazon, because he had fallen through a trap-door. This, of course, was the absolute in humiliation; compared with which the heavings of The Amazon and the light slingings of The Midget were a mere corollary. To fall through a trap-door was the ultimate in absurdity; pantomimic, bathetic, grotesque. At the moment of his disappearance from the normal level of perambulation he had been in hot pursuit of Benny Skoll, and the fact that Benny had careened round the next corner slap into the arms of Sergeant Williams provided the one small crumb of comfort in an intolerable situation.

Benny was now "away" for three years, which was very satisfactory for the lieges, but Benny would get time off for good behaviour. In hospitals there was no time off for good behaviour.

Grant stopped staring at the ceiling, and slid his eyes sideways at the pile of books on his bedside table; the gay expensive pile that The Midget had been urging on his attention. The top one, with the pretty picture of Valetta in unlikely pink, was Lavinia Fitch's annual account of a blameless heroine's tribulations. In view of the representation of the Grand Harbour on the cover, the present Valerie or Angela or Cecile or Denise must be a naval wife. He had opened the book only to read the kind message that Lavinia had written inside.

The Sweat and the Furrow was Silas Weekley being earthly and spade-conscious all over seven hundred pages. The situation, to judge from the first paragraph, had not materially changed since Silas's last book: mother lying-in with her eleventh upstairs, father laid-out after his ninth downstairs, eldest son lying to the Government in the cow-shed, eldest daughter lying with her lover in the hayloft, everyone else lying low in the barn. The rain dripped from the thatch, and the manure steamed in the midden. Silas never omitted the manure. It was not Silas's fault that its steam provided the only uprising element in the picture. If Silas could have discovered a brand of steam that steamed downwards, Silas would have introduced it.

Under the harsh shadows and highlights of Silas's jacket was an elegant affair of Edwardian curlicues and Baroque nonsense, entitled Bells on Her Toes. Which was Rupert Rouge being arch about vice. Rupert Rouge always seduced you into laughter for the first three pages. About Page Three you noticed that Rupert had learned from that very arch (but of course not vicious) creature George Bernard Shaw that the easiest way to sound witty was to use that cheap and convenient method, the paradox. After that you could see the jokes coming three sentences away.

The thing with a red gun-flash across a night-green cover was Oscar Oakley's latest. Toughs talking out of the corners of their mouths in synthetic American that had neither the wit nor the pungency of the real thing. Blondes, chromium bars, breakneck chases. Very remarkably bunk.

The Case of the Missing Tin-Opener, by John James Mark, had three errors of procedure in the first two pages, and had at least provided Grant with a pleasant five minutes while he composed an imaginary letter to its author.

He could not remember what the thin blue book at the bottom of the pile was. Something earnest and statistical, he thought. Tsetse flies, or calories, or sex behaviour, or something.

Even in that, you knew what to expect on the next page. Did no one, any more, no one in all this wide world, change their record now and then? Was everyone nowadays thirled to a formula? Authors today wrote so much to a pattern that their public expected it. The public talked about "a new Silas Weekley" or "a new Lavinia Fitch" exactly as they talked about "a new brick" or "a new hairbrush." They never said "a new book by" whoever it might be. Their interest was not in the book but in its newness. They knew quite well what the book would be like.

It might be a good thing, Grant thought as he turned his nauseated gaze away from the motley pile, if all the presses of the world were stopped for a generation. There ought to be a literary moratorium. Some Superman ought to invent a ray that would stop them all simultaneously. Then people wouldn't send you a lot of fool nonsense when you were flat on your back, and bossy bits of Meissen wouldn't expect you to read them.

He heard the door open, but did not stir himself to look. He had turned his face to the wall, literally and metaphorically.

He heard someone come across to his bed, and closed his eyes against possible conversation. He wanted neither Gloucestershire sympathy nor Lancashire briskness just now. In the succeeding pause a faint enticement, a nostalgic breath of all the fields of Grasse, teased his nostrils and swam about his brain. He savoured it and considered. The Midget smelt of lavender dusting powder, and The Amazon of soap and iodoform. What was floating expensively about his nostrils was L'Enclos Numéro Cinq. Only one person of his acquaintance used L'Enclos Number Five. Marta Hallard.

He opened an eye and squinted up at her. She had evidently bent over to see if he was asleep, and was now standing in an irresolute way -- if anything Marta did could be said to be irresolute -- with her attention on the heap of all too obviously virgin publications on the table. In one arm she was carrying two new books, and in the other a great sheaf of white lilac. He wondered

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See All Sort by: Showing 1 – 20 of 33 Customer Reviews
  • 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.

    4 out of 4 people found this review helpful.

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  • 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.

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted November 28, 2012

    My favorite mystery book

    My favorite mystery book

    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 1 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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  • Anonymous

    Posted February 12, 2008

    A reviewer

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

    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 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.

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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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  • 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!

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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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