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The Daughter of Time

The Daughter of Time

4.0 36
by Josephine Tey

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While in hospital, Inspector Grant’s professional curiosity is soon aroused. In a portrait of Richard III, the hunchbacked monster of nursery stories and history books, he finds a face that refuses to fit its reputation. But how, after four hundred years, can a bedridden policeman uncover the truth about the murder of the Princes in the Tower?
From the


While in hospital, Inspector Grant’s professional curiosity is soon aroused. In a portrait of Richard III, the hunchbacked monster of nursery stories and history books, he finds a face that refuses to fit its reputation. But how, after four hundred years, can a bedridden policeman uncover the truth about the murder of the Princes in the Tower?
From the Paperback edition.

Author Biography: Josephine Tey began writing full-time after the successful publication of her first novel, The Man in the Queue (1929), which introduced Inspector Grant of Scotland Yard. She died in 1952, leaving her entire estate to the National Trust.
From the Paperback edition.

Editorial Reviews

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!

Product Details

Gale Group
Publication date:
Edition description:
Large Print
Product dimensions:
5.70(w) x 8.50(h) x 1.00(d)

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 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

Meet the Author

Josephine Tey was a Scottish author; born in Inverness, best known for her mystery novels. In six of the mystery novels, the most famous is The Daughter of Time, in which Grant, laid up in hospital, has friend's research reference book 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; Her another one, The Franchise Affair was 11th on the same list of 100 books.

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The Daughter of Time 4 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 36 reviews.
Gilbert_M_Stack More than 1 year ago
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.
SheilaDeeth More than 1 year ago
"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.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
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.
pb1963 More than 1 year ago
My favorite mystery book
Guest More than 1 year ago
Ground-breaking in its day, and still a fun read.
Guest More than 1 year ago
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.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
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.
Samantha-Issac More than 1 year ago
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!
Guest More than 1 year ago
'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.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
That is accepted as true even in history books. This has happened before as thus years propaganda becomes next years mythology
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
APWH REVIEW The Daughter of Time by Josephine Tey is a captivating historical mystery novel. Josephine Tey writes from the perspective of Inspector Alan Grant in his search to prove the innocence of Richard the III. Tey does a great job entertaining readers while she uses historical pieces to give depth to the book. The idea of a bedridden Grant that stumbles onto the face pf England's wicked uncle and the search to discover whether or not he truly murdered the two princes of the tower grabs the audience attention, but it does not include as much historical evidence as that of a historical novel written in the time period it encompasses.    If the purpose of the author was to captivate an audience of mystery readers for generation then Josephine Tey most definitely accomplished her goal and purpose, but if the goal was to teach readers about English history and the succession of the royal line, then I believe that the goal was by no means achieved. Even though A Daughter in Time went along with historical facts, it did not feel as though it was historically based. It felt more like a story than anything that held the same merit and knowledge of primary sourced books.  
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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.
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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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