Read The Daughter of Time by Josephine Tey Online

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Josephine Tey is often referred to as the mystery writer for people who don't like mysteries. Her skills at character development and mood setting, and her tendency to focus on themes not usually touched upon by mystery writers, have earned her a vast and appreciative audience. In Daughter of Time, Tey focuses on the legend of Richard III, the evil hunchback of British hisJosephine Tey is often referred to as the mystery writer for people who don't like mysteries. Her skills at character development and mood setting, and her tendency to focus on themes not usually touched upon by mystery writers, have earned her a vast and appreciative audience. In Daughter of Time, Tey focuses on the legend of Richard III, the evil hunchback of British history accused of murdering his young nephews. While at a London hospital recuperating from a fall, Inspector Alan Grant becomes fascinated by a portrait of King Richard. A student of human faces, Grant cannot believe that the man in the picture would kill his own nephews. With an American researcher's help, Grant delves into his country's history to discover just what kind of man Richard Plantagenet was and who really killed the little princes....

Title : The Daughter of Time
Author :
Rating :
ISBN : 9780671808372
Format Type : Paperback
Number of Pages : 207 Pages
Status : Available For Download
Last checked : 21 Minutes ago!

The Daughter of Time Reviews

  • BillKerwin
    2019-04-15 09:03

    Perhaps the oddest and best mystery ever written. Police Inspector Grant, flat on his back in hospital, solves the historical mystery of Richard III and the Little Princes in the Tower. I know, I know--sounds boring. But it isn't. A fascinating meditation on history, propaganda, prejudice and memory.

  • Delee
    2019-04-05 08:53

    This day was our good King Richard piteously slain and murdered; to the great heaviness of this city.If you take the "players" in The War of the Roses, and place them in more modern times- one could almost compare them to The Mob fighting for control of their territory...[image error]...and when I first started to be interested in learning who all the "players" were. I felt like Karen Hill at her wedding- when Paulie Cicero was introducing her to "The Family"...."This is cousin Paulie, and my nephew Petie, my niece Marie, and my other niece Marie and Paulie...and Peter...no no Paulie- I get confused sometimes." I sometimes imagined what it would have like back then, and if at some point Richard III got just as confuuuuused as Paulie. "This is my brother Edward, and his wife Elizabeth their sons Richard and Edward, daughter Elizabeth...my sister Elizabeth, my brother Edmund and this is my son Edmund....no no Edward..."[image error]In THE DAUGHTER OF TIME Inspector Alan Grant is laid up in the hospital with a broken leg, and ooooooooh so bored. His friend- Marta- sympathetic to his plight- brings him photographs of important figures throughout history and the mysteries surrounding them- long unsolved. Alan finds one face jumps out at him more than the rest...King Richard III of England[image error]...and the mystery of The Princes in the Tower. [image error]Since Alan can't leave the hospital- Marta brings in her friend and researcher at the British Museum- Brent Carradine to help Alan in his quest- to clear King Richard's name, and prove once and for all that he wasn't the monster the history books and Shakespeare wrote about.[image error][image error]Many people have made comparisons of THE DAUGHTER OF TIME to Rear Window- and there are a few similarities, but the biggest difference is- no one is in any danger here. There is no real suspense in this mystery- all the players are looooooong dead- and no one is coming after Mr. Grant to stop him from uncovering the truth. So don't expect to be on the edge of your seat- but do expect to be thoroughly entertained if this is a subject that interests you...especially if you are a Ricardian like meeeeeeee.

  • Jaline
    2019-04-19 10:51

    In 1951, Josephine Tey wrote her 5th novel in the Inspector Grant series. In 1990, this mystery novel was named the greatest mystery novel of all time by the British Crime Writers' Association. After reading it, I can definitely see why.For one thing, during the entire novel, Inspector Alan Grant is confined to bed with a broken leg and a strained back. He is an inspector for Scotland Yard – an active man, relying on his brains and his brawn to help him solve cases. He also studies faces and uses his intuition to help him figure out who did what when it comes to crime.Now, however, he is beside himself. Stuck in one place, tired of tracing the possible pictures in the cracks and fissures of the ceiling above him, bored beyond belief, and ready to bolt – or stage a revolt, whichever might allow him to release some steam.Thanks to some friends, he is offered a mystery to solve. A very old mystery, one with its roots in history which means it is written by historians, which means a combination of invention, speculation, and based only on whatever facts might have been expedient to use at the time.That is the basic introduction to this amazingly well written book. It is funny, moves along faster than a hospital bed on greased wheels down a long hallway (no, that didn’t happen), and it is crime solving with collaboration at its very best. And, there is a twist near the end that I did not see coming. Not even close.I am so glad that I read this book! It was an exhilarating experience and even exceeded my expectations, which is saying a great deal considering I knew the honours that have been bestowed on this novel. I do recommend it as a fascinating bit of sleuthing from a few hundred years “after the fact”.

  • Frances
    2019-04-17 15:57

    The author has created a skilful investigation of Richard III’s involvement in the deaths of his two nephews. Laid up with injuries in a hospital, Scotland Yard Inspector Alan Grant is utterly bored with nothing to do except look at patterns on the ceiling. The Inspector has a canny knack for reading faces and as he looks upon Richard III’s portrait he doesn’t see a murderer, but more of a haunted man. Through a great deal of research on source documents, testimonies, and evaluating written records Inspector Grand spends his convalescing time uncovering the qualities of Richard III. Although slow in some chapters it tends to read like a history lesson, but very well done - would appeal to history buffs. An eye opener for how history is written to the benefit of those in power while revealing how other past events actually happened, not how they have been portrayed. Quite interesting; makes one consider what is actually true or entirely false.

  • Richard Derus
    2019-03-28 12:38

    Rating: 4.5* of fiveThe Publisher Says: Scotland Yard Inspector Alan Grant is intrigued by a portrait of Richard III. Could such a sensitive face actually belong to a heinous villain — a king who killed his brother's children to secure his crown? Grant seeks what kind of man Richard was and who in fact killed the princes in the tower.My Review: Many's the Golden Age mystery that, viewed by modern eyes and filtered through epithet-intolerant lenses, doesn't hold up well. This novel, published in 1951, not only holds up well but shows up many a modern "master" of the form. This isn't some bloated tome that makes your night table sag. This isn't some CSI-esque science class in blood chemistry or the digestive system. It is a beautifully constructed, interestingly conceived, historically extremely persuasive treatise on the subject of Richard III and the Little Princes in the Tower he allegedly murdered.It is also a "thumping good read," as a Canadian friend of mine calls them: A book that sucks you in, seduces you with clarity and fascination, and at the end, leaves you fully satisfied. The Daughter of Time was her last completed novel, and the last published before her death from cancer at the absurdly young (to modern sensibilities) age of 56. However thoroughly delicious a catalog of work she left us with, including a posthumously published novel The Singing Sands, another decade or two would likely have given us many more delights. Call me greedy, but I crave those lost ideas. Curse you, cigarettes!

  • Sarah (Presto agitato)
    2019-04-21 07:46

    "Sin, death, and hell have set their marks on him,And all their ministers attend on him."-William Shakespeare, Richard III, Act I, Scene IIIRichard III is one of history’s most notorious villains. Thanks in large part to Shakespeare’s play, he is known as a remorseless usurper who murdered his young nephews, the “princes in the tower,” so that he could become King. He was King for less than two years, but he remains one of the more memorable characters from British history. This is not an open-and-shut case. The “Ricardian” contingent, still active as the Richard III Society, thinks Richard got a raw deal. His fame comes from a play written during the reign of the Tudor Elizabeth I, based on work by Thomas More, who served the Tudor Henry VIII. The Tudors, they argue, had a vested interest in showing Richard in the worst possible light. After all, the first Tudor King, Henry VII, came to the throne after defeating Richard in battle. Richard’s defenders hold that he was falsely accused of ordering the murders, suffering an unfair blot on his reputation that has lasted for several hundred years.Josephine Tey presents the pro-Richard arguments in an unusual way. Published in 1951, the novel is set in the first part of the 20th century. Alan Grant, an inspector from Scotland Yard, was injured while pursuing a suspect. He is laid up in the hospital for weeks recovering from his injuries. Bored out of his gourd, he is looking for something to occupy him. It comes in the form of a picture, a print of this painting of King Richard III:Grant studies the painting and thinks a guy with such a lovable face just couldn’t have done those terrible things (and given his background as a detective, Grant knows faces). With the help of a friend who acts as a research assistant, he “investigates” the case, ultimately finding (view spoiler)[Richard innocent, with his successor Henry VII as the real culprit. (hide spoiler)]It’s a unique way to present this centuries-old mystery, but unfortunately it often comes off as contrived. This isn’t really a novel in the usual sense; it’s a vehicle for presenting a historical argument. There’s no real action, just Grant having conversations with people about Richard, often bringing out the information through awkwardly obvious question-and-answer sessions with his friend. He makes a good point about the simplified and often unsupported history presented in the school textbooks he reads, but much of his discussion involves setting up and knocking down straw men. In the story, Grant suffers from the same problem that has made Richard so controversial for historians - there just isn’t a lot of solid evidence. We are left to rely on the accounts of people who lived at the time or just afterward. Determining Richard’s guilt tends to come down to which of the often heavily biased sources you believe. The crux of Grant’s argument seems to be that Richard was actually a pretty good guy. He passed progressive legislation in Parliament, he wasn’t particularly vengeful to the opposition after taking power (though his Woodville in-laws might have disagreed), he didn’t try to make his bastard son heir to the throne, and lots of people said good things about him. Above all, “good sense was his ruling characteristic. Good sense and family feeling” (p. 190). This version of Richard is almost suspiciously saintly, especially given the usurping tendencies of so many of his Plantagenet forbears.Tey’s approach to analyzing one of history’s great mysteries is imaginative, even when not completely successful. Anti-Ricardians won’t be convinced, and those looking for a more traditional mystery may be disappointed, but for those of us who find the mystery fascinating in its own right, it’s always interesting to get another take on it.["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>

  • Duane
    2019-04-21 09:40

    The title threw me a little, but this turned out to be an interesting and entertaining mystery about the murder of the two Princes in the Tower. No one knows what really happened, but popular belief is that their uncle, Richard III, had them killed to clear his way to become King of England. Josephine Tey and her two main characters, Alan Grant and Brent Carradine, take a forensic, Scotland Yard approach to the crime, and come up with the conclusion that most of the history books are wrong. I've read my share of royal history, both fictional and historical, so I enjoyed this counter approach to the subject. Very well written.

  • Ellen
    2019-04-18 12:02

    It’s hard to read A Daughter of Time and not think of James Stewart, similarly laid up in Rear Window, which was produced only a few years later than Tey’s mystery. In Hitchcock’s movie, the photographer casts a panoptic gaze at the people he can see through the many apartment windows available from his rear window, and plays detective, with the help of the ridiculously over-dressed Grace Kelly. Alan Grant, in Tey’s novel, similarly wounded in the line of duty, is an actual detective/inspector, from Scotland Yard, who becomes intrigued by a portrait and begins to study—obsessively—the history of Richard the Third.While I gave up on understanding each and every royal relationship—you may have to be English to do that—Grant’s process is fascinating. He starts with the histories, but then realizes they are nothing but hearsay, and upon scrutiny, dubious hearsay at that. For our theory-addled brains, what Tey accomplishes here is New Historicism in motion. Nothing new to us, perhaps, but a particularly fresh approach in 1951, when history was often venerated as fact, rather than the saga of the winners. And I don’t mean to imply we’re any brighter now; it’s likely we’re dumber, but few look at history books today with the calm acceptance I experienced when I read, for example, that Christopher Columbus “discovered America,” since America apparently had no history until white people arrived. Rather than relying on the master narratives, Grant approaches the situation like an investigation and, with the assistance of a fresh and likable young researcher, locates artifacts from the actual time of the alleged murder of the princes in the tower. What’s most fascinating about Tey’s literate book is the investigation itself and what unfolds, in real time, for the reader to ponder.

  • BrokenTune
    2019-04-08 10:43

    Richard III had been credited with the elimination of two nephews, and his name was a synonym for evil. But Henry VII, whose ‘settled and considered policy’ was to eliminate a whole family was regarded as a shrewd and far-seeing monarch. Not very lovable perhaps, but constructive and painstaking, and very successful withal. Grant gave up. History was something that he would never understand. The values of historians differed so radically from any values with which he was acquainted that he could never hope to meet them on any common ground.I loved this book - it had absolutely everything that I wanted/needed on the rainy winter weekend when I read this. In a way, I could relate quite well to Inspector Grant as he was laid up in hospital with nothing to do but stare at the ceiling, bored out of his head. Rainy winter weekends can have a similar effect. Unlike Grant, of course, it didn't occur to me to start a research project into the life and legacy of Richard III, I merely cozied up with Tey's book and a good supply of tea and snacks.I can't even put my finger of why I thought the book was so enjoyable - part of me liked the characters and the banter, part of me liked the "mystery" element, even tho there is little mystery to it, and part liked the historical aspect of it. I loved how Tey chose to format the story, how she disguised her research into the story of RIII as a hobby to pass time with. In a way, this is why I love historical fiction, not because it sugar-coats all of the historical information and presents it in an easily digestible narrative, but because it dares to ask questions and share how the actual research of non-fictional topics can be fun. It has the power to inspire people to learn more. I for one will take a much closer look at portraits from now on, and especially the one of RIII.

  • Karla
    2019-04-24 12:05

    I went into this book only knowing that it "proved" Richard III wasn't the wicked uncle who offed his nephews in the Tower. What I didn't know was that, after a rather snarky and fun intro that sets the scene of a cranky inspector bed-ridden with a broken leg, it would soon become a tedious story with dull pacing, boring dialogue, and a self-righteous tone.The premise is based solely on Alan Grant's gut instinct that the face of Richard III in a portrait reproduction isn't the face of an evil murderer. The length to which the whole "faces don't lie" theory is expounded upon reminded me too much of some more extreme Ricardians, who often sound like fangirls claiming they can see into his soul. I wasn't expecting such a faulty foundation to launch the "mystery."As Grant's bedside investigation continues, he becomes a convert to the "Innocent Richard" school of thought and his dialogue really takes on the tone of a smug evangelical to a cause. Then there's the dialogue from nearly all of the characters about what they think or know or have read about Richard III (and Fam) that reads like a book report or an encyclopedia. For such a short, short book, it got overbearing. Throw in some literary analysis about a fiction novel on Cecily Nevill and I nearly fell asleep.It's very ironic that Grant tosses aside Thomas More's "history", calling it a party pamphlet, when this book - despite its research - has a distinct pamphlety feel, only for the OTHER party.I'm not overly fond of mysteries and tend to avoid them as a rule (except for the odd Agatha Christie), but my carps for this one has nothing to do with it being a mystery. I even think that Richard III most likely was innocent of the crime, so I'm in partial sympathy with the agenda here.But it's simply a dull piece of fiction.

  • Simona Bartolotta
    2019-04-24 14:39

    4.5“It’s an odd thing but when you tell someone the true facts of a mythical tale they are indignant not with the teller but with you.”A modern detective investigates on Richard III and the murder of the Princes in the Tower... I swear, sometimes it's like there are books written for you and you alone. (But since I am a generous person, you must can read it too.)

  • Martine
    2019-04-17 12:41

    The Daughter of Time is an unlikely detective story. It's the story of a police inspector who, whilst laid up in bed because of a leg injury, is presented with a portrait of England's King Richard III (reigned 1483-1485) and comes to the conclusion that a man so genteel-looking couldn't possibly be the ruthless murderer Shakespeare made him out to be, because 'villains don't suffer, and that face is full of the most dreadful pain' (judge for yourself here). So with a little help from the nurses and the friends and colleagues who come and visit him in the hospital, he starts digging in fifteenth-century history, only to come up with a few interesting theories of his own, all of which seem to point to history's having given Richard a rotten deal. For in reality, Tey has her bed-ridden hero discover, Richard III had no motive to have half of his family (including his two under-age nephews) murdered, as sixteenth-century historians alleged. He may not have been a hunchback, either. Rather he was the victim of revisionist history as written by the Tudor kings who succeeded him and who had their own reasons for vilifying him. History, lest we forget, is written by the victors, and boy, can they do damage to a guy's reputation if they have a talented playwright on their side. Just ask Macbeth of Scotland, who was by all accounts a fairly good and popular king. I'm not sure how historically accurate the details of Tey's argument are, nor whether her evidence would stand up in a modern court of justice, but the case for Richard is presented in a convincing manner and makes a gripping read, mainly because the protagonist, Inspector Alan Grant, is absolutely convinced of Richard's innocence and hell-bent on finding evidence to support his subjective impression of the man, taking a violent dislike to Richard's most famous biographer, Sir Thomas More, in the process. I love books in which the characters get passionate and even a little obsessive about things, and Tey's Inspector Grant is nothing if not obsessive. His ferocious zeal for his quest (often expressed in violent outbursts to startled nurses) is quite infectious, to the point where you find yourself wishing for a big pile of history books and access to the British Museum to verify Grabt's discoveries for yourself. At least that's what the book did for me. After finishing The Daughter of Time, I spent several hours on line Googling the authors and historians Tey mentions in her book, some historical, others seemingly fictitious. In the course of my research, I came across several Ricardian societies, all working towards a rehabilitation of the last Plantagenet king. Many of their members seem to have joined after reading The Daughter of Time. In short, Tey's book has been influential, and for good reason -- it's a fascinating journey through English history, and a grand tale of high-minded obsession to boot. It had me add several history books to my to-read list. I love books which make me enthusiastic for previously unexplored subjects, so as far as that's concerned, Tey did a great job.Is that to say The Daughter of Time is a faultless book? By no means. While I was impressed with the way in which Tey shared her research and sustained her reader's interest in her detective's quest for the truth, I often found the dialogue in The Daughter of Time lacklustre. Not only do Tey's researchers regularly have unlikely conversations about clues which I suspect would be very hard to dig up five hundred years after the fact (even if one had access to the venerable records held by the British Museum), but to make matters worse they all sound identical, all speaking in the same benignly polite but slightly ironic voice. As portrayed by Tey, middle-aged British police inspector Alan Grant and his much younger American assistant Brent Carradine sound much the same, and there is little to distinguish between the female characters, either. I think the book could have done with slightly more individualised and characteristic dialogue, but really, that's a minor complaint. For the most part, The Daughter of Time succeeds admirably in what it does, which is making and keeping its readers interested in a five hundred-year-old mystery, while making a few interesting observations about the way history is written along the way. I liked the examples of what Inspector Grant refers to as 'Tonypandy' -- legendary historical events which live on in popular consciousness despite the fact that they have been proven to be untrue. If Tey's research is anything to go by, the legend of Richard III falls squarely into the Tonypandy category. Needless to say, that doesn't make Shakespeare's play of the same name any less interesting, but it does add an interesting dimension to the story, doesn't it?For those who wish to read more about the evidence supporting Richard's innocence, here's Horace Walpole's excellent and well-researched defence of the last Plantagenet king, first published in 1786, which seems to have been one of the bases for The Daughter of Time (the other being Clements Markham's later Richard III: His Life and Character Reviewed in the Light of Recent Research).

  • Deanne
    2019-03-26 14:54

    Read this but in light of recent events in Leicester I feel like reading this again.For those who don't know recently archaeologists have been digging up a car park in Leicester in the hopes of finding Richard III. Heard today that they've found a skeleton in a medieval grave, with a curvature of the spine, a head injury and an arrow head in between two of the vertebrae. The skeleton was also found where records said he was buried in the choir of the church. Now the debate is on as to where the remains should be buried, personally I think he should be interred in the cathedral at Leicester, as he's been in the parish for 500 years.Apart from that I enjoyed the book the first time.Found out today that Richard will be interred in Leicester cathedral. It's only taken two years for them to decide that he can be buried 100 yards or so from his last burial place.

  • Amy
    2019-04-19 10:44

    OK, after reading To the Tower Born, I got really hooked on the Richard III thing and about him maybe being a murderer or maybe not. So I read this book Daughter of Time, which went about attempting to prove Richard III's innocence in one of the most notorious unsolved crimes in history. Did he really murder his nephews in the Tower of London because they were a threat to his throne? Or has history painted a false picture of Richard III? This book takes a different angle and offers another villain that may have had more to gain from the boys' death. MEGA FASCINATING! Now I have to join the "Richard III Society"!

  • Steve
    2019-04-10 13:50

    Who dunneth it? Did Richard III really order his young nephews killed in the Tower of London, or was he unjustly implicated as part of a massive smear campaign? If you’re Alan Grant, the recuperating Inspector from Scotland Yard, the answer becomes increasingly clear. Grant took the case to begin with because he was bored and bed-ridden and couldn’t chase live, motile bad guys. He became interested in Richard based on a random set of pictures a lady friend gave him in the hospital. In perhaps the only dubious part of the plot, Grant fancied himself an expert on faces, with an unnatural ability to divine guilt or innocence from them. With Richard, he saw the look of sound judgment, not monstrous intent. From there, he began building a proper case, piece by logical piece.Somewhere along the way, the same friend who got him started with the investigation put him in contact with a young visiting scholar at the British Museum. As a tool for tracking down relevant archive material, the guy was better than Google. The detective work inherent in good historical research was one of the most enjoyable parts of the book, I thought.I also liked how Tey cast large shadows of doubt on the established historical accounts. It was easy to believe that some were written as propaganda commissioned by Henry VII, the first of the Tudor Kings, who felt a need to discredit Richard and the whole Plantagenet line. It was also true that Richard had nothing to gain politically by killing the young princes. They were never in line to usurp his role. Most telling, though, was how all accounts of Richard’s murderous scheme were written well after the supposed fact. Even the trumped up charges in the Bill of Attainder that Henry brought against Richard made no mention of it, and no chronicles written at the time said word one about the deaths, which very easily could have happened after Richard’s own death. Reactions to Tey’s book were interesting. Ricardian societies popped up proclaiming his innocence. Other notable books adopted the same view. Richard’s case was even tried by the Supreme Court in a mock trial. They found him not guilty. According to Wikipedia, the title comes from a line by Bertolt Brecht: Truth is the daughter of time, not of authority. That’s not a bad take-away point. So can historical fiction obversely observe fictional history? Sure, I figure. Why not?

  • Werner
    2019-04-16 10:00

    "When the legend becomes truth, print the legend." --The Man Who Shot Liberty ValenceI once commented, to one of my college history classes, that there are a number of basic ideas about history that "everybody knows;" but that unfortunately what "everybody knows" often turns out to be a bunch of handed-down hooey. ("History" may also consist of deliberate lies invented to smear one's political opposition.) The idea that King Richard III of England (1483-85) callously murdered his two nephews, the famous "little princes in the Tower," in order to steal the crown wasn't one of the examples I used --only because that particular legend isn't famous enough to be known by everybody, including the illiterate and aliterate-- but it's certainly known, and implicitly believed, by a LOT of literate people. After all, didn't no less an infallible authority than Shakespeare say so, in Richard III? And didn't Sir Thomas More (who was an 8-year-old child when Richard died) make the same claim in the definitive source about Richard? That idea definitely qualifies as both handed-down hooey and politically motivated falsehood, and Tey here sets about demolishing it systematically. But she didn't choose to do so by writing a straightforward history book --as other students of history had done, without much effect.When this book was written, Tey was already a big name in the mystery genre, on both sides of the Atlantic, but especially in her native England. Scotland Yard Inspector Alan Grant --an opinionated and forceful man who prides himself on being able to judge character from faces--was a popular series character who'd appeared in four of her previous novels. In this book, Tey proceeds, with Grant laid up in the hospital with a job-related injury and ready to go mad with boredom, to give him access to a contemporary portrait of Richard. Convinced that this doesn't look like the face of a murderer, he embarks on an investigation of written sources (eventually concentrating on primary ones --that is, contemporary material, witnessing to events as they actually happened), soon with the aid of a young American habitue' of the British Museum, which is also a library, and a good one. He approaches the matter as a police investigator treating a cold disappearance/possible murder case (which this in fact is) according to accepted canons of police work. So this is a "mystery," but an unconventional one. It's really a book of historical investigation, using a fictional framework. I recommended it for history, not mystery, buffs, as I don't know if it would be what most of the latter are typically looking for. But the fictional element --the almost Dickensian characterizations, the dry humor, the narrative framework of the research and the elements of suspense built into it-- adds an interest to the book that a nonfiction account would be much less likely to have, and sets the book's carefully developed, step-by-step argument before a whole group of readers many of whom might not read much nonfiction history.Being a history major, I'd already read Richard III: The Great Debate, and knew that More's writing on the subject (which was slavishly followed by Holinshed in his Chronicles, and in the Shakespeare play) was a Tudor-inspired hatchet job. I didn't expect much from this book, though I'd had it on my to-read shelf for awhile (I read it now because it was a common read in one of my groups); I was --and remain!- very skeptical of the idea that facial features infallibly reveal personal character, especially when those features are on a painted portrait that's as much the artist's interpretation as it is a representation. But I learned as much or more from the clearly presented facts and judicious reasoning that Tey lays out (and from the additional digging it inspired me to do on Wikipedia) as I did from any history book I'd read that touches the subject! That's why this is the only work of fiction that I've ever added to my (nonfiction) history shelf. If you're interested in this period of English history, I'd characterize this as a must-read.

  • Fiona
    2019-04-08 08:40

    Once upon a time, in deepest darkest 2012, I was fortunate enough to be a law student at the University of Edinburgh, at just about the time when people were starting to make the big noises about whether a referendum on Scottish independence would be feasible. There was a debate on between a member of the department, and quite an eminent constitutional lawyer of whom I have long been in an intellectual sort of awe, so I went along.The topic of the debate was whether, if the Scottish Parliament were to unilaterally declare that they were holding a referendum on independence, that would be legal. And Eminent Lawyer spoke first, and he said, "No. It would not be legal. Here is the Scotland Act; it specifically says it would not be legal. Here is constitutional convention; it would not support a unilaterally declared referendum. The Scottish Parliament would need the express support of the UK Parliament to hold such a referendum." And of course he is completely right, and that is how, a couple of years later, it ended up happening.Then the member of the department stood up, and in ten minutes, with a few self-effacing laughs, he proceeded to convince me that there was more than one loophole in which a unilaterally declared referendum might be valid. I don't remember what he said, but it stuck with me: you read all the time about people who can, as the saying goes, convince you that black is white. But it's very rarely that someone can make my mind do such a u-turn, against so much evidence and in the face of my own scepticism. That academic, that day, sort of embodied a standard for me, of people who are really, really good lawyers. Really good persuaders. Stand-out purveyors of their craft.For me, another one of those is Josephine Tey in The Daughter of Time. This is an extremely well put together advocacy of something that you then have to go away and read up on to realise it's probably not true. I like the Wars of the Roses, and I have to agree with majority historian opinion on this one: Tey's conclusion (or Tey's protagonist's conclusion) is probably not what happened. But for that glorious week, her conclusion slotted so beautifully in place, that it seemed to me to be the only possible way for events to have occurred. I showed it to my partner, and told him to go in sceptical, and he came out exactly the same way. That is a spectacular piece of sophistry, and I can't think of any circumstance in which I'd rather find it.The Daughter of Time is written as a detective novel. It is the detective writer's detective novel. The Crime Writers Association put it at the top of their Best Of list, which was actually what prompted me to seek it out in the first place. As far as writing a mystery and a solution go, it really is first rate: not a plot hole, not a withheld clue, not a mysterious character introduced at the end. Somehow, Tey managed to write a golden age detective story that adheres to all the rules of how you must treat your cast and your reader... and she did it with a real event, that everyone learns about at school. DoT makes me reconsider what I think I know about the world, and the people who told me about it. It asks what is history: is it what we remember? Is it what gets written down? If we can infer something so very strongly, does that also make it true? What do we mean by "it fits the facts"?And that, ladies and gentlemen, is why I think the very best of golden age crime fiction is so sorely underrated. What a canvas for asking all sorts of questions. What a way to juxtapose that neat ending we all want from our murder mysteries, and taking a good hard look at the way the world works. So ripe for being interesting, so easy to dismiss. (I'm thinking also here of Maj Sjowall and Per Wahloo's Martin Beck stories, starting with Roseanna, which have rightfully had a sort-of-renaissance in the last two years, and frankly deserve a much bigger one.)I'm getting effusive. I read this on Kindle, and then bought a hard copy and read it again. That copy has now been lent out to several people, I barely ever keep it for long before sending it on its way again, like all the best books that I think should be more widely read and enjoyed than they are. It's not a thriller; stop thinking that detective novels have to be shocking. They can do other things too, and this does, and it makes me happy.

  • Siria
    2019-04-10 07:52

    This book had the potential to really engage me--it deals with Richard III and all the various permutations of the Yorkist, Lancastrian and Tudor factions in late medieval England, and it's not badly written at all. Unfortunately, there were so many little things in it which frustrated me that I was completely soured to the author's argument--that Richard III was innocent of the murder of the Princes in the Tower--by the time I finished reading.Though there are elements of her arguments with which I agree, even the main hook of her novel--that the most famous surviving portrait of Richard III shows the face of a man who could not possibly commit such a murder--is flawed. Every portrait ever made has been the portrait of not one person, but at least two--of the sitter and of the artist--and the practice of reading a person's character through their portrait is an interesting one, though it must always be seen as very dubious.There are a number of other points in the book which show clearly that the author is not a historian. I'm sure, given what is stated in the book, that this is regarded as a plus point, but there are some facts with which it is worthwhile to become familiar before writing a book which purports to solve a centuries old mystery--for instance, stating that to die at the age of forty in the Middle Ages was to die young. Really, not so much. Similarly, Tey veers between being incredibly cynical and incredibly naive about political motivations. It all makes for an interesting, if ultimately unrewarding, read.

  • Ivonne Rovira
    2019-04-02 09:56

    I first read this novel donkeys’ years ago in paper form. This time, when reading it again as a buddy read with two lovely and talented GoodReads pals, Delee and Lisa, I utterly melted as I listened to the amazing Derek Jacobi’s mellifluous voice as the narrator. If you can get The Daughter of Time as an audiobook, be sure to do so!I’ve long loved this book so much that I even dragged my husband into joining this buddy read!The Daughter of Time is the fourth installment of author Josephine Tey’s Inspector Allan Grant series — but you'd never know the novel was anything but a stand-alone when reading it. The novel operates on two levels: One is as an early 20th cenury British cozy about a clever English policeman sidelined in a hospital and going stir-crazy with boredom. He picks the coldest of cold cases to while away the days: the 15th century murder charge against King Richard III. On the second level, The Daughter of Time operates as a polemic: “Could 14 million history books possibly be wrong?” The conclusion that Tey — and her alter ego on the matter, Grant — come to is that, yes, they could. Tey lays out such a convincing case that that the last Plantagenet’s infamy was simply the results of a successful propaganda effort by the first Tudor, the future Henry VII that I have absolutely no doubt at all that all of the crimes laid to Richard, Duke of York, the future Richard III — including the deaths of the two princeling sons of Richard’s beloved older brother, Edward IV — really belong on Henry VII. I’m sure you will be convinced, too — both of the correctness of Tey’s hypothesis and of the deftness of Tey’s touch as a mystery writer.

  • Marwan
    2019-03-31 15:59

    3.5 to be preciseThe idea of investigating a 400 years old murder is interesting. However I would enjoyed it more if I had a background knowledge of England during the 15th century. Still it was curious enough to read. The story revolves around inspector Alan Grant of Scotland Yard, who's recovering in the hospital from a broken leg and who gets bored there. His friend brings him a collection of face portraits (Since Grant is interested in analyzing human faces) to pass time, and he becomes interested in a certain portrait of man who Grant assumed to be a Judge, but later finds out that it belonged to none other than king Richard III, one of the most notorious murders in English history, who killed his nephews to secure the throne. Grant start wondering how could he mistake a murderer for a Judge, and starts researching about him to satisfy his curiosity. Later, Mr Brent Carradine (an amateur historian researcher) join Grant in his quest and together they keep inspecting through the records of history to see if Richard was really a murderer, or was it a mere rumor spread by his enemies.

  • Brandon
    2019-04-23 10:00

    While recovering from injuries suffered on the job, Inspector Alan Grant is searching for something to occupy his mind. Having an affinity for faces, Grant is given a stack of portraits and photos of men and women to study. After coming across a photo of historical villain Richard III, Grant recalls the murder of Richard’s two young nephews and despite never being proven guilty of the crime, history has written him as a murderer. With little to do, Grant becomes obsessed with examining the evidence against Richard in an effort to solve a five hundred year old crime.With The Daughter of Time, Josephine Tey (a pseudonym used by Scottish writer Elizabeth Mackintosh) wrote a mystery novel where the protagonist never leaves his bed nor is in any real danger. Not only that, but Grant has nothing to gain from solving the mystery nor does anyone seemingly care if he does. I can’t imagine anyone pitching this to a publisher today. So, why was it voted the best mystery novel of all time by the British Crime Writers’ Association (second being The Big Sleep, I might add)?I guess you could say that while the story is first and foremost a mystery, it’s also an exploration into how unreliable history can be or how opinion is often accepted as fact. Almost everyone that Grant speaks to in the course of his investigation believes Richard to be guilty as that’s what they've been told through history books despite Richard’s guilt seemingly being based on hearsay and less on cold, hard evidence. You ever hear that old saying, history is written by the victors? Grant’s main argument hinges greatly on this fact in pointing out that Richard did not have a sufficient motive, nor did his character leading up to the suspected murder dictate the killings. The succeeding Tudors, however, had everything to gain by dragging Richard through the mud following his death.While I don’t put a lot of faith in the study of physiognomy (the assessment of a person's character or personality from his or her outer appearance), the resulting investigation by Grant proves to have some merit. The Daughter of Time is an interesting read that examines the way history had been recorded and the way justice was dealt before the age of forensics.Also posted @ Every Read Thing.

  • Meagan
    2019-03-26 15:47

    From a literary standpoint? Eh. From an academic standpoint, which was why I read the book in the first place? Double-eh.The prose is smooth and easy enough to follow, and the insertion of historical facts is presented in a fairly interesting way. Much preferable over a textbook, definitely. But the characterization? Non-existent. Style? Themes? Nothing. It's obvious that Tey just isn't a fiction author. But that's okay, I was expecting that.However, from an academic viewing, the book falls short as well. Being a non-History major, I had no idea of what sources were accurate and which were fictionalized for the purpose of presenting the information in an accessible way. There's also an extreme amount of bias in trying to paint Richard III as the innocent victim of a plot by Henry VII. It makes attempts to be unbiased, but it's so obviously not. You know what this book needs? Footnotes. Citations. Academic explanations and back-up to supplement the fiction. Right now, it's a cross between a novel and a text, without really fulfilling either purpose.

  • Tracey
    2019-04-14 14:50

    Also posted on my blog, with a little more blather.Edison single-handedly discovered electricity. Paul Revere made a midnight ride to warn village folk that the British were approaching. Of course, Christopher Columbus was the first European to discover America. Richard III had his two young nephews killed off in the Tower of London. These are some "the sky is blue, grass is green" basic truths of history.Well, the sky does, often, appear blue, and grass is, under certain conditions, green. As for the rest … Tonypandy, I say.No one ever said "Beam me up, Scotty" or "Play it again, Sam" in the original presumed sources for these lines. It's faulty collective memory – a strange alchemic reaction wherein reality is distorted. It's very unsettling to begin to realize how dependent we are on the information handed to us, and what it means when that is not reliable. It's a bit like when I realized as a teenager how full of shorthand medical dramas are, and how slippery real-life identification of disease can be: in many cases there's no such thing as a completely certain diagnosis. The layman has learned as a schoolchild that certain things are so, and certain sources – teachers, and the books they use – are unimpeachable, and usually doesn't have time, inclination, or resources to research beyond what was learned in school. Edison and Paul Revere and Betsy Ross and Richard III – clear-cut, unquestioned and unquestionable. The Bible is another avenue I could, but won't, explore here, the vast differences between translation and original text which have led to (perhaps appropriately) God knows how much trauma; Thomas Hoving has been instrumental in revealing to me how what you think you know about art may be just plain wrong, and what you think you're seeing may not be what you are seeing, and authorship is almost always just a little bit in doubt. The facts are less often facts than I find altogether comfortable. Look at the whole "Shakespeare-isn't" kerfuffle.No, wait - don't.I don't know much about how The Daughter of Time came to be written; in my imagination at least Tey came across inconsistencies as Gordon Daviot researched Richard of Bordeaux and she couldn't resist digging further. And then she couldn't resist presenting her startling findings, not in a scholarly paper for an audience she might have been less interested in but in a gorgeous novel for an audience she knew pretty well. It takes a shocking amount of skill to be able to write a book about a man lying in bed looking at a portrait and reading books and talking to people who come to see him and make it as absorbing as this. Because the only setting we the readers ever see is Alan Grant's hospital room – except, of course, for the times we follow him into the fifteenth century to explore Richard's milieu. The characterizations combined with near-perfect writing carry the day. Marta Hallard, returning from the brief, not altogether flattering appearance she made in The Man in the Queue, is magnificently self-absorbed, with a sort of self-reflective fondness for Alan which is more than an appreciation for how he looks on her arm – but not so very much more. Williams the ever-faithful makes his staunch presence known, and is as unstereotypical as always. The two nurses in and out of Alan's room, The Midget and the Amazon, are wonderful character sketches. And I love the Woolly Lamb – which little joke was played perfectly. The at-that-moment-inside joke was tossed out and left to hang in the air until Brent Carradine walked in the room, at which moment Marta's half-comment fell shimmering around him. That, my friends, is how to pull off a classy gag in a novel. I do love Josephine Tey. Alan himself is wonderfully well drawn, especially considering how little he actually appears in the books. Of just eight currently available books (there are more, which I will get my hands on somehow), he appears in six; of those six his role is tiny in one and far less prominent than, for example, Lord Peter in two or three of the others. And yet had you asked me before I reread the books I would have said he was on every page. He is not a "typical" detective, by any definition. Other mystery series heroes are of sensitive natures – there are poets in the oeuvre – but other than Lord Peter I can't think of another drawn in such strong but delicate lines. He is not simply businesslike about his business; like Peter, he sees the people he tracks down as people, and viewing them as such is able to consider the possibility of innocence even where it's improbable. And – like Peter – there is with the sensitivity and the high intelligence a fragility to him: his nature can – and will, in a later book – fight against itself. In this book the possibility is touched on. If Marta Hallard had not, with a perceptiveness and thoughtfulness often buried in the superficial layers of diva-ness, brought a packet of portraits to Alan's bedside, we can see that the depression and boredom might have gotten the better of him. He is not a man who abides idleness, and, perhaps, not a man completely comfortable in his own unrelieved company.The book I Love Paul Revere, Whether He Rode or Not … , which overturns a great many school-bred misconceptions about American history, had less power to shock me when I read it long ago than it might have had I not read The Daughter of Time first. Josephine Tey had already opened my eyes to the vagaries of history and historians, and demonstrated how the accounts of the past which I had been taught and had faith in as solid ground might in fact be the thin layer of shallow-rooted grass that covers a quaking bog. Paul Revere did not, in fact, ride, or at least not alone and not the whole distance – and Richard III, famous (in no small part thanks to Shakespeare) as the monstrous hunchbacked infanticide, was neither hunchbacked [ETA, of course, now that he's been disinterred: he had a severely curved spine, with, likely, one shoulder higher than the other] nor a baby-killer.It's all prime, grade-A, thorough-going Tonypandy. Which, since the link I originally used to illustrate that is apparently dead, refers to (from Wiki): "the commonly believed (but false) story that troops fired on the public at the 1910 Tonypandy Riot". (Sounds like the "Boston Massacre".) Much ado about, comparatively, nothing. At least if Paul Revere did not in point of fact ride as he is thought to have there is no terrible slander being done in the perpetuation of the story that he did, except in the diminishment (or elimination) of the roles of Dr. Samuel Prescott (who did complete the ride) and William Dawes (who got lost).Brent Carradine, the young scholar who comes to Alan Grant's aid in the novel, is outraged to discover the lies that have been perpetuated through the centuries, and enters into the quest for the truth with the zeal of the righteous. But he, too, had already had the scales knocked from his eyes by the facts behind another well-known mythos. The outrage and shock which the two men experience as they realize just how far from the truth the history books have strayed is in a way just the beginning: if this is wrong, how do we know what's right? History is written by the victors of any given conflict, and once it's down in paper and textbooks centuries of protests and refutations are not enough to bring the actual facts to light.To wit: Richard III seems to have been a pretty great guy.Had I world enough and time, I would love to trace the origins for the perceptual filters on Richard. Part of Shakespeare's slant was to please Queen Elizabeth, perhaps – a usurper can't be shown as a good ruler. Part may have been to skewer Cecil, who was a black-clad hunchback just as Richard is, and who hated theatre. There have been several attempts to rehabilitate how Richard is perceived, but none – including Tey's – have caught. (People still insist on saying "Play it again, Sam", too, no matter how often the incorrectness is pointed out.)I've read The Daughter of Time at least twice in my life, and it doesn't pall. If there is any sort of pattern to Josephine Tey's books, it is only that they're extraordinary, and never do the expected. In this, the man who has been in several other books the detective who investigates is flat on his back, and incredibly bored. The detailing of his boredom alone is worth everything: he's desperate, and the well-meaning attempts of his visitors to date have been miserable failures. It's wonderful, poor Alan.The Daughter of Time is a beautifully written, fascinating, just plain fun illustration of, on one hand, a man who handles boredom about as well as Sherlock Holmes but happily takes a different route to quell it. On another hand it is an apparently clear and incisive study of the facts of history and Richard, and a compelling case for his innocence. And on a third it is a disconcerting reminder that Wikipedia is far from the only unreliable data source in the world. Fourth, and certainly not least?It's a truly great book.

  • Madeline
    2019-04-06 15:49

    I want to give this book a higher rating based purely on the inventiveness of the plot: a detective for Scotland Yard, immobilized in the hospital by an injury, decides to occupy himself with a historical mystery - Cold Case, Hospital Edition, essentially. The mystery he eventually lands on is one that everyone has at least a passing knowledge of: Is Richard III the hunchbacked monster who stole his brother's throne and murdered his nephews, or was someone else responsible for the deaths of the infamous Princes in the Tower? (At this point, everyone who has read at least one non-fiction book about Richard will be rolling their eyes at my question and muttering, "well, duh, isn't it obvious?" You may be excused.)It's a great basis for a mystery novel: applying traditional detective techniques to a famous historical mystery, and if nothing else, I loved watching our detective investigate Richard III like he was just some everyday schmuck accused of murder. He reads various historical accounts of Richard (including a historical fiction novel, because it's just as important to see how Richard is portrayed in fiction) and asks the hospital staff questions about Richard exactly in the way a detective would interview a dead man's family and acquaintances to get a better picture of the man. So even when the story took a turn for the improbable, as it frequently does, I found myself getting sucked into the murder investigation and genuinely enjoying the ride. But aspects nagged at me constantly - specifically, the "history" presented in this book. The majority of the characters know very little about Richard, and so its reasonable that they would know only the pop-culture side of Richard. But at the same time, the detective and his immediate circle seem to have more of an in-depth knowledge of the Tudors and the Wars of the Roses, so the mistakes they make are baffling. Everyone starts out referring to Richard as a hunchback, and it's treated as a revelation when halfway through the story some character points out that Shakespeare actually might have taken some artistic license with Richard's life. In the book's most infuriating moment, the detective starts out researching Richard by reading Thomas More's biography of him, and then like forty pages later he smacks himself in the head and says, "Great Scott! Thomas More was employed by Henry VIII, the son of Richard's replacement! More's testimony is completely suspect!" and I was staring at the page shrieking "are you fucking kidding me? You know who Amy Robsart was but you can't remember that Thomas More worked for Henry VIII?" It was so clearly an attempt by Tey to create an early twist in the investigation, and I didn't believe it for a second. One thing to take into consideration, of course, is that this book was written in 1951, and Richard's historical reputation as a murderous villain was pretty much set in stone, so I guess it's understandable that the characters would believe all the myths about him. Or would they? That's another issue: at the time of publication, how revolutionary were the ideas Tey's detective was discovering? Towards the end a character says that although Richard had his defenders in the 17th, 18th, and 19th centuries; no one has written anything defending his reputation in the 20th century. That's obviously untrue now, but was it in 1951? I wasn't sure, and it made me genuinely curious about what sources were available to Tey at the time the book was written. It's really unclear how much is reliable and how much she just made up to suit her mystery. The lazy history of the story leaves me with a dilemma: who to recommend this to? Hardcore Tudor/Wars of the Roses scholars are out, obviously, because the first mention of Richard being a hunchback will have them throwing the book out the window. But at the same time, I would hesitate to offer this book to someone who knew nothing about Richard. I've read only one non-fiction book about the Wars of the Roses, and found myself frequently getting lost in the discussions of who married who and who was enemies with who. And as I said, the detective knows who Amy Robsart is, but if you don't you're out of luck, because she's mentioned early on as one of the historical cases that the detective isn't interested in, but there's barely any context provided, and Tey just assumes that we know all about Amy Robsart and her connection to Robert Dudley. Another annoyance to me was Tey's continuous dumping on historians and the whole study of history. One of the themes of the book is myth vs. fact, and how even people who know the truth of a story are likely to go along with the myth instead. Tey (or her characters, anyway) spend a lot of time lamenting this fact, and blaming historians for going along with the myths and not taking the time to discover the truth. A character actually goes so far as to say, "A man who understands about people hasn't any yen to write history. History is toy soldiers...it's moving little figures about on a flat surface. It's half-way to mathematics, when you come to think about it."While the history majors are all busy cleaning up the various liquids they just spewed all over their computer screens, I'll try to defend Tey's statement a bit. Again, this was 1951, when the study of history was done mainly by old white men who were only concerned with studying dead white men. The study of history has changed since then, and there's been more interest in looking at commonly accepted stories, like the idea of Richard III as a murderer, and seeing if there isn't more to the story. A character, talking about wanting to write a book about what he and the detective have discovered, says he wants to write about "how we stuck to things that actually happened and not what someone reported afterwards about it, and how we looked for breaks in the normal pattern that would indicate where the mischief was", which is exactly what modern historians do when they're researching someone. The research techniques described in the book may have been revolutionary in 1951, but there's nothing particularly startling about them today. The idea behind this book is fascinating and fun, but ultimately the history is just too questionable for me to enjoy the story as much as I'd like to. I wish I could have read it in 1951, when the ideas Tey is showing us were new and exciting. To modern readers, unfortunately, the book will remain just a slightly entertaining but frustrating, terribly dated story. Anyway, everything you need to know about Richard's reputation in history is already right here.

  • Sharon Penman
    2019-03-29 12:41

    When I've done book tours, so often people have come up to me and confided that they first became interested in Richard III after reading this book.

  • Nancy Oakes
    2019-04-13 12:52

    I have an extra copy of this edition of this novel if someone in the US would like it. I'll be happy not only to give it to you, but to also pay postage. Just leave a comment here & it's yours. **What a delightful book! This is maybe the third time I've read it, but now with a better background in medieval history, and historical theory in general, it made a lot more sense. The standard view is that the young princes Edward and Richard, the sons of King Edward IV (brother of Richard III) were murdered by their evil uncle. This is the story that went into the history books until revisionists took a closer look at the historical evidence & made a different claim, that it was actually Henry Tudor (the father of Henry VIII and the first Tudor king) who framed Richard III for the murder of the princes. This is the focus of Tey's novel. She introduces it by having her detective hero (Inspector Grant) being laid up in the hospital dying of boredom while he's there, giving himself the puzzle of who really killed the princes to work on during his stay. Tey points out that Tudor historians wrote the main and popular theory about Richard III, because they certainly wouldn't have been able to be objective under the Tudors. Based on the Tudor accounts, Wm. Shakespeare wrote his famous (and excellent) play, Richard III.Grant has as a partner in his "investigation" a young researcher who is able to find answers to Grant's questions based on the non-Tudor historical narratives. While it sounds very boring, the author is able to turn Richard III into a human being and we, the readers, begin to question the time-honored theory of the princes' deaths. What I found most intriguing were other examples of what was supposed to be time-honored historical "fact" that was really manufactured for political reasons.I would recommend this to someone who enjoys history, and especially the history of Lancaster & York (The Wars of the Roses). Otherwise , the reader might find it dull. Furthermore, I think that people who would gain the most from this particular book would be people who are willing to question long-standing historical views & even if you don't agree with the author, at least be willing to consider her point of view. Written in 1951, it still has the power to hold the reader's interest.

  • Kressel Housman
    2019-03-25 10:58

    As an American, I’m fairly ignorant about the history and succession of the British monarchs, and while my ignorance definitely hampered my appreciation of this book, I think it had other problems. Had it been historical fiction about the royals themselves, I would have related to them as characters and remembered which Richard, George, Edward, or Henry married which Elizabeth. Had it been a straight history book in which the author presented a thesis as to why Richard III could not have killed his nephews in the Tower of London, perhaps I would have concentrated better on the arguments. But this was the story of an injured detective piecing together clues from the historical record to clear Richard’s name, so the author’s theories are presented as dialogue between the detective and his research assistant. It struck me as gimmicky, and it didn’t even work as a mystery story because it was all dialogue and no action.Notably, the author calls the assistant a “research worker.” Heaven forfend she should call him a historian! She expresses quite a bit of cynicism about historians throughout the novel, particularly at the end. “Historians don’t care about what makes people tick,” she writes. “If they did, they’d become novelists.” Well, excuuuse me, Mrs. Successful Mystery Novelist. I used a history book, Great Tales from English History (Book 2), for background for your book, and it was more attention-grabbing than yours!But the book had one saving grace that earned it an extra star: the concept of “Tonypandy.” This is the author’s catchword for a myth that has become accepted as history. I can accept that history is full of Tonypandy and that we should think like detectives in assessing the evidence. I also agree with her statement early in the novel that a thousand children drowning in a flood in China is a news item, while a single child drowning in a swimming pool is a tragedy. People like history when it’s personalized, not generalized. That’s why I like reading memoir and biography. But there are plenty of historians who do manage to present the personal angle in their work, and I think they do a better job of it than this novel, which employed fictional dialogue to disguise what didn’t have to be a boring history lesson.

  • Krista Baetiong Tungol
    2019-04-14 08:07

    What if Richard III wasn’t the vile monster most history books claim him to be?Police inspector Alan Grant is jaded from his long hospital confinement on account of a broken leg, and takes up the suggestion of a friend to go over historical mystery to pass the time. From a stack of given portraits he is inexplicably drawn to the face of Richard III, whom he thinks (based on his claim of being a face-reading expert) looked rather too forlorn and in a “dreadful pain” to be a cold murderer. With some outside help, he ventures into the life and reign of King Richard III, and as he learns more about the man he also begins to wonder if history has been ruthless to the last Plantagenet king. This book is an interesting overture into Richard III’s life and the mystery behind the disappearance and/or the alleged murder of his two nephews (the Princes in the Tower). Josephine Tey gave plausible claims clearing King Richard of his supposed crimes by presenting who the man was before he was king and laying down his perceived personal and political motivation for claiming the crown. The author seemed to be critical of histories as told by the victors and referred to watered-down versions of truth or misconstrued historical facts as a “Tonypandy”, after the riots in this particular South Wales village during the 1900s were said to have been inaccurately chronicled. This is a good investigative read, although not decidedly appealing for me as it took me over a week to finish. I guess I got a little bored at the part where the characters muse over seemingly unimportant things, but on the whole it did not dull my appreciation for this book and Richard III. A Ricardian through and through! :)

  • Leta
    2019-04-09 12:44

    I've loved this book for years and when it came up in conversation recently I decided it was time to re-re-re-read it. Alan Grant, one of Tey's best character's is laid up in the hospital with a broken leg. To assuage the "prickles of boredom," Grant takes up the very cold case of Richard III - hero or villain? One of the best known of the "literary" defences of Richard, it is also just plain fun to read. Grant and his "research worker" consider the case from a policeman's perspective making what could be heavy paragraphs of historical information into the riveting evidence of the case. Quite a few "Richardians," as Richard's apologists are known, either began their interest in him after reading "The Daughter of Time," or glommed on to it shortly thereafter.I do note, of course, that as she was writing fiction, not history, so some facts that didn't fit her theories are conveniently ommited.Beautifully written, well paced, with interesting characters, this book is especially recommended for fans of medieval history but well worth reading by anyone. '....that King Richard, late mercifully reigning upon us, was through great treason of the duke of Norfolk and many others that turned against him, with many other lords and nobles of this north parts, was piteously slain and murdered, to the great heaviness of this city.'By the Mayor and Alderman of the city of York the day following the Battle of Bosworth.

  • Bam
    2019-04-01 08:04

    "Truth is the daughter of time, not of authority." Francis BaconAlan Grant of Scotland Yard is lying in a hospital bed with a broken leg and dying of boredom. His actress friend, Marta Hallard, suggests he look into some historical crimes and brings him several photos to spark his interest. It seems Grant prides himself on being able to read character in faces and when he sees the portrait of King Richard III, supposedly one of the great villains of all English history, he sees someone conscientious, a worrier. He is intrigued enough to request history books but as he reads, he begins to realize that they are filled with opinion and hearsay, not facts. After all, history is written by the winners. Marta introduces him to a young American named Brent Carradine, who is doing research at the British Museum, and Grant asks Carradine to help him find the facts, sticking to things that actually happened. Grant's question is the same one he uses in his investigations: Who benefits? Published in 1951, Tey's detective novel was voted #1 in the Top 100 Crime Novels of all Time in 1990 and remains a fascinating case study to this day. #2106-aty-reading-challenge-week-46: a crime story.