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The Daughter of Time

The Daughter of Time

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The Daughter of Time

4/5 (138 valutazioni)
227 pagine
4 ore
Jan 8, 2013


Written by Scribd Editors

Book five in the Inspector Alan Grant Mystery series, The Daughter of Time is considered one of the best mysteries of all time. In this historical fiction, author Josephine Tey crafts a chilling and suspenseful story around the true mystery of who murdered the princes in the tower.

Inspector Alan Grant is in the hospital recuperating from a broken leg. While he's resting, he becomes fixated on a portrait of Richard III. In the portrait, he looks very sensitive and gentle. But in history books, his name always appears in relation to the murder of his two nephews. It is a widely accepted theory that he hired a man to kill his nephews as a means to secure his throne. But now Grant wonders whether the stories are true or if he was simply made out to be the monster?

With the help of an American scholar and the British Museum, Grant is determined to carve out the truth. Readers of historical fiction and mystery are sure to love this well-written and incredibly suspenseful story.

Jan 8, 2013

Informazioni sull'autore

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.

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Anteprima del libro

The Daughter of Time - Josephine Tey


Chapter 1


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

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

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

You sound constipated, said The Midget.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Did I waken you, Alan?

No. I wasn’t asleep.

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

I can’t read anything.

Are you in pain?

Agony. But it’s neither my leg nor my back.

What then?

It’s what my cousin Laura calls ‘the prickles of boredom.’ 

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

Small nothing. It’s like being beaten with nettles.

Why don’t you take up something?

Improve the shining hour?

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

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

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

God forbid.

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

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

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

My only interest in chess is pictorial.


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

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

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

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

As what, for instance?

Say, the casket letters.

"Oh, not Mary Queen of Scots!"

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

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

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

"Very silly."

Oh, Alan, how can you!

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

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

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

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

Why do you think that?

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

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

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

Martyr to what?

Her religion.

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

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

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

He looked at Marta and found that she was smiling.

Are they a little better now? she asked.

Are what better?

The prickles.

He laughed.

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

How do you know so much about Mary?

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

And didn’t like her, I take it.

Didn’t like what I found out about her.

You don’t think her tragic, then.

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


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

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

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

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

The door opened and Mrs. Tinker’s homely face appeared in the aperture surmounted by her still more homely and historic hat. Mrs. Tinker had worn the same hat since first she began to do for Grant, and he could not imagine her in any other. That she did possess another one he knew, because it went with something that she referred to as me blue. Her blue was an occasional affair, in both senses, and never appeared at 19 Tenby Court. It was worn with a ritualistic awareness, and having been worn it was used in the event as a yardstick by which to judge the proceedings. (Did you enjoy it, Tink? What was it like? Not worth putting on me blue for.) She had worn it to Princess Elizabeth’s wedding, and to various other royal functions,

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  • (4/5)
    Inspector Alan Grant is bedridden in a London hospital, but his brain is all there, and he's going mad with boredom. To occupy his brain (it's pre-TV after all), he decides to look into the mysterious deaths of the two young princes in the Tower a few centuries back--were they murdered, as history seems to claim, by their uncle King Richard III to secure his kingship? Or were other forces at play?The book takes a very positive view of Richard III, which was not the prevailing bias at the time it was written. The only other thing I've read on the subject is The Sunne in Splendour, which also absolves Richard of the crime. In the present book, Inspector Grant opines that the negative view history had taken of Richard was partially the result of the position of his successors, the Tudors. The negative bias of the Tudors would also have influenced the negative portrayal of Richard in Shakespeare's plays. Unlike a conventional murder mystery, Grant has to go back to contemporaneous historical sources hundreds of years old to come to a conclusion, and we follow right along with him on this journey as he puzzles out what might have really happened. The NY Times has called this one of the best mysteries of all time, although I have to point out that it is quite different than most murder mysteries being published today.
  • (4/5)
    I'm so glad I finally got around to reading this classic mystery, which has a most unusual set-up. Tey's detective Alan Grant (this is the fifth in a series) is flat on his back in hospital with injuries incurred in the course of duty. He's bored out of his mind until his friend Marta gets him interested in trying to solve a historical mystery: Was Richard III really a monster who had his young nephews murdered in order to steal the throne of England?I confess that the parade of similarly named English royalty often confounds me, and I couldn't coherently distinguish between Edward II and Edward III, or the multitude of Henrys, without a cheat sheet. Fortunately Tey, through Grant and his legman, American researcher Brent Carradine, provides plenty of easily digestible background material to fill in the blanks. It's always pleasantly surprising when books where the conclusion is known in advance remain compelling to read (cf. Erik Larson's Dead Wake about the sinking of the Lusitania), and that was the case for me here. I knew the bloodthirsty image of Richard III promulgated by Shakespeare and others had been debunked, but I still followed every twist and turn in the story with anticipation. And Tey's ability to make a book set entirely in a hospital room compelling is a tour de force.I don't know if or how the rest of the series can live up to this singular book, but I think I'd like to give it a try.
  • (4/5)
    Detective is stuck in hospital for many months recovering from multiple fractures. While there he researches the truth behind Richard III and Henry VII. "Truth is the daughter of time, not authority" Francis Bacon
  • (5/5)
    “Truth is the daughter of time, not of authority” (Francis Bacon). If you don’t enjoy History and research, stay clear, for the book is all about both. Despite the main character is stuck in a hospital bed, Miss Tey made the most of one of the biggest mysteries of our time: the “princes in the Tower.” She did an incredible amount of research and if she didn’t set out to debunk myths, at least she put lots of doubts in her readers’ minds. (Among the myths she mentions is that of the 1910 Tonypandy Riot, when troops fired on the public at the 1910, which was not true.) The Daughter of Time is actually truth and it is said she based her fiction upon Clements Markham's “Richard III”—a book I can’t wait to get my little fingers on! I am not an expert on English history, far from it, but I always thought, from the little I knew of Richard III, that the murder didn’t fit his profile. Tey’s points are very well made and the thing that struck me the most was the fact that what is considered “historical account” was actually based upon Thomas More’s account. More was 7 years old when Richard died in 1485. His book The History of King Richard the Third was posthumously published in 1557 (More died in 1535), based upon the manuscripts her worked between 1512/1519. He lived under Henry VII (Tudor). It is interesting to notice that Tudor was a bastard branch, therefore, not in direct line to the throne. With the death of Richard, a line of heirs had the precedence over Henry Tudor, including his (illegitimate son, John of Gloucester. From Edward IV (his brother): Edward and Richard (the “princes in the Tower”), Richard of York, Elizabeth, Cicely, Annie, Katherine and Bridget. From Elizabeth, Duchess of York (sister): John. From George, Duque of Clarence (brother): Edward, and Margaret. Quite conveniently, almost all of them disappeared after Henry Tudor became king. If the princes had been murdered when Henry landed in England why didn’t he use it as a banner to bring the British to his cause? Much more is in this book I couldn’t put down. A really fascinating read. (Incidentally, Tey is the nom de plume of Elizabeth Mackintosh, who also wrote as Gordon Daviot. So if you enjoyed this as much as I did, look for her other books. Everything I read by her so far was excellent.
  • (2/5)
    I wanted to love this book - so many people say it is the greatest detective story. I think I had better stick to more middle-brow topics. Between all the Elizabeths and Edwards, I was constantly confused. I had to look up words like "attainder". There were two family trees and I never got them straightened out in my mind. One of her other books might have been a better starting place for me. But I saw this at The Last Bookstore in Los Angeles and couldn't resist buying it.
  • (4/5)
    A detective recuperating from a fall investigates the mystery of the Princes in the Tower from his hospital bed. A had a little trouble following all the ins and outs of this when I wasn't familiar with all the historical figures referenced, but it was an entertaining read anyway, and I certainly understand the overall solution he comes to. I enjoyed the atmosphere of this book a good deal, as well.
  • (3/5)
    The writing style made this one kind of hard to get thru for me. Fortunately it's pretty short. I did enjoy reading her obviously well-researched theories about what really happened to the two princes.
  • (4/5)
    Just as delightful as all the reviewers and fans of Josephine Tey suggest it is, to follow Alan Grant's bed-bound investigation of the historical sources and what they fail to prove about Richard III's supposed murder of his young nephews, "the Princes in the Tower". I loved it. And I admire the way Tey used the "frame" of Grant being frustrated by inactivity, latching on to a portrait of Richard, bouncing from that to research aided by more-than-willing young American student who needs a thing of his own to pursue. Usually that kind of set-up dooms a book for me, or at least distracts immensely from the central mystery. But I actually enjoyed it in this case. My only quibble is that the American sounds rather British a lot of the time!
  • (5/5)
    Very enjoyable
  • (4/5)
    Read this for library book group. The was done to compare with "A Murder Is Announced" by Agatha Christie, which was written the same year. Very different styles and themes between the two authors. We understood that had a discord between them, but we couldn't find out the reason. I really struggled with this, hence the lower rating, since I'm weak in old English history, and royalty in particular. There was a family tree in the front of the book that was invaluable in my being able to finish. It was very well written, and suspense was raised several times through the story. This was my first experience with Tey, and a understand this was here best work, which leaves me less than enthusiastic to read more of her. We'll see.
  • (4/5)
    One of the rare books that conveys the shear addictive glory of researching. It isn't so much the matter of what is being investigated it is how. It is a paean to the use of primary sources and wonderful reminder that conventional wisdom, even the conventional wisdom found in schoolbooks, should not be blindly accepted.
  • (4/5)
    Great mystery but a little knowledge of the War of the Roses era in British history will help you enjoy the book even more.
  • (3/5)
    We read this while reading Shakespeare's "Richard III" because the book questions whether Richard is in fact innocent of killing the boys in the tower (we later used it to help provide evidence for a mock trial of Richard). I thought it was pretty convincing that Richard was innocent (so much so that I joined the Richard prosecution because I thought it would be harder). It's definitely a good source for a mock trial.
  • (4/5)
    Where I got the book: my local library.Inspector Alan Grant has a broken leg and is trapped in a hospital bed. This being the 1950s he has no handy TV, internet or video games, and not even a cell phone with which to make his subordinates' life a misery. Therefore, he is thrown back onto thinking. A helpful friend brings him a stack of portraits to think about (he likes faces, being a copper) and he seizes on the portrait of Richard III. Could a man with that face, he thinks, really be the murderous villain portrayed by history? With the help of a pleasant young American researcher and a few history books, he sets out to investigate.I think the first thing that struck me about this novel was that a hospital would keep a broken leg in for THAT LONG (the early days of the NHS indeed!) And then, was it really a novel? More like a revisionist history of Richard III validated by the remove afforded by fiction. But that's a mere gripe in the face of Tey's elegant prose and sheer thinking power. It made me more interested in Richard III and far more likely to read historical works about him in the future, so even if it WAS a funny kind of mystery it was a good history-mystery. A new genre, in a way. I'd like to see someone do it again. Recommended.
  • (4/5)
    The recent confirmation that the bones discovered beneath a Leicester car park are those of Richard III drew me back to Josephine Tey's excellent historical detective novel. Inspector Grant is hospitalised with a spinal injury and in an effort to keep away the "prickles" of boredom takes up the case of why Richard III murdered the Princes in the Tower - only to find that there is no evidence he did so. A fabulously engaging novel that actually draws you in to the process of historical research using original sources (Grant is assisted by a young American historian who does all the digging in the archives). Really enjoyable and will make cynical about popular history AND make you want to join the Richard the Third society and clear his name. Recommended to mystery fans and historians alike!
  • (4/5)
    What a well-written book! A treat to read, both because of the writing and because of the subject matter. The facts marshaled were convincing and the modern-day characters were sympathetic. Deft touches of humor were scattered throughout, and though the form could have been awkward, it was not. I kept thinking of My Dinner With Andre, though.
  • (3/5)
    An unusual 'mystery' book in that it's a policeman's approach to unravelling a historical crime. And all the document research is done remotely, using a research assistant and a library. Ah the days before the Internet...but I love it that I can do a quick Google search to find a portrait of Richard III, and a Wikipedia search to get the characters straight. Recommended to those who enjoy reading about English history and thinking about how history is written.This is my 3rd Josephine Tey book. None have been page turners as far as mystery novels go (absolutely nothing like Agatha Christie, my favourite), but this one and Miss Pym Disposes were charming reads. I'll try Brat Farrar next.
  • (4/5)
    Alan Grant is laid up in the hospital after a fall through a trap door, and incredibly bored as a result. Best-sellers brought by well-meaning friends do not help his situation, but when Marta brings him some historical photographs, he suddenly takes an interest. Grant studies faces, and he comes across a photograph of a man he would have guessed to be a leader and a good man - only to find out it is Richard III. Surprised at his uncharacteristically wrong guess, he embarks on a research project to find more about the last Plantaganet king and the mystery of the murder of his nephews.For a story in which there is not much action and little immediacy, the pace is fast and the mystery surprisingly intriguing. I enjoyed Tey's dry sense of humor from the beginning, and once Grant started sending people off to research Richard III and continuing with historical tidbits, I was pretty well hooked. I think I would have followed Grant and his friends' research better had I been better versed in the history of the British monarchy. As it was, there was one chapter thick with historical summary that bored me incredibly. I also wished for a bibliography or author's note or something as an endnote to tell me where to look up more information about Richard II or Henry VII or the Princes in the Tower. I was intrigued enough, however, to follow up with a nonfiction title and will certainly read more by this author in the future.
  • (5/5)
    Read The Daughter of Time - that really is magnificent. I haven't done any research on the matter myself, but if Tey is correct in her reporting the conclusion is undeniable. And the fact that such a theoretically dry concept - correcting history's verdict on Richard III - is an engaging story as well shows how good a writer Tey is. I love this story. The history is fascinating (I knew basically nothing about the era before I read this the first time; now I've read quite a few about the Wars of the Roses and the immediate aftermath, but this doesn't lose any power thereby); the characters are magnificent. I love the way they're described so that I can see them perfectly, without bothering with anything as unimportant as, say, hair color. The Amazon, the Midget, the woolly lamb, Marta, Sergeant Williams, Mrs. Tinker...this was my introduction to Grant and his friends and colleagues, and a very good introduction it was. I also enjoyed the Tonypandy theme. I knew about the Boston Massacre before I read the book; I forget about the Welsh (Tonypandy itself) and Scottish examples shown here in between readings of the book, but the concept remains.It's very difficult to review this, because it's so firmly embedded in my worldview now. I first read it more than 10 years ago - 15? 20? - now it's like revisiting an old friend. The story is less important than the small stuff, the parts I forget about between readings. It's also one of very few audio books I enjoy - I have the Derek Jacobi reading, and love the way I can tell who's speaking every time without anything as obvious as names or blatant accents. Wonderful book, will reread again and again...
  • (3/5)
    When Thomas More, a certified Saint , and Big Bill Shakespeare light out after you, you just don't have much a chance, do you? This is definitely a book that established a sub-genre of fiction, and its influence can be found in Biography, and even political science. Well done, Josephine Tey!
  • (4/5)
    Really good but boy do you have to brush up on your History before starting this. I dived in as if it were a regular novel but had to take numerous breaks just to make sure I understood a bit about the period so as not to become lost with the cast of characters. Very clever premise and surprisingly engaging investigation seeing that it's one into a murder that's centuries old. Tey's excellent at making instinct seem like a plausible justification for drawing conclusions. I love her. Really original novel.
  • (4/5)
    Enjoyed this one & don't recall when I read it. Donating as I'm clearing my bookshelves for a move.
  • (4/5)
    Classic mystery with an absolutely timeless feel. The narrative device of Grant laid up in the hospital and the two nurses plus Marta and the researcher worked brilliantly. I was not familiar with this time in history and Tey certainly makes the case for what do we really know about history - consider the source.
  • (4/5)
    This is the least active detective story you can possibly imagine. It happens entirely in one room, but it's not at all boring. Inspector Grant has been incapacitaed by falling through a trapdoor while chasing a felon. And is, thus, restricted to bed and as bored as it is possible to be. His friends buy him books, but it isn't until Marta turns up with some pictures of people that are involved in various mysteries that he begins to perk up. The last face is one that he decides is a kind, fair man who would be on the bench, not in the dock. So is stunned to discover that it is Richard III, the murderer of the princes in the Tower. He badgers the nurses to get him histories, then is presented with Brent, an American who is over following his beloved to London and amusing himself by doing research in the British Museum on the side. Bit by bit Grant sends Brent out to ferret for information, which he duly does. And between them the debunk the Richard III are murdered myth - putting Henry VII firmly in the dock instead. None of which I feel is a spoiler. But it is an inventive idea for a mystery. The murder is ages old, the detection is academic, not physical and the truth can never be proven for sure - on the balance of probability is the best you can expect at this remove. I imagine if you're not familiar with this period of English history then this book is a complete mystery to you. Having a reasonable grounding, I recognised most of what they uncovered, and so the only mystery to me was who they would pin the murder on. I listened to this, narrated by Derek Jacobi, who took great deligh in doing the voices of the nurses, complete with accents. I thought some of the observations made by Grant were great, exactly as mean spirited as the bored can be. This was a fun listen and I can see why it remains a classic, if atypical, mystery,
  • (4/5)
    This book is almost pure pleasure from beginning to end, as a London police detective, convalescing in a hospital, cures his boredom by investigating the murder of the Princes in the Tower, supposedly at the instigation of King Richard III, which occurred over 450 years earlier. Reading this book in the 21st Century, this reader can't appreciate the apparent novelty it had when first published, as a clever new way to write a mystery. But I can appreciate the sheer interest of the story, as the detective and a young American doing research at the British Museum, work to separate hearsay from facts and reconstruct the series of events leading to Richard being accused (and convicted in the mind of the public for hundreds of years) of the murders of his nephews. The book loses a star simply because there isn't any mystery at this point as to what the outcome will be. From the earliest chapters, the evidence against Richard begins to fall apart. A couple of attempts to introduce some suspense and doubt later in the book are unsuccessful. Along the way, however, we get a few very important lessons about accepting what we read as history as fact. Tey provides several good examples of where accepted history is sheer bunk. To an average, or even historically-minded American reader, these examples aren't very familiar, however, although we can think of parallels in our own history.Again, this book is a lot of fun to read, and it is a pretty good page-turner. It should be required reading for any history major or anyone who reads history.
  • (5/5)
    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.
  • (3/5)
    A bed-ridden and bored Inspector Grant is given a selection of portrait prints to ease his contemplative burthen. Richard III's portrait catches his attention; he cannot reconcile the face in the portrait with the crimes assigned to the man. With the help of a young American researcher, Grant applies his forensic skills to arrive at a reconciliation.The journey is largely an intellectual one conducted entirely from a hospital bed, and is supported by documentary (offstage) evidence gathered by the young researcher. Keen historians of the period will anticipate the journey, but should not be deterred from tramping over this familiar ground - the journey is as important as the destination. Non historians may be surprised.
  • (5/5)
    In my top 5 books of all time. Sparked a love of British history for me.
  • (3/5)
    Love Inspector Grant, was a little confused by this story. It follows a lot of English history that I didn't know. I always love Tey's writing, though.
  • (4/5)
    Interesting little mystery. It must have been shocking when it first appeared if Richard III was in fact so reviled. I have read about most of this, so none of it was entirely surprising to me, but I did like the way it was laid out. There are a few flaws in the logic, but overall really well done and straightforward. I liked it, and undoubtedly would have liked it more if I actually enjoyed mysteries (rather than solely reading it for Richard III).