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.
This book is an example of what I mean when I tell people history is like a detective story: you don't have all the information, your witnesses might be mistaken or lying (and/or dead), you might not have a body, and you can probably piece together several plausible explanations of whodunnit.
In this book, a Scotland Yard detective who's stuck in the hospital starts investigating Richard III, and discovers that the one-sentence accounts his old schoolbooks gave (basically, "Richard was bad and killed his brother and the princes") are covering up a much more complicated story of missing information, bias, and propaganda. A lot of textbook-style history is like this, which is a shame, because it's so much more interesting when you don't try to force it into a simplistic, pre-determined story with no room for doubt or alternate interpretations!
For anyone who wants to know more about the history and debates over Richard III, you can check out the non-fiction account in "Royal Blood: Richard III and the Mystery of the Princes" by Bertram Fields.
Detective tale about a Miss Marple-ish character who, housebound while nursing an injury, sets out to find out if Richard III is really the "wicked uncle" that history has painted - and exactly who murdered the Princes in the Tower. A great read!
This book was one of the best I have ever read. Although it is fiction, it delves into an ancient mystery and uses history. I often wondered how a man like King Richard III changed so suddenly in his beliefs and morals to "murder" his 2 nephews. This book opened my mind to the possibility, and I believe truth, that the murder actually belongs to King Henry VII. Highly recommended!
Josephine Tey's classic about a bed-bound policemen who entertains himself by invesigating the centuries-old mystery of Richard III and the princes in the tower. The characters are engaging and I thoroughly enjoyed learning about this period in English history.
This was an interesting, easy read. Different than I expected, but good none the less. I've always enjoyed delving into Plantagenet and Tudor history and this offered a slightly different perspective on things. Not your typical mystery novel.
#5 Inspector Alan Grant mystery--I hadn't realized when I chose it that it was part of a series. I thought it was a standalone as I hear this book mentioned all the time but had never heard of the other books in the series even once. I've even seen other books modeled after this plot--a police detective hospitalized and physically incapacitated who uses his mental muscles to solve a crime--in this case, one that is centuries old.
Attempting to snap him out of the rut of boredom, Alan's friend Marta brings him a sheaf of photos and prints of interesting faces (Alan's weakness!) of people throughout history--and the one that intrigues him is that of King Richard III, the one who was accused of killing off his two nephews, 'the princes in the Tower.' The portrait Alan sees makes him think that the man could not be a murderer, so he sets a young friend of Marta's to doing some research to see what proof exists to convict Richard--and finds, to his amazement, that far from proving his guilt, much evidence exists to exonerate him.
He certainly comes up with a lot of interesting evidence, and by the end of the story managed to convince me, and I guess a lot of other people over time too, that history books sometimes have got a lot to answer for. (The book is a classic, written in 1951--the author died the following year and never got to see just how revered it became.)
It's not your standard whodunit by any stretch of the imagination and of course is quite dated, but a very interesting and well-done book.
I first read this book years ago, when I was devouring British detective fiction. Loved it then, love it even more now. This is the next to last in the series of five about Inspector Grant. Still, Daughter of Time is certainly the best of the lot intellectually, as the lead character is in a hospital bed and the detective work is about researching the character of Richard III, who has come down through the ages as a kind of monster: ruthless, deformed, nasty. Even Shakespeare tok up the notion of his being a hunchback with a withered arm and a huge grudge who became king by being ruthless and killing even his adolescent nephews. Is that all true? Inspector Grant spends his convalescence trying to find out. If you like this, I also recommend the last of her series: The Singing Sands (1952) which is, like this, less go-get-the-culprit detective fiction, and more character study.
This story really stuck with me! I loved the thought process Inspector Grant uses to reach his conclusion about the famous mystery - what happened to the princes in the tower? Did Richard III really have them killed in cold blood?
I read this book in high school. It was recommended to me by my mother who loves mysteries. I'm usually pretty indifferent to them, but this was a neat blend of historical fiction and a who-dun-it. Years later I went to London and walked around the Tower and went to the Portrait Gallery and saw the painting which inspired Inspector Grant. It was one of the coolest moments for me!
I highly recommend this book to mystery lovers as well as people who enjoy history.
You are not a mystery buff, really, if you cannot say you've read Tey's "The Daughter of Time" and Agatha Christie's "The Murder of Roger Ackroyd." Can anyone suggest other titles of this extraordinary level?
Josephine Tey was, of course, a master writer of detective stories, but this one is my favorite. Her hero, Inspector Grant, is laid up in the hospital, and relieves his boredom by figuring out whether King Richard III was really the monster history (and Shakespeare)portrayed him and who really killed the Princes in the Tower. In view of the recent discovery of Richard's long-lost grave, readers might find this fictional book on a historical question more relevant than pure escape literature.
I'm not a great fan of English history and while I do recognize some of the players, it got tedious. The book is well written and is a page turner so those who are interested in what happened to the young princes in the Tower, you will enjoy this book. One note, my copy was missing pages 161-176. The binding is intact so I assume it was a publishing error.
Jean G. (gianna) reviewed The Daughter of Time (Alan Grant, Bk 5) on
One of my all time favorites and ranked #4 of the 100 Best Mysteries.
A very nice audio version. complete and unabridged.
Derek Jacobi (Brother Cadfael, I Claudius) does a great job with the various voices.
A fine reading of the classic historical mystery about Richard III and the crimes attributed to him in Shakespeare's play and sir Thomas More's account.
As in her other novels, Tey has the ability to engage the reader's emotional partiality for her favorite characters, and dislike for her villains, who come to life in vivid colors. She could write circles around the other queens of classic crime, Sayers and Christie, though her plots, as she admitted herself, were not original.
Inspector Alan Grant of Scotland Yard, recuperating from a broken leg becomes fascinated wtih a contemporary portrait fo Richard III that bears no resemblance to the Wicked Uncle of history. Could such a sensitive, noble face actually belong to one of the world's most heinous villains- a venomous hunchback who may have killed his brother's children to make his crown secure? Or could Richard have been the victim, turned into a monster by the usurpers of England's throne? Grant determines to find out once and for all, with the help of the British Museum and an American scholar, what kind of man Richard Plantagnet really was and who killed the Little Princes in the Tower. This is an ingeniously plotted, beautifully written, and suspenseful tale, a supreme achievement from one of mystery writing's most gifted authors.
I love historic fiction and this novel certainly had a fascinating way of bringing history to life. Inspector Grant is stuck in bed with a broken leg and gets horribly bored, so instead of giving into the boredom he decides to solve a murder, a very old one.