A marvellously twisty mystery by the Queen of mystery writers.
This is my fifth Tey novel and she just gets better with every one. The resolution in this novel is simply outre, considering the time period it was written in.
Still, about two-thirds of the way through I had a thought, short lived, about what might be the solution. And in the end, Tey's solution proved my solution correct, even though I had cast it aside. I guess this comes of reading hundreds of mysteries.
What a shame most people just read current authors. Oh, well, that just means some of these out-of-print books are more available to those of us who appreciate the older mysteries.
Josephine Tey continues to be about the only "Golden Age" mystery writer that I care for (although I have begun making inroads on Dorothy L. Sayers), and To Love and Be Wise continues my admiration of her writing.
The cast of characters sparkles. The celebrities are all eccentric in their own little ways. Some of them make you laugh, some of them make you shake your head, and some just make you want to slap them. The excellent working relationship of Grant and the trusty Detective Sergeant Williams is further explained. And that disappearance of Leslie Searle is truly puzzling-- although Tey plants a vital clue to its solution at the very beginning of the story.
More than anything else-- especially with Williams being pulled away to conclude a case in London-- the pace is slow and deliberate, as though Grant is taking a leisurely stroll through the suspect pool and trying the noose on each of them for size. And as he's sizing them up, the reader is allowed to do much the same. I found To Love and Be Wise quite refreshing. No electronics to fuss with. No serial killers to be in fear of. Just a very real puzzle: what on earth really happened to Leslie Searle? And... why didn't I pay more attention to that clue at the very beginning of the book? At the rate I'm going, I may actually become a fan of these classic mysteries!
One of Tey's Alan Grant series but not her most successful. But interesting for her view of London's social scene.
from the back cover The Wicked AmericanThe whole art colony at Salcott St. Mary would have agreed with popular authoress Lavinia Fitch when she remarked about her guest, Leslie Searle: Im sure he must have been something very wicked in ancient Greece.
This too-handsome, rich and famous young American had created havoc at Salcott: hed broke up an engagement, ruined a smug broadcaster, insulted a leading playwright, caused a public scandal
Thenwith several girls madly in love with him, and several important men hating himhe disappeared strangelyand Inspector Grant of Scotland Yard was called in to investigate a case of possible amnesia, suicide or homicide