Josephine Tey (1896 – 1952)


15954_1Josephine Tey, pseudonym of Elizabeth Mackintosh, (born 1897, Inverness, Inverness-shire, Scot.—died Feb. 13, 1952, London, Eng.), Scottish playwright and author of popular detective novels praised for their warm and readable style. A physical education teacher for eight years, Tey became a full-time writer with the successful publication of her first book, The Man in the Queue (1929), which introduced Inspector Grant of Scotland Yard. In 1937 she returned to crime writing with A Shilling for Candles, but it wasn’t until after the Second World War that the majority of her crime novels were published. She wrote some novels and the majority of her plays under the pseudonym Gordon Daviot. Among the plays is Richard of Bordeaux (produced 1933), a stage success in London and New York. Her detective fiction, written under the pen name Josephine Tey and frequently featuring the fictional investigator Inspector Grant, includes Miss Pym Disposes (1947); The Franchise Affair (1949), based on a real case from the 18th century; The Daughter of Time (1951), a historical novel dealing with Richard III’s implication in the murder of his two young nephews; and The Singing Sands (1952). (Source: Britannica and Fantastic Fiction).

Bibliography: The Man in the Queue aka Killer in the Crowd (1929), A Shilling for Candles (1936), Miss Pym Disposes (1946), The Franchise Affair (1948), Brat Farrar aka Come and Kill Me (1949), To Love and Be Wise (1950), The Daughter of Time (1951) and The Singing Sands (1952).

Curtis Evans asks himself at The Passing Tramp: ‘And what are your favorite Teys?’ An he answers: ‘ I think it’s safe to sat that the Big Three are The Daughter of Time, Brat Farrar and The Franchise Affair, with Miss Pym Disposes perhaps nipping discreetly at their heels.  The other four Tey mystery novels tend to be comparatively neglected.  I soon will post a review of one of the latter four books.’

An Martin Edwards wrote at ‘Do You Write Under Your Own Name?’: ‘The Daughter of Time is her most famous book, but I prefer the excellent Brat Farrar and The Franchise Affair.’

Besides, Martin Edwards included The Franchise Affair in his book The Story of Classic Crime in 100 Books.

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(Facsimile Dust Jacket, Peter Davies (UK), 1948)

Marion Sharpe and her mother seem an unlikely duo to be found on the wrong side of the law. Quiet and ordinary, they have led a peaceful and unremarkable life at their country home, The Franchise. Unremarkable that is, until the police turn up with a demure young woman on their doorstep. Not only does Betty Kane accuse them of kidnap and abuse, she can back up her claim with a detailed description of the attic room in which she was kept, right down to the crack in its round window.

But there’s something about Betty Kane’s story that doesn’t quite add up. Inspector Alan Grant of Scotland Yard is stumped. And it takes Robert Blair, local solicitor turned amateur detective, to solve the mystery that lies at the heart of The Franchise Affair…  (Source: Amazon)

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