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"In the city of my birth, I had a dream..."
The Daughter of Time by Josephine Tey 
12th-Apr-2008 11:59 pm
Tey, Josephine. The Daughter of Time. 1951. New York: Scribner, 1995.
          Summary: Driven to distraction by boredom while recuperating from a broken leg, Inspector Alan Grant is persuaded to do a bit of historical sleuthing. With the assistance of American scholar Brent Carradine, he concludes that King Richard III was actually a reasonable man and that it was Henry VII that had Richard's nephews murdered.
          Comments: I'm not normally a mystery fan, especially not of vintage British crime fiction a la Agatha Christie, but this compact, masterfully executed novel hit just the right spot at a moment where I was desperately craving quality literary fiction. Though Grant is very much the hardboiled detective, romantically unattached and obsessed with his work, The Daughter of Time does not, in generic mystery fashion, make particular effort to subtly reveal the whodunnit early on. Instead, the story takes us deeper, deeper, like an academic investigator, reading the archives and reconstructing a plausible historical narrative. (Tey also gratuitously includes some politically reactionary asides, particularly with regards to the Scots.) In any case, it's all quite believable, even if it is a bit too pat in the end. I'd never read or even heard of Josephine Tey before finding this book by chance on the remainder pile; now I'm dying to read more.
          Notes: trade paperback, 24th printing
          Rating: 7.5/10 - A lovely little novel and the perfect object of study for anyone interested in writing a mystery themselves.

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