Josephine Tey like Margery Allingham writes a great big story with exceptional depth of character in a small beautifully crafted book. This one is exceptional, even amidst an exceptional oeuvre, because of its original plot format and depth of the historical research that lurks unobtrusively in the background. It is particularly timely right now due to the recent discovery of the body of Richard III. I won't say more because I don't want to spoil the mystery!
I hope you enjoy it as much as I did.
No. They're both terrific.
Well, Inspector Grant, of course.
This is Josephine Tey's best novel, without question. She is a terrific writer, with great mastery of the English language and understanding of people and their motivations and character. It's a riveting tale, once you get into the hero's (Inspector Grant's) shoes: helpless in a hospital bed, a brilliant scholar, detective, and student of faces and character, presented with an anomaly---a mystery to unravel. Why does the most loathesome murderer of all time, have a face like a highly-respected judge? I have never read so much English history (or any other kind, for that matter) that is both scholarly and well-researched and reads like a novel--one that you can't put down. I have read the book 3 or 4 times, and heard it read by Derek Jacobi (he is marvelous) twice, and I still have a lot to learn. Not only about the English royal succession, but also about meticulous, persistent, patient police work. And, of course, there's that wonderful factor of men's characters being revealed step by step as Inspector Grant, aided by his enthusiastic sidekick, the woolly lamb, track down every original source in existence, about this time in history. I love this book (can you tell?) and you will, too.
I have read this book many times. Listening to it now, I can do two things at once.
I love old time mystery stories. Anything by Margery Allingham or Josephine Tey is great. There is a great non-fiction book entitled Women of Mystery by Martha Haley DuBose which gives great background information on many of the early female mystery writers.
This is the first of Mr. Jacobi's readings that I have come across. I am very familiar with his excellent acting. I enjoyed his reading and especially his impatient Inspector Grant.
Hard to categorize: The author is generally known as a mystery writer, and this is the last of her "Alan Grant" books, featuring a Scotland Yard detective. But this isn't a standard detective novel -- Grant is attempting to solve the mystery of the Princes in the Tower from his hospital bed, using other people as his research surrogates.
If you're not British, or if you don't have a good grounding in late 15th/early 16th century British history, you might well get lost in this book. There are also parts that would probably drag, if it weren't for the fact that Derek Jacobi is the one pulling you through them. (I find it *extremely* annoying that about half the audiobooks read by him are followed by that horrid word "abridged.")
I have loved this book since I first read it over 30 years ago, and Derek Jacobi brings it marvelously to life.
Alan Grant, detective, lies recovering in the hospital, bored out of his mind. One of his friends brings him pictures of people involved in famous mysteries or crimes, as Alan has made a career out of studying faces. One of the pictures, that of Richard III, King of England, captivates him, as Alan thinks Richard belongs on the judge's bench rather than the criminal dock. And the more folklore he hears about Richard, the more interested he becomes, resulting in a criminal investigation run from the hospital.
Do yourself a favor and don't miss this! You might end up doing some investigation yourself!
RPG, history and movie fan
I have recommended this audiobook to several friends. The story is wonderful and Derek Jacobi sometimes made me forget there was a single reader. This is a perfect production.
Having a detective, laid up in hospital, delve into the mystery of the Princes in the Tower was wonderful. You, the listener, discovered the clues and facts along with the protaganist.
Mr. Jacobi was magnificent! There were times when it actually sounded like TWO people were reading the story.
I was riveted by the story, such was its appeal.
I could not praise this story and its reading enough. It is as close to perfect as I could have asked for.
This is a horribly boring story about a man who is in the hospital and reads history books about a royal murder and he ponders on the acuracy of the history books in hopes to find the truth about the murder.
The story is the most disappointing part of the story. I purchased it because of the positive reviews but I have no idea why people like it!
The narration is excellent Derek has a lovey accent and perfect diction.
I would cut the whole story!
I will admit I haven't listened to the entire book but I am half way and am still bored. In my opinion if you have to suffer through more than half a book in order to find something interesting then it is not a good book.
I have loved this book since my great-aunt introduced me to it in 1953. I didn't think it could be improved upon, but I was oh, so wrong! Derek Jacobi's brilliant narration was, to use a cliché, the icing on the cake. A sheer delight from beginning to end.
Interesting audio book I have listened to twice. Drek Jacobi did a great job narrating it and Tey has a dry sense of humor. The controversy surrounding the death of the Princes In the Tower was new to me and I enjoyed nuanced deconstruction of popular myth. The novel is a biased and can be heavy-handed but holds up well for a 60 year old book. If I could, I would give it 4 1/2 stars.
I look forward to reading more Alan Grant stories.