Tey's answer to this question has provoked controversy and caused this title to be ranked as the 4th Best Mystery of all time by the Mystery Writers of America!
©1951 Elizabeth MacKintosh; (P)2009 BBC Audio
I am not a history buff, and know little about English history, including Richard III. I know and understand much more now after having listened to this book. It is fascinating to follow the logic and the evidence that is used to expose the "untruths" our historians have been recounting. The author did an excellent job of explaining to a listener knows nothing about this time or its politics enough to comprehend the meaning of the revelations being exposed. I was a bit disappointed to see it end.
The story itself is a little simplistic, but I learned later that this book was published in the 1950's, well before cell phones, the Internet, and the onset of our skepticism, so I found I could forgive this. Don't expect a great literary expose on Richard III and his hapless nephews. And don't expect any proofs or hard evidence. The author makes no claims for either. But further investigations disclosed that these are truly not new ideas, even to this century. In fact, true historians for this period will probably be fully aware of this theory, and may even endorse it.
I came away questioning what other historical accounts are the result of political censorship, especially in these modern times.
Judge for yourself. I think most will enjoy it. Some will not be able to get past the history. Their loss, I fear.
As a reader of English history, mystery fiction, and a fan of Derek Jacobi, I thoroughly enjoyed this reading of a mystery classic. My sister, a mystery fan, was familiar with this book, but I had never read it. I'm glad I waited for the audio version. Jacobi brings just the right narrative emphasis to this classic story by a respected novelist that provides a reasoned theory as to the REAL identity of the murderer of the young English princes in the Tower of London. Overall, I found it listenable, entertaining, and satisfying!
I was reminded of this classic in my audio library when I read about the news that the remains of Richard III had been found. This is one of the books that made me a fan of historical fiction. It's a great plot device to have all the evidence examined from a modern perspective by a police detective who is confined to hospital bed and working on the "cold case of Richard III" to stop himself from dying of boredom as he recuperates. I was convinced by the conclusion he reached and this is the version of the princes in the tower that has stayed with me. Also, this is also the book that sent me looking for more works by Josephine Tay. It was worth the credit. I recommend it.
I was very happy to see a Josephine Tey mystery made available on audio! And Derek Jacobi is a real treat to listen to! But, I do agree with an earlier reviewer who questioned the choice of this particular novel for a first audiobook. I can only hope that more Inspector Grant mysteries become available very soon!!
I read this book 20 years ago, and it opened my eyes to the allusion of history as truth. Ever since, I have been doubtful that the Shakespearian view of Richard III had much merit. And while the storyline is pedantic and kind of slow moving, Derek Jacobi's inflections, varied accents, and characterizations pumped real life into the plot. I laughed out loud at some of the exchanges between characters, because he made them so entertaining. Altogether, an audio experience worth the purchase.
Excellent, well written. I first came across this over 25 years ago and while I've listened to hundreds of books since then, I still enjoyed this one.
Richard III came off poorly in Shakespear's version of his life and this opened my eyes to a much different man who might have very well been a good king had he had more time.
Everything by this first class performer is worth listening to.
You'll want to savor this because it ends all too soon.
What a great angle for the Richard III story. The only problem with this book is that it is too short!
When a mystery novel by a popular author makes it into the scholarly world as a source for Richard III (this happened with Daughter of Time by Josephine Tey in Cliff Notes) the reader knows he's onto something very special. A London detective, hospitalized with a broken leg, is helped out of his boredom by a friend who brings him portraits of famous, unidentified people and challenges him to define the character just from the portrait. Having always prided himself on his ability to "read" the faces he encounters in his real world, he accepts the challenge, only to find that he has classed Richard III as a good, generous, kindly judge, rather than the killer of his two helpless nephews in the Tower of London, in order to claim the throne. This starts him out, with the help of a young American researcher who brings him books and references from the British Library, on a detective search to prove Richard innocent of the crime which Shakespeare fastened to his name for all time. Any history lover will exult in this book. It challenges as well as entertains.
The story told here is truly fascinating; it brings history alive in a way I could never have imagined. It should be required reading for anyone interested at all in the history of England
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