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. It takes Robert Blair, solicitor turned amateur detective, to solve the mystery...
©1948 Josephine Tey (P)2014 Audible, Inc.
I loved this book, a real English countryside detective novel. It is sensitively written and subtle, with events slowly but surely overtaking the main characters. I don't want to give away the story, but if you enjoy Agatha Christie, Margery Allingham, or the other detective novels written in the same era, you will love this one. I will definitely explore this author further.
This book was beautifully read. Every character was distinct, and I never felt muddled as to who is speaking. There is a world of difference between performances and this one for me was top shelf - you are able to forget the speaker completely and immerse yourself in the story.
I love Josephine Tey and dearly wish more than three of her books were available on Audible. Of the three here, this is my least favorite. Carol Boyd's vocal performance is just to my taste-- enough to give the whole work color, but never sounding belabored. The story, though, trades in a lot of era-appropriate but gross-to-my-modern-ears classism and slut-shaming that definitely diminishes my appreciation of this otherwise solid Tey novel. The mystery is also solved more by chance and less by the characters' actions. So, worth owning for the Tey completist, very well-narrated, but not the place I would start with her work. Go for Brat Farrar first.
Audiobooks have literally changed my life. I now actually ENJOY doing mindless chores because they give me plenty of listening time!
Robert Blair is a sedate solicitor and the current head of a well established and respectable family firm in a small English town. He lives a quiet and predictable life with his aunt, who feeds him well. One day, he receives a surprising phone call from Marion Sharpe, the current resident of The Franchise, a old and run down house just at the outskirts of town. She asks him for help in a strange case; a young girl, Betty Kane, accuses Ms. Sharpe and her mother of kidnapping and imprisoning her in their attic and of having beaten her repeatedly, presumably in an attempt to bully her into becoming their servant. As strange and unlikely as the case may seem, the girl has a blameless reputation and is able to describe the house down to it's tiniest details to Scotland Yard, while the Sharpe ladies on the other hand are none too popular in the small town by virtue of them living at The Franchise. Our solicitor takes a liking to Ms Sharpe, decides the accused women cannot have committed such horrific acts, and sets out to prove their innocence.
I had heard many good things about Josephine Tey, and they were all true. Her characters and dialogue are unusual, and there are plenty of strange elements which kept this reader on her toes. Although this is the third book in the Allan Grant series, he plays a very minor role here, which makes it as good a start as any. Carol Boyd is a new narrator to me and has become an instant favourite, as has Josephine Tey.
I most enjoy reading spiritual books to nourish my soul; psychology books to enhance my profession; & psych thrillers for fun escapism.
except for the criminal case itself and the ending. The writing and narration are superb!
Both excellent for different situations
The moment when the evidence finally all came together.
All equally good
The last scene on the plane.
Vancouver Island, British Columbia, Canada
Yes, narrator had a good voice and was easy to listen to. Story was fine, just thought it wasn't much of a mystery. It was almost a romance.
Her character voices are excellent. She has a different voice for each character and doesn't forget or confuse voices during dialogue. The male characters' voices are portrayed as well as the female characters.
Yes. But, not if it was billed as a drama or romance. I would see a mystery.
It was a good book and I did enjoy it. But not nearly as much as the authors other story Brat Farrar. This one fell a little flat for me and with not enough twists and turns it became sweet and predictable.
Josephine Tey is a wonderful author, both in the story line and the language. Carole Boyd is one of the best audible performers I've ever encountered. This book has less joy than the Farrar book but is equally tightly drawn and ultimately satisfying. As another reviewer suggested I am glad I read Bret first, but I very much enjoyed the subtle sense of character in this book.
This is just stellar, great British mystery and fabulous narrator. I usually prefer male narration but this was the best of all I have enjoyed. There was no character she was not able to bring to life.
How contemporary a 1940's embedded context was to our own times.
It is always a joy in a cozy to see things work out. If you like gritty realism, go away! If you like a vacation from pain and sorrow, read on dear friend! You will like the characters, and sympathize with them. The Inspector takes a sideline here, and the lawyers for the Defense are our sleuths.
"A great reading"
This is one of my favourite books from a favourite author. Carole Boyd is a great narrator. Please, please can we have more Josephine Tey, especially the Inspector Alan Grant stories.
"Well-paced and intriguing"
A well-constructed tale of how a solicitor is drawn unwillingly into disproving the allegations made against two women, and of how his life is jogged out of its complacency as a result. Some may find this story, set in an English market town in the late 1940's, too simple and unhurried, but I thoroughly enjoyed it. Josephine Tey is a wonderful writer, bringing beautifully-observed detail and subtle wit to this intriguing story. And Carole Boyd is the perfect choice as narrator, with a well-paced and acerbic delivery that brings the characters to life. A wonderful gentle listen, and definitely one to play again.
"A favourite story, with excellent narration"
This is one of the (very few) books that I can read or listen to, again and again at intervals over the years, and find the same enjoyment each time.
"Well written and beautifully narrated"
Charming, well drawn characters, interesting plot. This book meets the criteria of increasing ones understanding of other people and their motivation. You can't ask for more!
I heard about this author on Woman's Hour and thought I would try her out.
"A change from the norm !"
Never been a good reader - too many distractions in my surroundings affect concentration - so, Audio Books have been my lifeline to literature for thirty years and I now have 500 plus titles in my library - this book has enthralled me since I discovered an abridged version 20 years ago and now the Audible unabridged book read by Carole Boyd has given me pleasure at least a dozen times !!
No frills descriptions and little bits of humour from the elderly ladies, for example - every time I listen now I have a picture in my mind's eye of Maggie Smith speaking the dialogue (and improvising her expressions) - Simple but effective dialogue from even the legal team and the police (with again a little fun) - as the characters developed through the book several changed from stuffy to (almost) human and from just incidental to concerned individuals - halfway through the book one could picture certain characters from their words and attitudes and not just from their physical description - brought it all to life for this reader/listener !!
Enjoyed the scene where the Head waiter said he recognised the "GIRL" and stood her whole story on it's head !!
I am a 67 year old man and yet my heart went out to the adoptive mother of the "GIRL" when she realized how little Betty cared for her family !!
I am enjoying two other Audible books at the moment but I will be re-open "THE FRANCHISE AFFAIR" A.S.A.P For me it's special even though Agatha Christie & Sherlock are closer to my normal read!!
"Good page turner"
Very well read; a real page turner with an excellent plot. Loved the unexpected twists and turns.
"A gentle and nostalgic tale"
Very enjoyable....rather dated but easy listening, especially when recovering from illness! It was extremely well read by Carole Boyd.
"Great story and brilliant narrator"
I listen to this over and over. Why can't all audiobooks be narrated by Carol Boyd?
"A new author for me...."
.... but look forward to listening to more... the story was well thought out, although a little predictable at times, and then right at the end there is an ahhhh moment, which is good for winter evenings. Carole Boyd narrates beautifully and brings each character to life.
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