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Publisher's Summary

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.

What members say

Average Customer Ratings

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  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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  • Janice
  • Sugar Land, TX, United States
  • 10-05-17

No way out

I have only recently discovered Josephine Tey, and so far, 2 out of 2 are real winners. The Franchise Affair is not a thriller, nor is the crime a desperate or violent one. Yet the accusations made by Betty Kane against the Sharp women are serious enough to genuinely wreck their lives, whether proven true or false. Who is lying and who is telling the truth?Without having to paint the canvas in adrenaline, Tey builds tension as she reveals the true character of her characters. She is a master with words as she constructs a mystery to care about and to hope for justice to prevail. Carol Boyd’s reading is flawless, making this an excellent audible experience.

10 of 10 people found this review helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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Beautifully written, engaging story

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.

17 of 18 people found this review helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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A Great Novel from A Master

The narrator, Carol Boyd, is fantastic. Josephine Tey is one of the great classic British mystery of manners writers.

In this original and charming story, an eccentric woman and her daughter are accused of kidnapping and abusing a girl they picked up at a bus stop. She arrives home full of bruises and with the clothes on her back.

The girl's story is compelling and, of course, the women swear they've never seen her much less held her prisoner. The plot has some holes as large as the Chunnel but it's still a fun listen made better by a terrific narrator

If she wasn't held captive in the women's attic, where had she been for the month she went missing?

3 of 3 people found this review helpful

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  • Ilana
  • Montreal, Quebec, Canada
  • 04-17-12

An Instant Favourite

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.

7 of 8 people found this review helpful

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Loved it!

Very well done! You only have 2 of Josephine Tey's books so please add more ASAP! If you enjoy a good mystery, British culture, and great narration, you will enjoy this. If you need action, guts, and gore to enjoy a book then look elsewhere. It is simply a good clean story with a lovely British narrator.

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

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A beautiful book and equally beautiful performance

Aaahhh... Eight hours and nine minutes of delightful prose, an intriguing story and a perfect performance. It's so refreshing to find a novel that can leave the reader feeling enthralled, entertained and satisfied without the need to shock or horrify. Well done to Josephine Tay and Carol Boyd..the perfect combination!

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

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Great narration, great story.

Where does The Franchise Affair rank among all the audiobooks you’ve listened to so far?

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.

What was one of the most memorable moments of The Franchise Affair?

How contemporary a 1940's embedded context was to our own times.

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

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  • Greg
  • chesterton, in, United States
  • 12-01-16

A great second book after Bret Farrar

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.

4 of 5 people found this review helpful

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    4 out of 5 stars
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    3 out of 5 stars

Excellent narration, charming but dated 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.

9 of 12 people found this review helpful

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Fun, old fashioned story

Josephine Tay is one of those great old “English” (actually from New Zealand) writers of mysteries from the Early to Mid 20th Century. This one shows its age somewhat, since it is pretty sexist, but nonetheless has a great sense of mood and is very well delivered by the reader. Certainly a good pay to pass the time: not exactly a “who done it,” more a “what will happen next” story.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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  • Jane
  • 06-17-11

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.

6 of 6 people found this review helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
  • Knucklebones
  • 07-23-11

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.

5 of 5 people found this review helpful

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  • Jill Besterman
  • 11-16-16

A favourite story, with excellent narration

Any additional comments?

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.

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

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  • Julia
  • 01-19-16

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!

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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  • Juliet Bernad
  • 09-08-15

very enjoyable

I heard about this author on Woman's Hour and thought I would try her out.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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  • Davey B
  • 07-09-13

A change from the norm !

Would you consider the audio edition of The Franchise Affair to be better than the print version?

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 !!

What did you like best about this story?

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 !!

Which scene did you most enjoy?

Enjoyed the scene where the Head waiter said he recognised the "GIRL" and stood her whole story on it's head !!

Was there a moment in the book that particularly moved you?

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 !!

Any additional comments?

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!!

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
  • Gill Walters
  • 09-12-18

Wonderful story

This book tells a wondeful story that will have you gripped all the way through.

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    1 out of 5 stars
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  • Keith
  • 05-08-18

where is the rest of the story

not a bad book but what happened to tje girl who said she was kidnapped

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  • Sarah Gamp
  • 02-22-18

An absolute delight.

I enjoyed, ‘Daughter of Time’, so much I couldn’t wait to start another Josephine Tey novel. The Franchise Affair did not disappoint, if anything, it’s even better. Wonderful characters, great story and really well narrated (By Lynda Snell for The Archer’s fans). Give yourself a treat and get this book, you will definitely listen more than once.

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  • Janey
  • 06-07-17

Brilliant who dunnit

Any additional comments?

This is a really good, old fashioned yarn that I really enjoyed. Right from the first chapter it draws you in to the impossible situation the two accused find themselves in. One gathers the crime they are accused of must be false but, it is very difficult to see how it was done and I didn't guess who and what was involved until it is explained at the end. It is one of those books you cannot stop listening to. I thoroughly enjoyed it from beginning to the end. And it was very well read too. I will be looking out for more Josephine Tey books after listening to this, my first one.

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  • oceanjasper
  • 05-05-17

An intriguing story beautifully narrated.

The Franchise Affair is my first experience with Josephine Tey and it won't be the last. The story has an intriguing set up and I couldn't predict where it was going. It turns out to be more of a howdunit rather than a whodunit.The prose is elegant, a pleasure enhanced by Carole Boyd's superb narration. Her expressive yet measured tones are perfectly suited to the material and help to recreate the bygone world of English village life.

Some of the characters' attitudes would be objectionable today, but this book is a product of its time and should be appreciated as such. I thoroughly enjoyed listening to this beautifully written tale of mystery and suspense.