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Inspector Alan Grant #5

The Daughter of Time

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Josephine Tey's classic novel about Richard III, the hunchback king, whose skeleton was discovered in a council carpark, and who was buried in March 2015 in state in Leicester Cathedral. The Daughter of Time investigates his role in the death of his nephews, the princes in the Tower, and his own death at the Battle of Bosworth.

Richard III reigned for only two years, and for centuries he was villified as the hunch-backed wicked uncle, murderer of the princes in the Tower. Josephine Tey's novel The Daughter of Time is an investigation into the real facts behind the last Plantagenet king's reign, and an attempt to right what many believe to be the terrible injustice done to him by the Tudor dynasty.

Inspector Alan Grant of Scotland Yard, recuperating from a broken leg, becomes fascinated with a contemporary portrait of Richard III that bears no resemblance to the Wicked Uncle of history. Could such a sensitive, noble face actually belong to one of the world's most heinous villains - a venomous hunchback who may have killed his brother's children to make his crown secure? Or could Richard have been the victim, turned into a monster by the the Tudors?

Grant determines to find out once and for all, with the help of the British Museum and an American scholar, what kind of man Richard III really was and who killed the Princes in the Tower.

222 pages, Paperback

First published January 1, 1951

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About the author

Josephine Tey

74 books707 followers
Josephine Tey was a pseudonym of Elizabeth Mackintosh. Josephine was her mother's first name and Tey the surname of an English Grandmother. As Josephine Tey, she wrote six mystery novels featuring Scotland Yard's Inspector Alan Grant.

The first of these, The Man in the Queue (1929) was published under the pseudonym of Gordon Daviot , whose name also appears on the title page of another of her 1929 novels, Kif; An Unvarnished History. She also used the Daviot by-line for a biography of the 17th century cavalry leader John Graham, which was entitled Claverhouse (1937).

Mackintosh also wrote plays (both one act and full length), some of which were produced during her lifetime, under the pseudonym Gordon Daviot. The district of Daviot, near her home of Inverness in Scotland, was a location her family had vacationed. The name Gordon does not appear in either her family or her history.

Elizabeth Mackintosh came of age during World War I, attending Anstey Physical Training College in Birmingham, England during the years 1915 - 1918. Upon graduation, she became a physical training instructor for eight years. In 1926, her mother died and she returned home to Inverness to care for her invalid father. Busy with household duties, she turned to writing as a diversion, and was successful in creating a second career.

Alfred Hitchcock filmed one of her novels, A Shilling for Candles (1936) as Young and Innocent in 1937 and two other of her novels have been made into films, The Franchise Affair (1948), filmed in 1950, and 'Brat Farrar' (1949), filmed as Paranoiac in 1963. In addition, a number of her works have been dramatised for radio.

Her novel The Daughter of Time (1951) was voted the greatest mystery novel of all time by the Crime Writers' Association in 1990.

Miss Mackintosh never married, and died at the age of 55, in London. A shy woman, she is reported to have been somewhat of a mystery even to her intimate friends. While her death seems to have been a surprise, there is some indication she may have known she was fatally ill for some time prior to her passing.

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Displaying 1 - 30 of 4,068 reviews
Profile Image for Bill Kerwin.
Author 1 book81.9k followers
November 14, 2019

Perhaps the oddest and best mystery ever written. Police Inspector Grant, flat on his back in hospital, solves the historical mystery of Richard III and the Little Princes in the Tower.

I know, I know--sounds boring. But it isn't. A fascinating meditation on history, propaganda, prejudice and memory.
Profile Image for Jaline.
444 reviews1,648 followers
January 4, 2018
In 1951, Josephine Tey wrote her 5th novel in the Inspector Grant series. In 1990, this mystery novel was named the greatest mystery novel of all time by the British Crime Writers' Association. After reading it, I can definitely see why.

For one thing, during the entire novel, Inspector Alan Grant is confined to bed with a broken leg and a strained back. He is an inspector for Scotland Yard – an active man, relying on his brains and his brawn to help him solve cases. He also studies faces and uses his intuition to help him figure out who did what when it comes to crime.

Now, however, he is beside himself. Stuck in one place, tired of tracing the possible pictures in the cracks and fissures of the ceiling above him, bored beyond belief, and ready to bolt – or stage a revolt, whichever might allow him to release some steam.

Thanks to some friends, he is offered a mystery to solve. A very old mystery, one with its roots in history which means it is written by historians, which means a combination of invention, speculation, and based only on whatever facts might have been expedient to use at the time.

That is the basic introduction to this amazingly well written book. It is funny, moves along faster than a hospital bed on greased wheels down a long hallway (no, that didn’t happen), and it is crime solving with collaboration at its very best. And, there is a twist near the end that I did not see coming. Not even close.

I am so glad that I read this book! It was an exhilarating experience and even exceeded my expectations, which is saying a great deal considering I knew the honours that have been bestowed on this novel. I do recommend it as a fascinating bit of sleuthing from a few hundred years “after the fact”.
Profile Image for Delee.
243 reviews1,135 followers
July 27, 2016

This day was our good King Richard piteously slain and murdered; to the great heaviness of this city.

If you take the "players" in The War of the Roses, and place them in more modern times- one could almost compare them to The Mob fighting for control of their territory...

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...and when I first started to be interested in learning who all the "players" were. I felt like Karen Hill at her wedding- when Paulie Cicero was introducing her to "The Family"...."This is cousin Paulie, and my nephew Petie, my niece Marie, and my other niece Marie and Paulie...and Peter...no no Paulie- I get confused sometimes." I sometimes imagined what it would have like back then, and if at some point Richard III got just as confuuuuused as Paulie. "This is my brother Edward, and his wife Elizabeth their sons Richard and Edward, daughter Elizabeth...my sister Elizabeth, my brother Edmund and this is my son Edmund....no no Edward..."

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In THE DAUGHTER OF TIME Inspector Alan Grant is laid up in the hospital with a broken leg, and ooooooooh so bored. His friend- Marta- sympathetic to his plight- brings him photographs of important figures throughout history and the mysteries surrounding them- long unsolved. Alan finds one face jumps out at him more than the rest...

King Richard III of England

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...and the mystery of The Princes in the Tower.

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Since Alan can't leave the hospital- Marta brings in her friend and researcher at the British Museum- Brent Carradine to help Alan in his quest- to clear King Richard's name, and prove once and for all that he wasn't the monster the history books and Shakespeare wrote about.

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Many people have made comparisons of THE DAUGHTER OF TIME to Rear Window- and there are a few similarities, but the biggest difference is- no one is in any danger here. There is no real suspense in this mystery- all the players are looooooong dead- and no one is coming after Mr. Grant to stop him from uncovering the truth. So don't expect to be on the edge of your seat- but do expect to be thoroughly entertained if this is a subject that interests you...especially if you are a Ricardian like meeeeeeee.

Profile Image for Francesc.
459 reviews221 followers
May 8, 2022
Para empezar, "La Hija del Tiempo" es novela histórica o, al menos, así la considero yo.
Un inspector de policía de Scotland Yard, postrado en su cama por una caída, tras ver un retrato de Ricardo III, decide investigar porqué se le considera un rey despótico cuando su rostro no denota tales tendencias.
Y todo gira en torno a esto. Datos históricos, libros sobre la vida de Ricardo III y sobre su familia, opiniones diversas de los personajes, etc.
No dudo de la calidad histórica de la novela, pero me ha resultado tremendamente aburrida, hasta el punto del tedio.
Cuando llevas medio libro y te ha nombrado todo el árbol genealógico de los York y te ha sacado todos los implicados, piensas que empezará la trama, pero no. Sigue, sigue y sigue hasta el final.
Ha sido como una larga clase de Historia de Inglaterra. Muy larga.

For starters, "The Daughter of Time" is a historical novel or, at least, that's how I consider it.
A Scotland Yard police inspector, bedridden by a fall, after seeing a portrait of Richard III, decides to investigate why he is considered a despotic king when his face does not denote such tendencies.
And everything revolves around this. Historical data, books on the life of Richard III and his family, diverse opinions of the characters, etc.
I do not doubt the historical quality of the novel, but it has been extremely boring, to the point of boredom.
When you have read half a book and the whole family tree of the York has named you and has taken out all those involved, you think the plot will begin, but no. Go on, go on and on until the end.
It has been like a long History of England class. Very long.
Profile Image for Richard Derus.
2,978 reviews1,989 followers
January 7, 2022
Rating: 4.5* of five

The Publisher Says: Scotland Yard Inspector Alan Grant is intrigued by a portrait of Richard III. Could such a sensitive face actually belong to a heinous villain — a king who killed his brother's children to secure his crown? Grant seeks what kind of man Richard was and who in fact killed the princes in the tower.

My Review: Many's the Golden Age mystery that, viewed by modern eyes and filtered through epithet-intolerant lenses, doesn't hold up well. This novel, published in 1951, not only holds up well but shows up many a modern "master" of the form. This isn't some bloated tome that makes your night table sag. This isn't some CSI-esque science class in blood chemistry or the digestive system. It is a beautifully constructed, interestingly conceived, historically extremely persuasive treatise on the subject of Richard III and the Little Princes in the Tower he allegedly murdered.

It is also a "thumping good read," as a Canadian friend of mine calls them: A book that sucks you in, seduces you with clarity and fascination, and at the end, leaves you fully satisfied. The Daughter of Time was her last completed novel, and the last published before her death from cancer at the absurdly young (to modern sensibilities) age of 56. However thoroughly delicious a catalog of work she left us with, including a posthumously published novel The Singing Sands, another decade or two would likely have given us many more delights. Call me greedy, but I crave those lost ideas. Curse you, cigarettes!
Profile Image for Tadiana ✩Night Owl☽.
1,880 reviews22.8k followers
October 25, 2018
Okay, now I’m convinced King Richard III didn’t have his two young nephews murdered in the Tower of London in the late 1400s. *gives Henry VII the hard side eye*

In this classic mystery by Josephine Tey, a laid-up British police inspector tries to prove, just for his own satisfaction, that Richard has been unfairly maligned by historians. An enthusiastic young American, an actress, and a nurse help out with his research. The novel ends up having quite a lot to say about human nature.

October 2018 group read with the Retro Reads group!
Profile Image for Sarah (Presto agitato).
123 reviews161 followers
May 23, 2015
"Sin, death, and hell have set their marks on him,
And all their ministers attend on him."

-William Shakespeare, Richard III, Act I, Scene III

Richard III is one of history’s most notorious villains. Thanks in large part to Shakespeare’s play, he is known as a remorseless usurper who murdered his young nephews, the “princes in the tower,” so that he could become King. He was King for less than two years, but he remains one of the more memorable characters from British history.

This is not an open-and-shut case. The “Ricardian” contingent, still active as the Richard III Society, thinks Richard got a raw deal. His fame comes from a play written during the reign of the Tudor Elizabeth I, based on work by Thomas More, who served the Tudor Henry VIII. The Tudors, they argue, had a vested interest in showing Richard in the worst possible light. After all, the first Tudor King, Henry VII, came to the throne after defeating Richard in battle. Richard’s defenders hold that he was falsely accused of ordering the murders, suffering an unfair blot on his reputation that has lasted for several hundred years.

Josephine Tey presents the pro-Richard arguments in an unusual way. Published in 1951, the novel is set in the first part of the 20th century. Alan Grant, an inspector from Scotland Yard, was injured while pursuing a suspect. He is laid up in the hospital for weeks recovering from his injuries. Bored out of his gourd, he is looking for something to occupy him. It comes in the form of a picture, a print of this painting of King Richard III:

Richard III

Grant studies the painting and thinks a guy with such a lovable face just couldn’t have done those terrible things (and given his background as a detective, Grant knows faces). With the help of a friend who acts as a research assistant, he “investigates” the case, ultimately finding

It’s a unique way to present this centuries-old mystery, but unfortunately it often comes off as contrived. This isn’t really a novel in the usual sense; it’s a vehicle for presenting a historical argument. There’s no real action, just Grant having conversations with people about Richard, often bringing out the information through awkwardly obvious question-and-answer sessions with his friend. He makes a good point about the simplified and often unsupported history presented in the school textbooks he reads, but much of his discussion involves setting up and knocking down straw men.

In the story, Grant suffers from the same problem that has made Richard so controversial for historians - there just isn’t a lot of solid evidence. We are left to rely on the accounts of people who lived at the time or just afterward. Determining Richard’s guilt tends to come down to which of the often heavily biased sources you believe.

The crux of Grant’s argument seems to be that Richard was actually a pretty good guy. He passed progressive legislation in Parliament, he wasn’t particularly vengeful to the opposition after taking power (though his Woodville in-laws might have disagreed), he didn’t try to make his bastard son heir to the throne, and lots of people said good things about him. Above all, “good sense was his ruling characteristic. Good sense and family feeling” (p. 190). This version of Richard is almost suspiciously saintly, especially given the usurping tendencies of so many of his Plantagenet forbears.

Tey’s approach to analyzing one of history’s great mysteries is imaginative, even when not completely successful. Anti-Ricardians won’t be convinced, and those looking for a more traditional mystery may be disappointed, but for those of us who find the mystery fascinating in its own right, it’s always interesting to get another take on it.
Profile Image for Phrynne.
3,327 reviews2,145 followers
March 28, 2021
For a book written in 1951 this one really stands the test of time.

In The Daughter of Time Scotland Yard Inspector Alan Grant is bedridden in hospital after a fall which broke his leg and damaged his spine. Unable to leave his bed, and without all the electronic means we would have today to keep entertained therein, he is totally bored. Luckily another character who knows him well introduces the idea of solving a mystery from the past.

A portrait of Richard III sets him wondering if the man he sees could possibly really be guilty of the murder of the Princes in the Tower and he sets out to research reports written at the time. There follows a fascinating discussion of historical events through the reigns of Richard and Henry VII and into Henry VIII. The reader is left with the interesting conundrum of whether we can believe anything we read about the past unless it is written by a real live witness and backed by evidence.

I really enjoyed the character of Alan Grant and have marked this series as one I want to read starting back at book one, The Man in the Queue which was written in 1929!
Profile Image for Charles  van Buren.
1,769 reviews194 followers
January 31, 2023
An unusual and intriguing novel

This novel does not neatly fall into a genre. It is regarded as a mystery, possibly because Josephine Tey was an author of mysteries. However if you are looking for a traditional mystery look elsewhere. The crime occurred some 400 years before the investigation related in this novel. Despite the age of the crime it is not a historical mystery of the Ellis Peters Brother Cadfael sort. The investigators are alive and working in the present. At least the present of a book written in 1951. It is a combination of historical fiction, mystery and historical research. One of the investigators is Brent Carradine, a historical researcher. The other is Inspector Alan Grant of Scotland Yard. Together they reach conclusions about Richard III and Henry VII which are at odds with conventional beliefs and Shakespeare.

One very small quibble which I have with the story is that Inspector Grant is drawn into this investigation after examining a copy of a portrait of Richard III. He and others see many different things in the face of Richard. However it is a painting not a photograph. What is in the face was put there by a painter. It may or may not be true to the actual face. Richard himself may have demanded changes from what the artist first painted.

Here is a quote from Wikipedia about the book: "The Daughter of Time is a 1951 detective novel by Josephine Tey, concerning a modern police officer's investigation into the alleged crimes of King Richard III of England. It was the last book Tey published in her lifetime, shortly before her death (in February 1952.). In 1990 it was voted number one in The Top 100 Crime Novels of All Time list compiled by the British Crime Writers' Association. In 1995 it was voted number four in The Top 100 Mystery Novels of All Time list compiled by the Mystery Writers of America."
Profile Image for BrokenTune.
755 reviews206 followers
May 2, 2020
Richard III had been credited with the elimination of two nephews, and his name was a synonym for evil. But Henry VII, whose ‘settled and considered policy’ was to eliminate a whole family was regarded as a shrewd and far-seeing monarch. Not very lovable perhaps, but constructive and painstaking, and very successful withal. Grant gave up. History was something that he would never understand. The values of historians differed so radically from any values with which he was acquainted that he could never hope to meet them on any common ground.
I loved this book - it had absolutely everything that I wanted/needed on the rainy winter weekend when I read this.

In a way, I could relate quite well to Inspector Grant as he was laid up in hospital with nothing to do but stare at the ceiling, bored out of his head. Rainy winter weekends can have a similar effect. Unlike Grant, of course, it didn't occur to me to start a research project into the life and legacy of Richard III, I merely cozied up with Tey's book and a good supply of tea and snacks.

I can't even put my finger of why I thought the book was so enjoyable - part of me liked the characters and the banter, part of me liked the "mystery" element, even tho there is little mystery to it, and part liked the historical aspect of it. I loved how Tey chose to format the story, how she disguised her research into the story of RIII as a hobby to pass time with.

In a way, this is why I love historical fiction, not because it sugar-coats all of the historical information and presents it in an easily digestible narrative, but because it dares to ask questions and share how the actual research of non-fictional topics can be fun. It has the power to inspire people to learn more.

I for one will take a much closer look at portraits from now on, and especially the one of RIII.
Profile Image for Frances.
192 reviews324 followers
June 3, 2015
The author has created a skilful investigation of Richard III’s involvement in the deaths of his two nephews. Laid up with injuries in a hospital, Scotland Yard Inspector Alan Grant is utterly bored with nothing to do except look at patterns on the ceiling. The Inspector has a canny knack for reading faces and as he looks upon Richard III’s portrait he doesn’t see a murderer, but more of a haunted man. Through a great deal of research on source documents, testimonies, and evaluating written records Inspector Grand spends his convalescing time uncovering the qualities of Richard III. Although slow in some chapters it tends to read like a history lesson, but very well done - would appeal to history buffs. An eye opener for how history is written to the benefit of those in power while revealing how other past events actually happened, not how they have been portrayed. Quite interesting; makes one consider what is actually true or entirely false.
Profile Image for Duane.
828 reviews431 followers
May 18, 2017
The title threw me a little, but this turned out to be an interesting and entertaining mystery about the murder of the two Princes in the Tower. No one knows what really happened, but popular belief is that their uncle, Richard III, had them killed to clear his way to become King of England. Josephine Tey and her two main characters, Alan Grant and Brent Carradine, take a forensic, Scotland Yard approach to the crime, and come up with the conclusion that most of the history books are wrong. I've read my share of royal history, both fictional and historical, so I enjoyed this counter approach to the subject. Very well written.
Profile Image for Jean-Luke.
Author 1 book395 followers
May 17, 2022
So let's see, there's Richard, whose father was also Richard, and his brother Edward, whose sons were named Edward and (drum roll) Richard. Couldn't one be called Rich, and the other Dickie? Ed, and Eddie? No, let's just add another numeral at the end. Instead of the handily-provided family tree, couldn't someone make up a rhyme, or a jingle? Oh-so enjoyable, however, and unlike most murder mysteries it has great reread potential since it really isn't about whodunit.
Profile Image for Kristi  Siegel.
192 reviews596 followers
February 19, 2010
It’s hard to read A Daughter of Time and not think of James Stewart, similarly laid up in Rear Window, which was produced only a few years later than Tey’s mystery.

In Hitchcock’s movie, the photographer casts a panoptic gaze at the people he can see through the many apartment windows available from his rear window, and plays detective, with the help of the ridiculously over-dressed Grace Kelly. Alan Grant, in Tey’s novel, similarly wounded in the line of duty, is an actual detective/inspector, from Scotland Yard, who becomes intrigued by a portrait and begins to study—obsessively—the history of Richard the Third.

While I gave up on understanding each and every royal relationship—you may have to be English to do that—Grant’s process is fascinating. He starts with the histories, but then realizes they are nothing but hearsay, and upon scrutiny, dubious hearsay at that. For our theory-addled brains, what Tey accomplishes here is New Historicism in motion. Nothing new to us, perhaps, but a particularly fresh approach in 1951, when history was often venerated as fact, rather than the saga of the winners. And I don’t mean to imply we’re any brighter now; it’s likely we’re dumber, but few look at history books today with the calm acceptance I experienced when I read, for example, that Christopher Columbus “discovered America,” since America apparently had no history until white people arrived.

Rather than relying on the master narratives, Grant approaches the situation like an investigation and, with the assistance of a fresh and likable young researcher, locates artifacts from the actual time of the alleged murder of the princes in the tower. What’s most fascinating about Tey’s literate book is the investigation itself and what unfolds, in real time, for the reader to ponder.

Profile Image for Carol She's So Novel꧁꧂ .
816 reviews617 followers
December 22, 2018
Let me tell you about my one and only experience of being in a book club.

About twenty five years ago, a group of friends & friends-of-friends found out there was a government run group that would supply book clubs with the books & other materials they needed to run a monthly discussion. We all eagerly selected books we wanted to read, but, naively, most of us chose works by Margaret Atwood, Fay Weldon Isabel Allende and other popular writers of the day. Unfortunately, these works were being selected by every other book club in the country.But one woman wanted to read dreary, Russian classics. So that is what we were sent. Every. Single. Month. By the end of my time with this group, I couldn't even be bothered cracking the selections open.

The two exceptions to this were this book & a modern New Zealand classic, Season Of The Jew. Both of these books produced animated, thoughtful discussions & the women leading the reads did heaps of extra research. It was nice seeing what fun being part of a real life book club could be like, but I didn't join another one until I became a member of Goodreads. Online book clubs really work for me! If I can't get hold of (or don't like a choice) I don't read it.

This book remains an all time favourite, although I would now consider Brat Farrar as the best Tey I have read.

A bored Inspector Grant, hospitalised with a broken leg (you certainly wouldn't be in hospital for a lengthy convalescence for that in modern NZ!) with the help of some friends decided to investigate the disappearance of The Princes in the Tower like it was a modern police case. The original premise -that someone with as nice a face as Richard III couldn't be a murderer- well I could show you some baby faced modern NZ murderers. I'm not sure the timeline and all the reasoning worked for me, but I am happy to keep an open mind and The premise was really original and worked well.

The title? From an old proverb;

Truth is the Daughter of Time.
Profile Image for Werner.
Author 3 books598 followers
August 9, 2016
"When the legend becomes truth, print the legend." --The Man Who Shot Liberty Valence

I once commented, to one of my college history classes, that there are a number of basic ideas about history that "everybody knows;" but that unfortunately what "everybody knows" often turns out to be a bunch of handed-down hooey. ("History" may also consist of deliberate lies invented to smear one's political opposition.) The idea that King Richard III of England (1483-85) callously murdered his two nephews, the famous "little princes in the Tower," in order to steal the crown wasn't one of the examples I used --only because that particular legend isn't famous enough to be known by everybody, including the illiterate and aliterate-- but it's certainly known, and implicitly believed, by a LOT of literate people. After all, didn't no less an infallible authority than Shakespeare say so, in Richard III? And didn't Sir Thomas More (who was an 8-year-old child when Richard died) make the same claim in the definitive source about Richard? That idea definitely qualifies as both handed-down hooey and politically motivated falsehood, and Tey here sets about demolishing it systematically. But she didn't choose to do so by writing a straightforward history book --as other students of history had done, without much effect.

When this book was written, Tey was already a big name in the mystery genre, on both sides of the Atlantic, but especially in her native England. Scotland Yard Inspector Alan Grant --an opinionated and forceful man who prides himself on being able to judge character from faces--was a popular series character who'd appeared in four of her previous novels. In this book, Tey proceeds, with Grant laid up in the hospital with a job-related injury and ready to go mad with boredom, to give him access to a contemporary portrait of Richard. Convinced that this doesn't look like the face of a murderer, he embarks on an investigation of written sources (eventually concentrating on primary ones --that is, contemporary material, witnessing to events as they actually happened), soon with the aid of a young American habitue' of the British Museum, which is also a library, and a good one. He approaches the matter as a police investigator treating a cold disappearance/possible murder case (which this in fact is) according to accepted canons of police work. So this is a "mystery," but an unconventional one. It's really a book of historical investigation, using a fictional framework. I recommended it for history, not mystery, buffs, as I don't know if it would be what most of the latter are typically looking for. But the fictional element --the almost Dickensian characterizations, the dry humor, the narrative framework of the research and the elements of suspense built into it-- adds an interest to the book that a nonfiction account would be much less likely to have, and sets the book's carefully developed, step-by-step argument before a whole group of readers many of whom might not read much nonfiction history.

Being a history major, I'd already read Richard III: The Great Debate, and knew that More's writing on the subject (which was slavishly followed by Holinshed in his Chronicles, and in the Shakespeare play) was a Tudor-inspired hatchet job. I didn't expect much from this book, though I'd had it on my to-read shelf for awhile (I read it now because it was a common read in one of my groups); I was --and remain!- very skeptical of the idea that facial features infallibly reveal personal character, especially when those features are on a painted portrait that's as much the artist's interpretation as it is a representation. But I learned as much or more from the clearly presented facts and judicious reasoning that Tey lays out (and from the additional digging it inspired me to do on Wikipedia) as I did from any history book I'd read that touches the subject! That's why this is the only work of fiction that I've ever added to my (nonfiction) history shelf. If you're interested in this period of English history, I'd characterize this as a must-read.
Profile Image for Robin.
493 reviews2,732 followers
January 30, 2017
This book makes the top of many crime and mystery books lists, has received very high praise through the decades since its publication. I also read that this book is what inspired Hitchcock's "Rear Window". For those reasons, I made a big exception - I read it even though there are several books ahead of it in the series (normally I simply have to read things in order, it's a compulsion of mine).

The Rear Window inspiration is quite clear - Inspector Grant is laid up with a broken leg, and is tired of looking at the ceiling. A friend of his, knowing how much Grant can see by examining faces, brings him some portraits to look at, hoping it will be an amusing distraction. One of the portraits is of Richard III, the despised hunchback we read about in history, who supposedly killed his two nephews in the tower. Grant is surprised that when he looks at the portrait, he doesn't see a killer. So with the help of his friends, he plays the true armchair detective, and by reading historical accounts, comes up with quite a fascinating look at the much hated king. Essentially, this is a whodunit from a crime that took place in 1483, as well as an insightful example of propaganda and how history can be re-written by the powers that be. The title of this book is taken from a quote from Francis Bacon, in which Truth is the daughter of Time (so, with time, truth will eventually show itself).

You will have to be interested in this part of history in order to enjoy this book; if you don't, you are fresh out of luck. For me, it was quite fascinating!

Profile Image for Libros Prestados.
426 reviews810 followers
July 31, 2020
Había oído críticas muy buenas de este libro y me daba miedo que no superara las altas expectativas, pero lo ha hecho. Se trata de un "whodunit", pero con un giro. Sigue las convenciones del género, pero para investigar un enigma real: ¿qué sucedió con los "príncipes de la torre"? ¿Quién los asesino? Cualquiera diría que fue Ricardo III, que para eso es el protagonista de la mayor obra de propaganda jamás creada por Shakespeare, ¿pero es eso cierto?

Así pues, el inspector Alan Grant, postrado en cama, utiliza sus dotes detectivescas para ahondar en el pasado. Al final, por mucho que él opine otra cosa, realiza el trabajo de cualquier historiador: rastrear las fuentes para intentar hallar la verdad, o lo más cercano a ella, mediante un relato coherente.

¿Lo consigue? Puede que sí, puede que no. Pero al intentarlo, Josephine Tey crea una novela muy entretenida, divertida y que permite echarle un vistazo a una época fascinante de la Historia de Inglaterra que, entre otras cosas, inspiraría a G.R.R. Martin a escribir "Canción de hielo y fuego".
Profile Image for Manybooks.
3,211 reviews104 followers
August 9, 2022
While I do well now realise and accept that Josephine Tey's The Daughter of Time is in many ways rather massively speculative with regard to Richard III and the fate of his two young nephews Edward and Richard, the so-called princes in the tower (the Tower of London, to be exact), I still and always will have both a nostalgic love for The Daughter of Time and yes, indeed, continue to be impressed with and by Josephine Tey's narration and much of her background research (and of course by extension also her main protagonist, detective Alan Grant).

And although I certainly now no longer have the massive literary and historical crush on (to and for me sadly misunderstood and unjustly maligned) Richard III that I had in 1984 (when I was a lonely teenager and read The Daughter of Time for a high school English literature project) I still and nevertheless firmly believe and continue to agree with Josephine Tey and her literary creation Alan Grant that Henry VII actually had considerably more and obvious reasons for wanting the two princes in the tower removed, for needing them to be gone forever than Richard III did (as they in my opinion were much more of a potential obstacle and threat to the former’s path to the English throne than to the latter). For Edward, Richard and their sister Elizabeth had indeed been declared illegitimate by an act of parliament (and whether wrongfully or rightfully does not really all that much matter here). However, after their uncle Richard III's death in battle and the repeal of said very parliamentary act which had declared Edward IV's and Elizabeth Woodville's children illegitimate (and this indeed needed to happen for Henry Tudor to be able to legally wed Elizabeth of York), the two princes in the tower would of course then have been first and second in line to the English throne, and their claim to the British throne was always much stronger and considerably more solid than Henry Tudor's own claim ever was. And with the children of Edward IV and Elizabeth Woodville suddenly no longer illegitimate, young Edward would have of course been king, with his brother Richard his heir apparent (and no, NOT Henry Tudor).

Entertaining, thought-provoking, readable and above all, delightfully fun, I have definitely enjoyed The Daughter of Time as much this time around as in 1984, and yes, I do recommned it warmly and highly to anyone with an interst in historical mysteries, and especially the life and times of Richard III (who might indeed have well been shown a bit too glowingly and positively by Josephine Tey, but who in my mind was most definitely also not the vile and horrid monster as envisioned by Shakespeare).
Profile Image for Nikos Tsentemeidis.
413 reviews217 followers
August 17, 2020
Ένα ασυνήθιστο αστυνομικό, που έχει να κάνει με ένα ιστορικό γεγονός του 15ου αιώνα. Η υπόθεση αφορά τον φόνο των δύο ανιψιών του Ριχάρδου του τρίτου από τον ίδιο. Η εξιχνίαση εξετάζεται μέσω της μελέτης της ιστοριογραφίας της εποχής και ποιων ιστορικών θα μπορούσαν να είναι αξιόπιστοι.
Profile Image for Ivonne Rovira.
1,943 reviews200 followers
June 7, 2020
I first read this novel donkeys’ years ago in paper form. This time, when reading it again as a buddy read with two lovely and talented GoodReads pals, Delee and Lisa, I utterly melted as I listened to the amazing Derek Jacobi’s mellifluous voice as the narrator. If you can get The Daughter of Time as an audiobook, be sure to do so!

I’ve long loved this book so much that I even dragged my husband into joining this buddy read!

The Daughter of Time is the fourth installment of author Josephine Tey’s Inspector Allan Grant series — but you'd never know the novel was anything but a stand-alone when reading it. The novel operates on two levels: One is as an early 20th cenury British cozy about a clever English policeman sidelined in a hospital and going stir-crazy with boredom. He picks the coldest of cold cases to while away the days: the 15th century murder charge against King Richard III.

On the second level, The Daughter of Time operates as a polemic: “Could 14 million history books possibly be wrong?” The conclusion that Tey — and her alter ego on the matter, Grant — come to is that, yes, they could. Tey lays out such a convincing case that that the last Plantagenet’s infamy was simply the results of a successful propaganda effort by the first Tudor, the future Henry VII that I have absolutely no doubt at all that all of the crimes laid to Richard, Duke of York, the future Richard III — including the deaths of the two princeling sons of Richard’s beloved older brother, Edward IV — really belong on Henry VII. I’m sure you will be convinced, too — both of the correctness of Tey’s hypothesis and of the deftness of Tey’s touch as a mystery writer.
Profile Image for Siria.
1,862 reviews1,358 followers
June 4, 2007
This book had the potential to really engage me--it deals with Richard III and all the various permutations of the Yorkist, Lancastrian and Tudor factions in late medieval England, and it's not badly written at all. Unfortunately, there were so many little things in it which frustrated me that I was completely soured to the author's argument--that Richard III was innocent of the murder of the Princes in the Tower--by the time I finished reading.

Though there are elements of her arguments with which I agree, even the main hook of her novel--that the most famous surviving portrait of Richard III shows the face of a man who could not possibly commit such a murder--is flawed. Every portrait ever made has been the portrait of not one person, but at least two--of the sitter and of the artist--and the practice of reading a person's character through their portrait is an interesting one, though it must always be seen as very dubious.

There are a number of other points in the book which show clearly that the author is not a historian. I'm sure, given what is stated in the book, that this is regarded as a plus point, but there are some facts with which it is worthwhile to become familiar before writing a book which purports to solve a centuries old mystery--for instance, stating that to die at the age of forty in the Middle Ages was to die young. Really, not so much. Similarly, Tey veers between being incredibly cynical and incredibly naive about political motivations. It all makes for an interesting, if ultimately unrewarding, read.
Profile Image for Deanne.
1,775 reviews113 followers
May 24, 2014
Read this but in light of recent events in Leicester I feel like reading this again.
For those who don't know recently archaeologists have been digging up a car park in Leicester in the hopes of finding Richard III. Heard today that they've found a skeleton in a medieval grave, with a curvature of the spine, a head injury and an arrow head in between two of the vertebrae. The skeleton was also found where records said he was buried in the choir of the church.
Now the debate is on as to where the remains should be buried, personally I think he should be interred in the cathedral at Leicester, as he's been in the parish for 500 years.
Apart from that I enjoyed the book the first time.
Found out today that Richard will be interred in Leicester cathedral. It's only taken two years for them to decide that he can be buried 100 yards or so from his last burial place.
Profile Image for Amy.
50 reviews
September 18, 2008
OK, after reading To the Tower Born, I got really hooked on the Richard III thing and about him maybe being a murderer or maybe not. So I read this book Daughter of Time, which went about attempting to prove Richard III's innocence in one of the most notorious unsolved crimes in history. Did he really murder his nephews in the Tower of London because they were a threat to his throne? Or has history painted a false picture of Richard III? This book takes a different angle and offers another villain that may have had more to gain from the boys' death. MEGA FASCINATING! Now I have to join the "Richard III Society"!
Profile Image for John Anthony.
765 reviews98 followers
April 27, 2019
A clever little book which causes me something of a dilemma – do I put it on the fiction shelf or that reserved for non fiction?

A fictitious Scotland Yard Inspector, hospitalised following a fall, sets to work with the aid of a young, fictional American research assistant, to look into the life of the much maligned Richard III. They focus on contemporary/ near contemporary chroniclers and records of the time and also what successive historians have written about the man and the King. The 2 men work well and happily together. Using his detective skills Inspector Grant sifts the evidence and the collaborators find Richard resoundingly not guilty of the crimes levelled against him by history – ie of murdering, or causing to be murdered, his 2 young nephews, the Princes in the Tower. They conclude that such a crime was wholly out of character, and that he had no motive for bringing about their deaths. The evidence for their conclusions is striking and difficult to argue against.

It’s hard not to see history as bunk when considering the case of Richard III and the malign reputation which has been passed down to us. The victor lives to tell the tale how he wishes it to be told and his/her minions oblige. Be careful not to discount willy nilly, all conspiracy theories.
Profile Image for Simona B.
898 reviews3,009 followers
September 1, 2017

“It’s an odd thing but when you tell someone the true facts of a mythical tale they are indignant not with the teller but with you.”

A modern detective investigates on Richard III and the murder of the Princes in the Tower... I swear, sometimes it's like there are books written for you and you alone. (But since I am a generous person, you must can read it too.)
Profile Image for Martine.
145 reviews692 followers
October 11, 2009
The Daughter of Time is an unlikely detective story. It's the story of a police inspector who, whilst laid up in bed because of a leg injury, is presented with a portrait of England's King Richard III (reigned 1483-1485) and comes to the conclusion that a man so genteel-looking couldn't possibly be the ruthless murderer Shakespeare made him out to be, because 'villains don't suffer, and that face is full of the most dreadful pain' (judge for yourself here). So with a little help from the nurses and the friends and colleagues who come and visit him in the hospital, he starts digging in fifteenth-century history, only to come up with a few interesting theories of his own, all of which seem to point to history's having given Richard a rotten deal. For in reality, Tey has her bed-ridden hero discover, Richard III had no motive to have half of his family (including his two under-age nephews) murdered, as sixteenth-century historians alleged. He may not have been a hunchback, either. Rather he was the victim of revisionist history as written by the Tudor kings who succeeded him and who had their own reasons for vilifying him. History, lest we forget, is written by the victors, and boy, can they do damage to a guy's reputation if they have a talented playwright on their side. Just ask Macbeth of Scotland, who was by all accounts a fairly good and popular king.

I'm not sure how historically accurate the details of Tey's argument are, nor whether her evidence would stand up in a modern court of justice, but the case for Richard is presented in a convincing manner and makes a gripping read, mainly because the protagonist, Inspector Alan Grant, is absolutely convinced of Richard's innocence and hell-bent on finding evidence to support his subjective impression of the man, taking a violent dislike to Richard's most famous biographer, Sir Thomas More, in the process. I love books in which the characters get passionate and even a little obsessive about things, and Tey's Inspector Grant is nothing if not obsessive. His ferocious zeal for his quest (often expressed in violent outbursts to startled nurses) is quite infectious, to the point where you find yourself wishing for a big pile of history books and access to the British Museum to verify Grabt's discoveries for yourself. At least that's what the book did for me. After finishing The Daughter of Time, I spent several hours on line Googling the authors and historians Tey mentions in her book, some historical, others seemingly fictitious. In the course of my research, I came across several Ricardian societies, all working towards a rehabilitation of the last Plantagenet king. Many of their members seem to have joined after reading The Daughter of Time. In short, Tey's book has been influential, and for good reason -- it's a fascinating journey through English history, and a grand tale of high-minded obsession to boot. It had me add several history books to my to-read list. I love books which make me enthusiastic for previously unexplored subjects, so as far as that's concerned, Tey did a great job.

Is that to say The Daughter of Time is a faultless book? By no means. While I was impressed with the way in which Tey shared her research and sustained her reader's interest in her detective's quest for the truth, I often found the dialogue in The Daughter of Time lacklustre. Not only do Tey's researchers regularly have unlikely conversations about clues which I suspect would be very hard to dig up five hundred years after the fact (even if one had access to the venerable records held by the British Museum), but to make matters worse they all sound identical, all speaking in the same benignly polite but slightly ironic voice. As portrayed by Tey, middle-aged British police inspector Alan Grant and his much younger American assistant Brent Carradine sound much the same, and there is little to distinguish between the female characters, either. I think the book could have done with slightly more individualised and characteristic dialogue, but really, that's a minor complaint. For the most part, The Daughter of Time succeeds admirably in what it does, which is making and keeping its readers interested in a five hundred-year-old mystery, while making a few interesting observations about the way history is written along the way. I liked the examples of what Inspector Grant refers to as 'Tonypandy' -- legendary historical events which live on in popular consciousness despite the fact that they have been proven to be untrue. If Tey's research is anything to go by, the legend of Richard III falls squarely into the Tonypandy category. Needless to say, that doesn't make Shakespeare's play of the same name any less interesting, but it does add an interesting dimension to the story, doesn't it?

For those who wish to read more about the evidence supporting Richard's innocence, here's Horace Walpole's excellent and well-researched defence of the last Plantagenet king, first published in 1786, which seems to have been one of the bases for The Daughter of Time (the other being Clements Markham's later Richard III: His Life and Character Reviewed in the Light of Recent Research).
Profile Image for Sara.
Author 1 book564 followers
September 11, 2020
The "Daughter of Time" title is a quotation from the work of Sir Francis Bacon: "Truth is the daughter of time, not of authority."

Last year I read Josephine Tey’s Brat Farrar and quite enjoyed it. Tey is known for writing early mysteries, so I had expected somewhat the same fare from Daughter of Time, but I was wrong. There is a mystery at the heart of this novel, but it is a long debated one, the mystery of the Princes in the Tower and the blaming of their deaths on King Richard III, their uncle. Most of us know Shakespeare’s take on the story, but that, of course, is the Tudor take.

Josephine Tey’s take is more even-handed. Alan Grant is a Scotland Yard inspector who is confined to a hospital bed with a broken leg, and to while away his time he begins an investigation into the facts of this case. With the help of a young man who is doing research at the British Museum, he begins to eliminate all the historical records and put together only the known facts of what was actually being done, where principals were, and what is known irrefutably to be true. He reaches a conclusion that it would be difficult to disagree with, and that version does not match the high school history books.

I have long had a bit of fascination with this little bit of history, so it was fun to review the facts with Grant and see where the path led him. It wasn’t, however, even close to being the novel I had expected. When Richard III’s remains were unearthed in 2013 and reinterred in Leicester Cathedral, there was a sense of something being put right for me. At last we were able to learn the extent of his bodily deformities, and if those were so exaggerated, I couldn’t help but wonder how much the deformities of his soul might have been exaggerated as well.

I puzzled over the title until I found the key to its meaning online in a quotation by Sir Francis Bacon. I have quoted it above. I couldn’t help wondering if the general public was so much smarter in 1951 that they would have immediately recognized the reference, since the book I read is obviously an original copy from the era, and Tey included nothing to explain the title...not even a reference to the quotation on the frontis plate.

In the end, the side story that was running (Grant and his sidekick) was more distracting than interesting. The meat, of course, was the history. Being a big fan of Philippa Gregory, I much prefer her method of writing from the viewpoint of a contemporary character--much less intrusive. Still, not a bad little book and interesting to hold in my hands a book that was exactly my age and know that someone was probably reading it the day I was born.
Profile Image for Fiona.
319 reviews343 followers
January 14, 2016
Once upon a time, in deepest darkest 2012, I was fortunate enough to be a law student at the University of Edinburgh, at just about the time when people were starting to make the big noises about whether a referendum on Scottish independence would be feasible. There was a debate on between a member of the department, and quite an eminent constitutional lawyer of whom I have long been in an intellectual sort of awe, so I went along.

The topic of the debate was whether, if the Scottish Parliament were to unilaterally declare that they were holding a referendum on independence, that would be legal. And Eminent Lawyer spoke first, and he said, "No. It would not be legal. Here is the Scotland Act; it specifically says it would not be legal. Here is constitutional convention; it would not support a unilaterally declared referendum. The Scottish Parliament would need the express support of the UK Parliament to hold such a referendum." And of course he is completely right, and that is how, a couple of years later, it ended up happening.

Then the member of the department stood up, and in ten minutes, with a few self-effacing laughs, he proceeded to convince me that there was more than one loophole in which a unilaterally declared referendum might be valid. I don't remember what he said, but it stuck with me: you read all the time about people who can, as the saying goes, convince you that black is white. But it's very rarely that someone can make my mind do such a u-turn, against so much evidence and in the face of my own scepticism. That academic, that day, sort of embodied a standard for me, of people who are really, really good lawyers. Really good persuaders. Stand-out purveyors of their craft.

For me, another one of those is Josephine Tey in The Daughter of Time. This is an extremely well put together advocacy of something that you then have to go away and read up on to realise it's probably not true. I like the Wars of the Roses, and I have to agree with majority historian opinion on this one: Tey's conclusion (or Tey's protagonist's conclusion) is probably not what happened. But for that glorious week, her conclusion slotted so beautifully in place, that it seemed to me to be the only possible way for events to have occurred. I showed it to my partner, and told him to go in sceptical, and he came out exactly the same way. That is a spectacular piece of sophistry, and I can't think of any circumstance in which I'd rather find it.

The Daughter of Time is written as a detective novel. It is the detective writer's detective novel. The Crime Writers Association put it at the top of their Best Of list, which was actually what prompted me to seek it out in the first place. As far as writing a mystery and a solution go, it really is first rate: not a plot hole, not a withheld clue, not a mysterious character introduced at the end. Somehow, Tey managed to write a golden age detective story that adheres to all the rules of how you must treat your cast and your reader... and she did it with a real event, that everyone learns about at school. DoT makes me reconsider what I think I know about the world, and the people who told me about it. It asks what is history: is it what we remember? Is it what gets written down? If we can infer something so very strongly, does that also make it true? What do we mean by "it fits the facts"?

And that, ladies and gentlemen, is why I think the very best of golden age crime fiction is so sorely underrated. What a canvas for asking all sorts of questions. What a way to juxtapose that neat ending we all want from our murder mysteries, and taking a good hard look at the way the world works. So ripe for being interesting, so easy to dismiss. (I'm thinking also here of Maj Sjowall and Per Wahloo's Martin Beck stories, starting with Roseanna, which have rightfully had a sort-of-renaissance in the last two years, and frankly deserve a much bigger one.)

I'm getting effusive. I read this on Kindle, and then bought a hard copy and read it again. That copy has now been lent out to several people, I barely ever keep it for long before sending it on its way again, like all the best books that I think should be more widely read and enjoyed than they are. It's not a thriller; stop thinking that detective novels have to be shocking. They can do other things too, and this does, and it makes me happy.
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