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on August 18, 2006
Brat Farrar does what a good book is supposed to do. It draws you into a world you'll never be able to experience first hand. I've never been a fan of horses and all that goes with them but with this novel I gained an appreciation and some knowledge of the pleasures of owning a horse farm. It's so difficult to find a novel you "don't want to put down", I'm so glad I bought and read this one. The mystery here is not "who dunnit" or why it was done but how the main character Brat works his way out of the snare he walked into.
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VINE VOICEon April 6, 2007
Brat Farrer is an English orphan who, after much travel, has decided to come back to England. He is soon mistaken for Simon Ashby of Latchetts by Alec Loding, a cousin of the Ashbys. Brat is talked into impersonating Patrick Ashby, Simon's older twin who allegedly committed suicide when they were ten. Now about to come of age and inherit Latchetts, the plan is for Brat to claim Patrick's inheritance and provide Alec with a lifetime allowance as reward. What Brat doesn't expect is to care so much for the family and, more than fearing his fraud being uncovered, he is in fear of his life.

It has been 30 years since I first read this book and I'd forgotten just how good it is. The story starts off gently at the first sentence. I immediately find myself caught up in the lives of the characters and environment Ms. Tey created. Soon the suspense begins to build and I can't put the book down. Even after the climax of the story, I am still kept in suspense until, at last, Ms. Tey kindly provides me with the resolution. I particularly wish other authors would take note that this completely enjoyable, engrossing and suspenseful story took only 276 pages to tell. If you've never read Brat Farrer or, as with me, it's been a long time, treat yourself and pick it up. Also, for the Dick Francis fans, it not only has horses, but a somewhat similar feel in its style. It was, as my British acquaintances say, brilliant!
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on March 27, 2003
First read at the age of 14 I now read this regularly and get something new out of it each time. It is just like sitting down with an old friend and chatting. The atmosphere, the characterisation are superb. Aunt Bee and all the rest come to life with a few well-chosen words. A note to the unnamed writer from Maryland who reviewed it and complained about the dentist being murdered, being exploded so his dental records could not confirm the identity. It is quite clear from the context and the period in which the book is set that the dentist dies in the London Blitz of the early 1940s. Her 'conspiracy theory' is wrong. Such a clever writer as Tey would not resort to murders by bomb explosions. It is mid-century England after all!
A wonderful read. Immerse yourself in a classic of crime and character.
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on July 20, 2007
This was this first book I puchased with my own money at age 12 and I have read and reread it for almost 50 years. The story and the writing stand up to both time and a more critical taste. Characters are beautifully drawn and the mystery never palls. The other books by Miss Tey are old favorites as well,paricularly The Murders of Richard III. They are perhaps better appreciated by adults, but for good writing for young readers, I always suggest Brat Farrar. Besides, who can resist the horses!
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on May 19, 2005
Whether you like mystery or not, this is an excellent book. First of all, the characterization is amazing. Each and every character is vivid and realistic, however extreme some of their personalities are. Even though Brat is an impostor, he's extremely likeable and you can't do anything but marvle at what an amazing impostor he is. As well as this, you end up becoming attached even to the characters that you don't like, such as Ruth, Simon, and Sheila Parslow Also, the plot is amazingly well developed. It builds up perfectly, for a while, you can't even tell it's going to be a mystery, then Brat becomes more and more curious and eventually realizes that the person he's pretending to be was murdered and by whom. It keeps on moving so rapid a pace that, by the end, it's nearly impossible to put the book down. The actual quality of the writing is just about as good as it gets. Don't hesitate, read it!
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on March 17, 2003
The story is seen from the viewpoint of its title character, Brat Farrar, a foundling who grew up in an orphanage somewhere in England, he ran away to sea, traveled around and lived in America for awhile. When the book begins, Brat has just returned to England, he is stopped by an aging actor while walking along a street. The actor has been struck by Brat's amazing resemblance to someone he knows, Simon Ashby, who is due on his 21st birthday to inherit the family estate, though Simon was not the original heir - it should have been his twin, Patrick, who apparently committed suicide when they were 13. The actor makes Brat a proposition, he is persuaded to pose as Patrick come back and claim the family fortune.
This was my first Josephine Tey mystery, and it kept me up late, I couldn't wait to find out what would happen. Originally published in 1949, this author was well known for writing great mysteries that did not follow formulas. Tey has chosen the British countryside and the world of horse breeding as the setting for this one, an enjoyable read, old-fashioned, British, with a country pastor and a character called Aunt Bee. Some things are perhaps predictable, for example I guessed pretty early on who Brat really was, but there were still plenty of other surprises along the way. This would have been a great Hitchcock film.
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on January 30, 2011
This book was fabulous. It's exactly the kind of book I like - cozy, nothing too graphic, lots of mystery and a fair amount of tension/suspense.

From the moment Brat Farrar comes into the narrative I was smitten. I found him fascinating. I don't want to say much about this book because it would be easy to spoil it. Let's just say that Brat Farrar is an 'orphan' who happens to look a lot like a boy who committed suicide eight years ago. Much of the book is devoted to finding out who he really is, or isn't. But it's SOOOO much more than that!

If you like a well written, old fashioned mystery, you will love this book! It's definitely my new favorite Josephine Tey.
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on October 3, 2009
I picked this up on the recommendation of a friend. My taste in detective novels is pretty exclusive - they have to be written well (e.g., everything by Jonathan Latimer) and not boring. "Brat Farrar" is definitely well written; but unless someone told you in advance, you wouldn't know you were reading a mystery until about midway into the book. Tey crafts her story well and creates a village full of flesh and blood characters; and the fact that a mystery eventually develops is almost beside the point, since by then Tey's already seduced you into enjoying the ride so far.
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VINE VOICEon November 21, 2000
Brat Farrar agrees, against his better judgment, to assume the identity of a dead English boy and take his place as master of a small estate. He doesn't expect to feel an odd sense of belonging in the dead boy's life, or to feel such deep affection for the dead boy's family -- or to be treated with such contempt by the dead boy's twin brother. It's tough to make the "imposter" plot believeable - and Tey manages to suck you in from the very first page. What happens to Brat, and whether his deception is ultimately uncovered, makes for a taut, tense ride. Tey is not only great at building suspense, she's also a darn fine writer. Her characters are well-developed and psychologically true. She has a great eye for detail and paints an affectionate portrait of post-war English country life. I couldn't put this one down until I finished it.
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on November 5, 2009
I've read and re-read everything by Josephine Tey - I even bought all her works. You may grow to like Brat, as I have, despite the fact that he sets out to steal the Ashby fortune. You may also have a hard time putting this book down until you see how things turn out.

Foul Language - Nope.
Sex - Some oblique references that maybe some illicit sex is going on and/or has happened.
Violence - A mild tussle.
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