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A Shilling For Candles [Kindle Edition]

Josephine Tey
4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (29 customer reviews)

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Book Description

Beneath the sea cliffs of the south coast, suicides are a sad but common fact. Yet even the hardened coastguard knows something is wrong when a beautiful young film actress is found lying dead on the beach one morning.

Inspector Grant has to take a more professional attitude: death by suicide, however common, has to have a motive - just like murder...

Editorial Reviews


“Josephine Tey has always been absolutely reliable in producing original and mysterious plots with interesting characters and unguessable endings.” -- Spectator

From the Inside Flap

Beneath the sea cliffs of the south coast, suicides are a sad but common fact of life. Yet even the hardened coastguard knows something is wrong when a beautiful film actress is found lying dead on the beach one bright summer?s morning. Inspector Grant has to take a more professional attitude: death by suicide, however common, has to have a motive -- just like murder?

Product Details

  • File Size: 362 KB
  • Print Length: 195 pages
  • Page Numbers Source ISBN: 1480259934
  • Publisher: Cornerstone Digital (May 25, 2011)
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B0051UT87A
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Lending: Not Enabled
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #522,343 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
14 of 14 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Loose Change August 26, 1998
Tey is a brilliant writer of character studies, with her strength lying in her portrayals of younger women and girls. Unlike her later mysteries though, "Candles" has one of the weakest endings in the entire genre of mystery writing. Still, the characters are so brilliantly drawn, it is just plain fun to read about them. After the first five chapters, the mystery becomes immaterial though. For stronger mystery writing, Tey's 'Brat Farrar' or 'Daughter of Time' would be the ones to read. 'A Shilling for Candles' would come at the bottom of the Tey listing, I'm afraid.
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21 of 23 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars A mediocre mystery. August 19, 2001
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
A popular actress/singer's body is found on the beach. At first it is believed to be an accidental drowning, but soon it becomes apparent that this is murder. The novel begins well, and there are some interesting characters, but then it begins to go downhill. Instead of vintage Tey, we seem to have an Agatha Christie plot, and not the best Christie.
There are red herrings galore, a false arrest, 2 escapes, supernatural overtones, and then an unexpected, unprepared for, and totally implausible ending. That the guilty one would have and could have perpetrated the crime in the manner indicated is just beyond belief. The author even has to make her turn out to be insane to create a strong enough motive--no, not nearly strong enough actually.
If you want to read excellent Josephine Tey, try BRAT FARRAR or THE FRANCHISE AFFAIR. This one just isn't up to her later standards.
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10 of 11 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Fallen star, drowned at sea May 25, 2005
Format:Audio Cassette
"The last legacy of all read, 'To my brother Herbert, a shilling for candles.'"

- from the last will and testament of Christine Clay, herein

The unusual title comes from a still more unusual clause in the last will and testament of superstar actress Christine Clay - an enigmatic legacy to her estranged brother. Clay worked her way up from nothing, with a mother who spoiled her brother rotten while having all kinds of excuses why Christine couldn't have proper schooling. Christine managed to escape to the life of the stage; her rise was so rapid that when she married a wealthy man with a title, she was considered to have made a catch, but within a couple of years *he* was thought of as 'Christine Clay's husband'. (Her background, gradually uncovered by police investigation, is enough to support a story in itself.) Now she has been found drowned at the lonely seaside place she was visiting incognito, and a youngster who seems like a stereotypical victim of circumstances is on the run, suspected of her murder for what seems like an inadequate motive. And given the brilliance of Christine Clay's shining star, why was she alone on holiday, with neither a court of hangers-on nor her husband?

Grant carries part of the story's action during his investigation, but Tey isn't shackled to a stylistic formula. Erica, the local Chief Constable's 16-year-old daughter, wades in where angels fear to tread, and generally assists Robin Tisdall, one of the chief suspects, to stay out of police custody while the police try to find out how Christine died. (This last provides an excuse for several mildly entertaining bit-part characters to appear, so I can live with it in the name of entertainment.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars A Tey To Remember May 31, 1999
By A Customer
Brief and gentlemanly, Tey's 'Shilling' comes in the middle of the pack of Tey offerings. She's enjoying something of a rennaisance these days--most of her novels seem ahead of their time, and one can't help but picture a youthful PD James consuming them, with visions of a future Dalgleish in her head. If you enjoy leisurely mysteries with much more class than pace, you'll enjoy Tey.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Really well written September 13, 2009
This book just proves that great writing is timeless. It isn't gory and it doesn't have lots of action. But the characters are very well drawn and the investigation into a murder includes lots of twists and turns to keep your interest.

Police procedures, the life of those who work on the stage, evangelicals, rags to riches - there are so many little stories in this larger story that it isn't ever boring. It will make you want to read more of her work in order to know more about some of these characters.

This would be an excellent book for those times you have to wait - traveling or visiting doctors or waiting for kids to finish school/games. It is good for men, women and teens - anyone who would like a well written novel.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Silliness and Coincidences September 3, 2002
By A Customer
Format:Audio Cassette
As an audio book, this is a great production. As a mystery, this was a disappointment. How convenient that people stumble onto critical clues, characters and evidence. It's as if all of England were no more than four acres large. I am still wondering what the motive of the killer was; the ending was abrubt and nonsensical. Please read "A Daughter of Time" if you want to experience Tey's best work.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars A Few Shillings Short August 15, 2009
"You've introduced characters in the last few pages that were never in the book before! You withheld clues so we the reader couldn't possibly guess 'who dun it'!"

I channeled the late Truman Capote's Lionel Twain a lot reading the last few pages of this 1936 mystery novel. Sure, Twain was addressing a Miss Marple parody in the classic Neil Simon comedy, but he could have been just as easily been telling off Josephine Tey.

Another movie to reference here is Alfred Hitchcock's "Young And Innocent", which was an adaptation of "A Shilling For Candles", though a very loose one. How loose? The main two characters in the movie are rendered secondary in the book halfway in, and the murder itself almost completely different except for a dead body washing up on the Kentish coast.

Hitchcock played fast and loose with structure and sense in his movie, but Tey was even less tethered by the mystery-writing discipline. As other reviewers have noted, various subplots parachute out of the blue sky. Worse, they never connect in any coherent way to create some unifying concept. The worst involves the revelation of the killer. In an introduction to this edition, Robert Barnard praises this being "only revealed just before the unmasking of the criminal" as a kind of innovation and rebellion against mystery-writing convention. Lionel Twain would have called it something else.

What's good about "A Shilling For Candles"? Well, Tey's take on the sleepy southern coast of England, and the bustle of high-society London where the victim was a celebrated fixture, presents delicious if dated social satire in the Evelyn Waugh vein: "The Sunday Telegraph liked influence and art. Even boxers never described punches to it; they explained their art.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
Glad to be able to find that Tey is still available after all of the years since her death.
Published 8 days ago by Lois A. Theis
5.0 out of 5 stars Discover a classic British mystery author
Just discovered this classic mystery author. The story was well plotted and fast paced and a great
mystery in the grand British tradition. Read more
Published 26 days ago by Scott Wolff
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
great book, great seller.
Published 1 month ago by james m frye
5.0 out of 5 stars Another excellent example of "not your ordinary mystery novel".
A body is discovered on a beach, and the immediate assumption of suicide is soon contradicted by the evidence. Read more
Published 1 month ago by Tracey
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent! Initially, I was given a J. Tey book as a gift--Now I'm...
I love a great mystery--J. Tey gives it to you in spades! Thank goodness this talented lady wrote a good supply of stories during her life time.
Published 3 months ago by carol harmsen
4.0 out of 5 stars Good but not her best
I liked the fact that the murder happened right at the first part of the book. Many of these older mysteries meander on and on before the murder actually happens and the detective... Read more
Published 13 months ago by JJ
5.0 out of 5 stars a shilling for candles
Some of the very reasons some readers don't care for Josephine Tey's work is one of the reasons I like what she did so well. Read more
Published 14 months ago by MaryJo Dawson
4.0 out of 5 stars No Title- 3/12 stars
Murder at the very beginning. And really, three plot strands going on at the same time. Grant still remains an elusive character to me. Read more
Published 16 months ago by C. L Wilson
5.0 out of 5 stars excellent English cozy
wondwerful - well written and believable characters if you like Marsh's detective, you will enjoy making the acquintance of Tey's
Published 19 months ago by Teresa Campana
4.0 out of 5 stars Charming
The setting, manners and characters make this a charming and entertaining read, and the mystery is involving enough, if not strikingly original.
Published 20 months ago by E-Reader
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More About the Author

Josephine Tey is one of the best-known and best-loved of all crime writers. She began to write full-time after the successful publication of her first novel, The Man in the Queue (1929), which introduced Inspector Grant of Scotland Yard. In 1937 she returned to crime writing with A Shilling for Candles, but it wasn't until after the Second World War that the majority of her crime novels were published. Josephine Tey died in 1952, leaving her entire estate to the National Trust.

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