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The Daughter of Time Paperback – November 29, 1995

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Editorial Reviews Review

Josephine Tey is often referred to as the mystery writer for people who don't like mysteries. Her skills at character development and mood setting, and her tendency to focus on themes not usually touched upon by mystery writers, have earned her a vast and appreciative audience. In Daughter of Time, Tey focuses on the legend of Richard III, the evil hunchback of British history accused of murdering his young nephews. While at a London hospital recuperating from a fall, Inspector Alan Grant becomes fascinated by a portrait of King Richard. A student of human faces, Grant cannot believe that the man in the picture would kill his own nephews. With an American researcher's help, Grant delves into his country's history to discover just what kind of man Richard Plantagenet was and who really killed the little princes.


The New York Times One of the best mysteries of all time.

Boston Sunday Globe The unalloyed pleasure of watching a really cultivated mind in action! Buy and cherish!

Product Details

  • Paperback: 206 pages
  • Publisher: Scribner; Reprint edition (November 29, 1995)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0684803860
  • ISBN-13: 978-0684803869
  • Product Dimensions: 5.2 x 0.5 x 8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 4.8 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (567 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #12,942 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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.

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

201 of 206 people found the following review helpful By Jana L.Perskie HALL OF FAMETOP 500 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on April 26, 2004
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Scotland Yard Inspector Alan Grant is bored out of his mind. Due to an unfortunate fall and multiple injuries he is bed ridden in the hospital and the long healing process and subsequent inaction are driving him crazy. A friend, knowing of the Inspector's passion for faces, brings him a portfolio of historical portraits thinking to distract him. She hopes he will involve himself in solving a "classic" historical mystery, since he seems to know all the facts of the Scotland Yard cases by heart. Grant homes in on the portrait of King Richard III, the supposedly wicked uncle who murdered his nephews, the boy princes, in the London's Tower. He remembers how Richard was portrayed in elementary school history and certainly recalls Shakespeare's vivid portrait of the evil hunchbacked king. However, try as he may, Grant cannot reconcile the face in the painting with that of a tyrannical childrens' murderer and usurper of England's throne. He sees conscience and integrity in the face of the painting's subject. And his curiousity is aroused for the first time since his accident.
Grant asks for historical books and reads everything he can get his hands on. He finally comes into contact with a young research student from America who also becomes caught-up in the hypothesis that Richard III was framed. Author Josephine Tey, with the skill of the best in Scotland Yard, conducts an objective investigation of a centuries-old crime. She evenly portrays both side of the story, Richard III's and King Henry VII's (the other suspect), with all its twists and turns, reveals compelling evidence and comes to an amazing conclusion.
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154 of 162 people found the following review helpful By Paul Frandano on February 10, 2002
Format: Paperback
What thoughtful reader hasn't experienced Shakespeare's Richard III and wondered about the accuracy of the Bard's portrayal? Thus did Josephine Tey, near the close of her authorial career, delve into some of the lost nooks and crannies of English history in an effort to recover "the real Richard."
The well-known hurdle for all would-be Ricardians is, of course, the utter absence of source material contemporary to Richard's reign, and most of all anything that discusses the fate of the "princes in the Tower." All that is generally counted as "authoritative," it turns out, is the product of Tudor dynasty information factories. Tey, however, very likely had in her possession the writings of Sir Clements Markham, a late Victorian-era civil servant, whose careful revisionist argument is here unfolded in a lively, compelling narrative of incremental discovery.
Prompted by a reproduction of a famous portrait of Richard, Tey's laid-up sleuth, with the help of an American researcher, marshalls from his bed an archival assault on the estimable Sir Thomas More, Henry (the VII) Tudor, and the entire phalanx of worthies who have reported, for the last half a millennium, that Richard was the demonic crookback murderer of Shakespeare's characterization. Happily for us, there's more (sic) to the story than the traditional record, and those not already sucked into the revisionist Ricardian argument may very well be converted. Tey's engaging "fiction" is not only a great boon to all Ricardians--who, with Richard III Societies on both sides of the pond, must surely win hundreds if not thousands of new converts yearly as a result of this 50-year-old work--but the perfect place to begin your own exploration of this great historical proto-conspiracy.
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87 of 91 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on January 26, 2000
Format: Paperback
Since the winner writes the history books, it's not surprising most people believe that Richard III was evil. According to Sir Thomas More and Shakespeare, he had various members of his family killed, including his poor little nephews, so that he could be king. It's important to remember that much of what we think we know about Richard was written during the reigns of Henry VIII and Elizabeth I -- who were on the throne as the direct result of the defeat of Richard. To justify the Tudors (Henry's father, I believe) seizing power, Richard had to be cast as the bad guy. We may never know what actually happened, but Josephine Tey presents a different look into history using actual letters and documents from that time. It all starts with a modern-day homicide detective who prides himself on being able to read faces. When he sees Richard's portrait (without knowing who it is), he doesn't pick it as the face of an evil murderer. I've seen Richard's portrait in the National Portrait Gallery in London -- and I think Tey's character, although fictional, may be on to something.
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48 of 50 people found the following review helpful By Nica Sharshon on October 26, 1999
Format: Paperback
This is an engaging detective-story that simultaneously illustrates with blinding clarity the difference between <i>objective "fact"</i> and <i>subjective "interpretation."</i> Something we all need to be more aware of, more often. This novel's publication led to the creation of worldwide "Ricardian" groups now seeking to clear the name of the 13th-century ruler of England, Richard III, villainized through Thomas More then Holinshed then Shakespeare as a hunchback murderer of his two young nephews in order to become king.

For anyone interested in appearance/reality questions, or keen to uncover "truths" about anything at all, this novel is a MUST READ. But in fact, it's good reading also simply for people who enjoy this genre of detective/mystery.

Let this testament be my review's closing: since this book's recommendation to me nearly 20 years ago, I've read it again and again at least 10 times. Moreover, I've given it as a gift to at least seven or so friends. And I've recommended its reading in every college course I've taught during the last 10 years. For this is one of those extraordinary books that help shape our thinking while entertaining us all the while.
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