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The Daughter of Time Paperback – November 29, 1995
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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!
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I was disappointed at the outset of this novel when the first several chapters were about Grant, a detective who is laid up in the hospital with a broken leg. (Did they truly keep patients in the hospital for weeks with a broken leg at the time this was written?) I was not much interested in the characters of Grant, Marta, or anyone else who was introduced at this time and wondered why the book had come with such high recommendations.
Soon I realized that Grant was to investigate, as fully as he could from his hospital bed, the mystery of Richard as the murderer of his nephews, the Princes in the Tower. After studying a picture of Richard III, Grant decides that he has the face of a judge not a criminal and is determined to fill his time while bedridden with learning as much about the man as possible.
Brent Carradine is introduced as Grant's partner in this investigation, and most of the remainder of the novel is dialog between the two of them weighing different sources of contemporary information regarding Richard. The revisionist argument for Richard's innocence is very clearly laid out through Grant and Brent researching his case. They quite thoroughly consider each person involved before and after Richard's death and become irate that accepted history could be so obviously distorted. Their conversations reminded me of similar rants that my poor husband has had to endure whenever I read about Richard.
Tey also includes other quips about historical falsehoods that are readily accepted as fact which helps aid the reader in believing that we could be wrong about poor Richard as well. So the book that I was anxious to read but disappointed in at the beginning ended up captivating me in the end. I read it within 24 hours. Though I was familiar with the information presented, I think that it would be a great introduction to anyone who is interested in the Ricardian revisionist theories. This is a novel but reads like well written non-fiction, an excellent presentation of Richard's character and the case against him.