Josephine Tey Books

Josephine Tey was the pen name used by english author Elizabeth MacKintosh, a Scottish novelist popularly known for her mystery books. The author was born in Inverness, to Colin Mackintosh and Josephine. She joined Inverness Royal Academy and later Anstey Physical Training College. Tey taught physical training at several schools in England and Scotland and in 1923 she went back to Inverness to take care of her ailing mother, and after her mother’s death she stayed to look after her father as well, and it is during this time that her career as a writer began.

Order of Inspector Alan Grant Series

Order of Josephine Tey Standalone Novels

# Read Title Published
1 Kif 1929
2 The Expensive Halo 1931
3 Miss Pym Disposes 1946
4 Brat Farrar 1949
5 The Privateer 1952
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Five of the novels the author wrote feature Alan Grant, a Scotland Yard officer as the protagonist except for the sixth novel The Franchise Affair in which he appears as a minor character.

The most famous of these novels is The Daughter of Time in which the main character is held up in the hospital and has his pals research contemporary documents and reference books. He needs to solve a puzzle mystery of whether King Richard III killed his nephews, and it is in Princes in the Tower that Grant finally discovers that King Richard was innocent.

The Franchise Affair has historical context, in that although set during the 1940’s the events depicted take place during the 18th century. The Daughter of time was her last published work, and The Singing Sands was published posthumously.

About a dozen of full-length plays and one-act plays were written using pen name Gordon Daviot. How she selected the pen name was unknown, however, Daviot is the name of a picturesque place proximal to Inverness where she spent mostly with her family during the holidays. Four of her plays were produced before her death.

The author was intensely private, and during the last year of her life, when she discovered that she was ill, she avoided all her friends. The author died of liver cancer at her sister’s home in London on February 13th, 1952. Most of her friends were not aware of her illness.

BEST JOSEPHINE TEY BOOKS

These are two best novels by Josephine Tey.

To Love and Be Wise: Book number four in Inspector Alan Grant series by Josephine Tey. In this novel, Inspector Grant is tasked with the investigation of the disappearance a very handsome photographer whose arrival in the English town had some great impact on the locals.

It is up to the inspector to find out whether the photographer committed suicide, accidentally drowned or whether he met his death at the hand of his female admirers.

This is an excellent novel from Josephine Tey; the characters are well crafted while the plot is quite engaging with some twists and turns. A fascinating aspect of the book is the absence of a ridiculous plot and character that one will almost find in many of the detective stories written during the “golden age.”

A Shilling for Candles: One beautiful morning a young woman body is found drowned in the sea near Westover. First, it is deemed as an accident, then suicide and an evidence of foul play is discovered, and the Scotland Yard officer Alan Grant takes over the case.

The drowned victim is later identified as a renowned British actress and a Hollywood star, Christine Clay who had been staying in a cottage for about a month so as to get some break from her busy life. The suspects to the murder include her lodger Robin Tisdall, her husband Lord Edward Champneis and Herbert Gotobed her brother. Lydia Keat, a fortune teller, had foretold the woman’s death.

The Scotland Yard detective investigates the minimal evidence as well as each detective whereabouts and actions. When Grants attempts to take one of the suspects in custody, the suspect gets away, and Erica, the daughter of the police chief, aids the suspect in hiding. She then searches for evidence to prove his innocence.

With all the red herrings abound, each of the suspects seems the villain until the inspector discovers what each of the villains has been hiding.

The novel derives its name, A shilling for Candle from Christine’s will, in which she leaves her brother only a shilling for a candle.

If you are a fan of mystery novels that feature some historical context aspects to give you a glimpse of what 19th century was like, then Josephine Tey has what you need for your bookshelf.