Friday, December 21, 2012

Daughter of Time

The Daughter of Time. Josephine Tey. 1951/1995. Simon & Schuster. 208 pages.

I have been wanting to reread Josephine Tey's The Daughter of Time for quite a while now. The more I read on Richard III, the more I want to read. I just find this time period to be oh-so-fascinating. And the more you read, the easier it is to keep track of who's who and who's loyal and who's not. In this Alan Grant mystery, a bed-ridden Grant turns to solving a historical mystery since he can't be working on any actual cases. A friend knowing of his boredom, of his whining, brings him a stack of portraits, hoping that one face will interest him more than the others perhaps. Grant chooses Richard III. He vaguely remembers his story, but, he wants to refresh his memory. So he begins by reading school books, then historical fiction, and then biography, etc. Grant becomes very opinionated on what he reads, judging that what passes as historical fact wouldn't be acceptable as evidence or proof in court. In other words, he finds the history books to be all gossip. For example, the biography that is supposedly so esteemed, the author would have been FIVE years old when Richard III was on the throne. Yet he writes as if he was an eyewitness to the dramatic events. Grant argues (mostly with himself and perhaps also with his two nurses) that at best the man's facts would be just stories he'd heard from others and written down. Since the biographer grew up and came into power during the Tudors--who had every reason in the world for hating and slandering Richard III--then the stories passed down to him would have bias to them. Who would make a hero out of Richard III when Henry VII or Henry VIII reigned?! He finds a kindred spirit in an American researcher named Brent Carradine. Since Grant is stuck in bed, Carradine is the man doing the hard work, digging into research. Together they discuss the facts as they see them, Grant arranges the facts seeing what he can piece together, seeing if he can make a narrative that works. He just can't believe that Richard III murdered his two nephews. Grant believes that Richard is the one with the least motive to want them dead. For their deaths do him no good whatsoever, just harm.

The Daughter of Time isn't your typical mystery novel. The detective essentially just stays in bed and reads one book after another after another. He also discusses Richard III with anyone who enters his hospital room. (His nurses don't find Richard III as fascinating as Grant does.) For readers who do enjoy history, historical fiction, this one can prove satisfying. There is a chance that mystery lovers may enjoy this one too, after all Grant himself HATES history or hates reading history, but, it may not be for everyone.  

And this SONG is a must!!!! 

You might also be interested in: The White Queen by Philippa Gregory, The Tudor Rose: A Novel of Elizabeth of York by Margaret Campbell Barnes, Richard III by William Shakespeare, The Stolen Crown by Susan Higginbotham, Sent by Margaret Peterson Haddix. Rose of York: Love & War by Sandra Worth. The Sunne in Splendour by Sharon Kay Penman. The Kingmaker's Daughter by Philippa Gregory. The Red Queen by Phillipa Gregory. The Lady of the Rivers by Philippa Gregory.

© 2012 Becky Laney of Becky's Book Reviews


David Piper,  2:43 PM  

I like the premise of this book: a bedridden investigator. Richard III is a rich "character" living in (and creating) a lasting mythology for modern readers.

Kailana 11:12 PM  

I have been meaning to read this book for ages, but hasn't happened...

Sherry 8:59 AM  

Daughter of TIme is one of my favorite "history mysteries." So, Becky, what's your opinion on the deaths of the two princes after having read all these books on the subject. I know they're mostly fiction, but each one does lay out a scenario for what might have happened to those two boys. I personally find Tey/Grant's theory compelling, but it may be because I liked her book a lot and it was the first one I ever read about the subject.

hopeinbrazil 7:15 AM  

This has been on my TRB list for ages. Maybe in 2013...

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