Grant lay on his high white cot and stared at the ceiling. Stared at it with loathing. He knew by heart every last minute crack on its nice clean surface. He had made maps of the ceiling and gone exploring on them; rivers, islands, and continents. He had made guessing games of it and discovered hidden objects; faces, birds, and fishes. He had made mathematical calculations of it and rediscovered his childhood; theorems, angles, and triangles. There was practically nothing else he could do but look at it.
It's hard for me to imagine that just a little over four years ago I was not a mystery reader. While I was willing to try a new genre and a new author based on my best friend's recommendation, I didn't think I'd actually enjoy it, as in LOVE what I'm reading. In July 2010, I read two Josephine Tey books: The Man in the Queue, which I've read only once, and The Daughter of Time, which I've reread again and again. This is the fourth time I've read The Daughter of Time!
The Daughter Of Time isn't a typical mystery. The hero, Inspector Grant, is stuck in a hospital bed with a broken leg. He sees visitors. He sees doctors and nurses. He could spend his time reading. But. He isn't really satisfied with the fiction close at hand provided by his friends. What he really wants is to have a case to solve. That seems impossible until someone suggests he solve a case from the past. He seeks out a mystery from history. He chooses Richard III. The action in the novel comes from thinking, reading, researching, and brainstorming with his friends.
Since I've read it four times, you have to know that I LOVE, LOVE, LOVE this one. I love it even more each time I read it! And this SONG is a must!!!!
It was brought home to him for the first time not only what a useless thing the murder of the boys would have been, but what a silly thing. And if there was anything that Richard of Gloucester was not, beyond a shadow of a doubt, it was silly. (137)
"Of course I'm only a policeman," Grant said. "Perhaps I never moved in the right circles. It may be that I've met only nice people. Where would one have to go to meet a woman who became matey with the murderer of her two boys?"
"Greece, I should think," Marta said. "Ancient Greece."
"I can't remember a sample even there."
"Or a lunatic asylum, perhaps. Was there any sign of idiocy about Elizabeth Woodville?"
"Not that anyone ever noticed. And she was Queen for twenty years or so."
"Yes of course. It's the height of absurdity. It belongs to Ruthless Rhymes, not to sober history. That is why historians surprise me. They seem to have no talent for the likeliness of any situation. They see history like a peepshow; with two-dimensional figures against a distant background."
"Perhaps when you are grubbing about with tattered records you haven't time to learn about people. I don't mean about the people in the records, but just about People. Flesh and blood. And how they react to circumstances." (151)
© 2014 Becky Laney of Becky's Book Reviews