Saturday, May 22, 2010

A Mystery My Mother Might Love

The Daughter of Time
by Josephine Tey
New York: The MacMillan Company, 1952.

Alan Grant is laid up in the hospital after a fall through a trap door, and incredibly bored as a result. Best-sellers brought by well-meaning friends do not help his situation, but when Marta brings him some historical photographs, he suddenly takes an interest. Grant studies faces, and he comes across a photograph of a man he would have guessed to be a leader and a good man - only to find out it is Richard III. Surprised at his uncharacteristically wrong guess, he embarks on a research project to find more about the last Plantaganet king and the mystery of the murder of his nephews.

This is the type of mystery my mom might like - because it's a historical mystery, there's no violence or gore or really any immediacy, but even so the mystery is quite intriguing. I enjoyed Tey's dry sense of humor from the beginning, and once Grant started sending people off to research Richard III and continuing with historical tidbits, I was pretty well hooked. I would have followed Grant and his friends' research better had I been better versed in the history of the British monarchy, but I can't really say I wanted more inserted in the story itself. As it was, there was one chapter thick with historical summary that bored me incredibly. I also wished for a bibliography or author's note or something as an endnote to tell me where to look up more information about Richard II or Henry VII or the Princes in the Tower. I was intrigued enough, however, to want to follow up with a nonfiction title, and will certainly read more by this author in the future.

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