The Daughter of Time

The Daughter of Time - Josephine Tey

The Daughter of Time by Josephine Tey

This is the first book I have read with my new book club. I have always wanted to join one and when I saw they were reading The Nigh Circus I took that as a sign. A book club like this is a great opportunity for me to branch out and read books that I would probably never read on my own.

A detective novel written in 1951 before Tey's death has become a classic in detective novels. Josephine Tey is actually a pseudonym for Elizabeth Mackintosh.  The novel follows Scotland Yard's Grant Allen as he recovers from an injury on the job. Bedridden, his view consists of a hospital ceiling and wall. After requesting a form of entertainment from one of his primary visitors, Marta, he receives an assortment of photographs.  Marta is an actress and a lady of the theatre who portrays Mackintosh's love for the theatre. Grant is a man of faces and believes he can judge a persons character from their appearance. When a face catches his attention, he starts a historically academic search on the person in question and their story. Each person sees something different when looking at the picture, but when the are told the photograph is of Richard III all they see is a monster and murderer. 

The story of Richard III varies from sources, but there is a general view taught in the history books at school that Richard III murdered his nephews. The story is well known in history as the Princes in the Tower. Grant is introduced to a young american man named Brent Carradine who works at the British Museum. The two explore different references found in literature to form a timeline and to prove or disprove the truth behind Richard III. 

I love the possibility of mysteries hidden for hundreds of years and the truth being revealed through investigation and research. It's very exciting and makes me want to look further into these historical figures and their secrets.  The term Tonypandy was used in reference to Tonypandy in Wales and events that had taken place and called a massacre were anything but.  Tonypandy is used a lot in the novel to represent the things that have been said and are taught as pure facts about history that are actually based on falsehoods.  The voice of fact is usually heard from the person who is in power at the time.  Many facts about Richard III would have come from a Tudor perspective, whether it was correct or not. 

There are a few characters that play a minor role and their involvement is rather questionable. One character in particular is an older lady who visits him and provides no benefits to the story. The best parts in the story are the new discoveries and how the pieces of the puzzle fit together. All the times between are rather dull and become an annoyance. 

I did enjoy this novel more than I thought I would. It is something I would never have touched on my own and I enjoyed the experience. It makes me want to watch some of the historical royal based series appearing on TV.  The novel also comes at a time where Richard III's remains were actually found recently and I would be interested in checking out this news report. It's not a very long book which makes it easier to recommend, but a brief summary would also be acceptable. Despite having read the entire book, I look forward to my book club meeting to hear how others felt. More importantly I would like to know why the story focuses solely on Richard III and the Princes in the Tower, and yet the title of the novel is The Daughter of Time. This remains a mystery to me.  There may be a quote on this in the book but I was not able to find it.  

Sadly, despite all things, this isn't really a book I would suggest you go out and read as there are more interesting things.
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