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The Daughter of Time by Josephine Tey

The Daughter of Time (original 1951; edition 1995)

by Josephine Tey

MembersReviewsPopularityAverage ratingMentions
3,4671291,537 (4.04)434
Title:The Daughter of Time
Authors:Josephine Tey
Info:Touchstone (1995), Edition: Reprint, Paperback, 208 pages
Collections:Your library
Tags:Mystery, Historical Fiction

Work details

The Daughter of Time by Josephine Tey (1951)

  1. 81
    The Sunne in Splendour by Sharon Kay Penman (LisaMaria_C)
    LisaMaria_C: For me The Daughter of Time and The Sunne in Splendour go hand in hand. The first is the classic mystery "solving" the mystery of the Two Princes in the Tower and the second a sympathetic biographical novel of Richard III which is well-researched and moving.… (more)
  2. 70
    The Murders of Richard III by Elizabeth Peters (Cynara)
    Cynara: Both books are, broadly speaking, mysteries debunking the popular misconceptions around Richard III; Tey's book is entirely concerned with the subject, and Peters' does so as a sort of subplot, in addition to a more traditional mystery. I'd suggest reading Tey first, as her mystery has less to offer once you've read Peters.… (more)
  3. 40
    Richard the Third by Paul Murray Kendall (myshelves)
    myshelves: Biography
  4. 52
    Richard III by William Shakespeare (bookwoman247)
    bookwoman247: This is a mystery involving Richard III and the two princes in the tower, and seems to have garnered a bit of respect. It's a great read on its own, and would make a great companion read to Shakespeare's Richard III.
  5. 31
    The Wench is Dead by Colin Dexter (Cynara)
    Cynara: Two hospitalised detectives work through historical mysteries, investigating from their cots. Tey's is the more famous work, and will give you a good education on the ins and outs of the rehabilitation of Richard III, but to my mind, Dexter's book is better.
  6. 31
    Royal Blood: King Richard III and the Mystery of the Princes by Bertram Fields (inge87)
  7. 20
    We Speak No Treason by Rosemary Hawley Jarman (Imprinted, KayCliff)
  8. 10
    Yorkists: The History of a Dynasty by Anne Crawford (KayCliff)

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Showing 1-5 of 126 (next | show all)

Read during Summer 2007

Inspector Grant turns his 'prickles of boredom' time, laid up in hospital with a broken leg, to solving the mystery of what happened to the Princes in the Tower. Perhaps he does, perhaps he doesn't, the historical research is not completely clear and I was hoping from some kind of author note about it but no luck. Like 'The Man in the Queue', it peters out at the end, once Grant decides that it was Henry VII who had the Princes killed. Interesting read but good to cross.
  amyem58 | Jul 3, 2014 |
This book is really set within a hospital room, with visitors coming and going. To take his mind off being bedridden while a broken leg and injured spine starts to heal, Inspector Alan Grant of Scotland Yard has tried reading, math and staring at the ceiling. None works for long. After discussing his penchant for studying faces, an actress friend brings him an assortment of pictures of famous portraits. He becomes intrigued with the one of Richard III, seeing not the humpbacked monster of Shakespeare but instead a man who has suffered and cared for others. He solicits opinions from others and finally is introduced to an amateur researcher who becomes his legs in getting information about the last of the Plantaganets and the first of the Tudor monarchs, leading to his conclusion that Henry Tudor was the one who killed not only the princes in the tower but all the other heirs to the British Throne. Their discoveries and methodology were fascinating and I really enjoyed this book immensely. I heard about it first in a forward to another novel, which I can't remember, and I heartily recommend it to anyone with a love of history and an interest in political machinations. ( )
  CindyBrooks | Jun 19, 2014 |
"I'll never again believe anything I read in a history book, as long as I live, so help me."

I read this in honor of Mystery March, but I could easily categorize this read as "Rescued From the Bottom of the Pile," "What Was I Waiting For?" or "Awesome." Such a fun read! Scotland Yard Inspector Alan Grant is confined to a hospital bed after breaking his leg. His friends try books and other diversions to keep him from going crazy, but what captivates him is a portrait of Richard III -- the awful murderer of the two princes in the Tower. Grant prides himself on "reading" faces, but is surprised at his reaction to Richard. His friends and nurses procure history books for him -- first from school, then from Charing Cross book stores, the British Museum, and the British Library. While history has made up its mind about Richard, the detective mind of Grant is thoroughly unimpressed by the evidence and leading sources -- history's best authorities consist of gossip and hearsay. He and an eager American researcher pour over historical records and uncover layer after layer of historical inconsistency -- enough to look at Richard and his successor Henry VII in a whole new light, and consider the bias "history" assumes based on who is doing the telling, or on popular sentiment/propaganda of the day. A fascinating read, particularly after the very recent -- and real -- discovery of the remains of the real Richard III.
3 vote AMQS | Mar 27, 2014 |
This book is almost pure pleasure from beginning to end, as a London police detective, convalescing in a hospital, cures his boredom by investigating the murder of the Princes in the Tower, supposedly at the instigation of King Richard III, which occurred over 450 years earlier. Reading this book in the 21st Century, this reader can't appreciate the apparent novelty it had when first published, as a clever new way to write a mystery. But I can appreciate the sheer interest of the story, as the detective and a young American doing research at the British Museum, work to separate hearsay from facts and reconstruct the series of events leading to Richard being accused (and convicted in the mind of the public for hundreds of years) of the murders of his nephews. The book loses a star simply because there isn't any mystery at this point as to what the outcome will be. From the earliest chapters, the evidence against Richard begins to fall apart. A couple of attempts to introduce some suspense and doubt later in the book are unsuccessful. Along the way, however, we get a few very important lessons about accepting what we read as history as fact. Tey provides several good examples of where accepted history is sheer bunk. To an average, or even historically-minded American reader, these examples aren't very familiar, however, although we can think of parallels in our own history.

Again, this book is a lot of fun to read, and it is a pretty good page-turner. It should be required reading for any history major or anyone who reads history. ( )
  datrappert | Mar 23, 2014 |
This is the least active detective story you can possibly imagine. It happens entirely in one room, but it's not at all boring. Inspector Grant has been incapacitaed by falling through a trapdoor while chasing a felon. And is, thus, restricted to bed and as bored as it is possible to be. His friends buy him books, but it isn't until Marta turns up with some pictures of people that are involved in various mysteries that he begins to perk up. The last face is one that he decides is a kind, fair man who would be on the bench, not in the dock. So is stunned to discover that it is Richard III, the murderer of the princes in the Tower. He badgers the nurses to get him histories, then is presented with Brent, an American who is over following his beloved to London and amusing himself by doing research in the British Museum on the side. Bit by bit Grant sends Brent out to ferret for information, which he duly does. And between them the debunk the Richard III are murdered myth - putting Henry VII firmly in the dock instead. None of which I feel is a spoiler. But it is an inventive idea for a mystery. The murder is ages old, the detection is academic, not physical and the truth can never be proven for sure - on the balance of probability is the best you can expect at this remove.
I imagine if you're not familiar with this period of English history then this book is a complete mystery to you. Having a reasonable grounding, I recognised most of what they uncovered, and so the only mystery to me was who they would pin the murder on.
I listened to this, narrated by Derek Jacobi, who took great deligh in doing the voices of the nurses, complete with accents. I thought some of the observations made by Grant were great, exactly as mean spirited as the bored can be. This was a fun listen and I can see why it remains a classic, if atypical, mystery, ( )
  Helenliz | Mar 3, 2014 |
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» Add other authors (12 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Tey, Josephineprimary authorall editionsconfirmed
Barnard, RobertIntroductionsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Jacobi, DerekNarratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Manninen, AnteroTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Sheban, ChrisCover artistsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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"Truth is the daughter of time."
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Grant lay on his high white cot and stared at the ceiling.
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(Click to show. Warning: May contain spoilers.)
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Wikipedia in English (1)

Book description
The Daughter of Time, Josephine Tey's best-known work, is still widely admired not just as a defense of Richard III of England but also as a study of the nature and practice of history writing itself. It's also an entertaining and clever novel that was named #1 on the list of "Top 100 Crime Novels of All Time" by the Crime Writers' Association.


Scotland Yard Inspector Alan Grant lies in a hospital bed with a broken leg. To alleviate his boredom, a friend brings him a pile of pictures: photographs, prints, engravings, and clippings. Among the more engrossing images is the portrait of King Richard III. Studying the benign face, he asks himself how such a sensitive-appearing soul could have been the infamous murderer of his own nephews. With the help of the British Museum and an American scholar, Grant reconsiders 500-year-old evidence pertaining to one of the most intriguing murder mysteries of all time. Josephine Tey's answer to who really killed the two princes in the Tower of London has provoked controversy ever since its publication in 1951.


Inspector Alan Grant of Scotland Yard, recuperating from a broken leg, becomes fascinated with a contemporary portrait of Richard III that bears no resemblance to the Wicked Uncle of history. Could such a sensitive, noble face actually belong to one of the world's most heinous villains — a venomous hunchback who may have killed his brother's children to make his crown secure? Or could Richard have been the victim, turned into a monster by the usurpers of England's throne? Grant determines to find out once and for all, with the help of the British Museum and an American scholar, what kind of man Richard Plantagenet really was and who killed the Little Princes in the Tower.


Scotland Yard Inspector Alan Grant is bored out of his mind. Due to an unfortunate fall and multiple injuries he is bed ridden in the hospital and the long healing process and subsequent inaction are driving him crazy. A friend, knowing of the Inspector's passion for faces, brings him a portfolio of historical portraits thinking to distract him. She hopes he will involve himself in solving a "classic" historical mystery, since he seems to know all the facts of the Scotland Yard cases by heart. Grant homes in on the portrait of King Richard III, the supposedly wicked uncle who murdered his nephews, the boy princes, in the London's Tower. He remembers how Richard was portrayed in elementary school history and certainly recalls Shakespeare's vivid portrait of the evil hunchbacked king. However, try as he may, Grant cannot reconcile the face in the painting with that of a tyrannical children's' murderer and usurper of England's throne. He sees conscience and integrity in the face of the painting's subject. And his curiosity is aroused for the first time since his accident.

Grant asks for historical books and reads everything he can get his hands on. He finally comes into contact with a young research student from America who also becomes caught-up in the hypothesis that Richard III was framed. Author Josephine Tey, with the skill of the best in Scotland Yard, conducts an objective investigation of a centuries-old crime. She evenly portrays both side of the story, Richard III's and King Henry VII's (the other suspect), with all its twists and turns, reveals compelling evidence and comes to an amazing conclusion.

The reader is literally taken back in time to examine the accusations, testimonies and material relating to the death of Richard's brother, King Edward IV in 1483, the known history of his sons, Princes Edward and Richard after their father's death and their mysterious disappearance, the behavior of Edward's widow and children, including his eldest daughter Elizabeth, who becomes Henry's bride, Queen and mother to Henry VIII. Tey provides an extraordinarily well researched profile of Richard III, pieced together directly from historical documents, and another profile of Henry Tudor. The author also examines the 1934 exhumation of the two children who were first dug up in 1674. Motives are examined and finally, conclusions are drawn, proving, once again, that history is written by winners.

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Amazon.com Amazon.com Review (ISBN 0684803860, Paperback)

Josephine Tey is often referred to as the mystery writer for people who don't like mysteries. Her skills at character development and mood setting, and her tendency to focus on themes not usually touched upon by mystery writers, have earned her a vast and appreciative audience. In Daughter of Time, Tey focuses on the legend of Richard III, the evil hunchback of British history accused of murdering his young nephews. While at a London hospital recuperating from a fall, Inspector Alan Grant becomes fascinated by a portrait of King Richard. A student of human faces, Grant cannot believe that the man in the picture would kill his own nephews. With an American researcher's help, Grant delves into his country's history to discover just what kind of man Richard Plantagenet was and who really killed the little princes.

(retrieved from Amazon Mon, 30 Sep 2013 13:22:47 -0400)

(see all 5 descriptions)

With the help of the British museum and an American scholar, Inspector Alan Grant investigates the history of King Richard III, to determine if he was a heinous villain who killed his brother's children to secure his power, or a victim turned into a monster by the usurpers of England's throne.… (more)

(summary from another edition)

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