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The Daughter of Time by Josephine Tey

The Daughter of Time (original 1951; edition 2011)

by Josephine Tey

MembersReviewsPopularityAverage ratingConversations / Mentions
3,8211451,354 (4.01)2 / 505
Title:The Daughter of Time
Authors:Josephine Tey
Info:Oxford City Press (2011), Hardcover, 158 pages
Collections:Reviewed, Read but unowned

Work details

The Daughter of Time by Josephine Tey (1951)

  1. 91
    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. 80
    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. 62
    King 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.
  4. 40
    Richard the Third by Paul Murray Kendall (myshelves)
    myshelves: Biography
  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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English (142)  Italian (1)  Danish (1)  All languages (144)
Showing 1-5 of 142 (next | show all)
Why check out an audio edition of The Daughter of Time, a book I've owned in print for decades and reread several times? It's the sensible thing to do if one wants something in the background while the hands are busy. Unlike TV, there's no reason to look up and possibly losing count of counted cross-stitch.

This classic novel has the author's Inspector Grant bored to death on a hospital bed. A friend gives him some photos of portraits of historical mysteries. One of them is that of Richard III, popularly supposed to have had his nephews, the sons of Edward IV, murdered. Grant's interest is piqued because he's good with faces and this one doesn't look like the face of someone who could commit such a monstrous deed.

His friend provides him with a tame American researcher. Young Carradine takes to the task with enthusiasm. The more they look into the crime, the more evidence they find that Richard III was innocent -- and someone else had the motive, means, and opportunity.

Along the way, Ms. Tey provides readers with other examples of supposed history that aren't true. This book is so convincing that I've never even watched or read Shakespeare's play or read the account owned by Sir Thomas More.

Note: It wasn't known at the time this book was written, but broken bones take longer to heal for smokers. Poor Inspector Grant was sabotaging his recovery. ( )
  JalenV | Jan 25, 2016 |
The Daughter of Time by Josephine Tey - very good

This was recommended to me by Pauline (well actually she posted it to me) following my review of Death at the Priory by James Ruddick (which I then
sent to her).

This is a different style of book. Death at the Priory is non-fiction investigating a Victorian Murder with the benefit of modern methods. This is also an investigation of a historical murder, but this time of the Princes in the Tower and in a fictional guise.

Inspector Grant is laid up in hospital following an accident whilst chasing a criminal. This is the 1950s (I think - at least it was originally published in 1951). Because he's bored (lying prone due to broken bones) friends are trying to find something to entertain him. Fiction isn't doing the trick and someone hits on the idea of him investigating an old mystery. Cue a picture of Richard III and his deciding to follow up on what really happened to the Princes.

I'm not going to go through all the facts covered. Suffice it to say, he comes to a different conclusion than 'the usual'. It all seemed very plausible and certainly knocks Philippa Gregory into a cocked hat. I now see Richard III in a new light and will have to do some digging & see whether all the facts still check out (on first google, more info has come forward which disputes some of this book - regardless, it certainly makes you think about taking Tudor written history on face value or any other history for that matter)

What really entertains (as with Agatha Christie and the era she wrote her various books in) is the 1950s detailing. Love the way Grant is allowed to chain smoke in his hospital bed :-)

Great book, well written & fast paced, really hooked me in: read a couple of chapters last night, a chapter over breakfast & then found I needed to sit and read the whole book. Took me less than an afternoon.
( )
  Cassandra2020 | Jan 24, 2016 |
3.5 stars ( )
  SabinaE | Jan 23, 2016 |
Rating: 4.5* of five

The Publisher Says: Scotland Yard Inspector Alan Grant is intrigued by a portrait of Richard III. Could such a sensitive face actually belong to a heinous villain — a king who killed his brother's children to secure his crown? Grant seeks what kind of man Richard was and who in fact killed the princes in the tower.

My Review: Many's the Golden Age mystery that, viewed by modern eyes and filtered through epithet-intolerant lenses, doesn't hold up well. This novel, published in 1951, not only holds up well but shows up many a modern "master" of the form. This isn't some bloated tome that makes your night table sag. This isn't some CSI-esque science class in blood chemistry or the digestive system. It is a beautifully constructed, interestingly conceived, historically extremely persuasive treatise on the subject of Richard III and the Little Princes in the Tower he allegedly murdered.

It is also a "thumping good read," as a Canadian friend of mine calls them: A book that sucks you in, seduces you with clarity and fascination, and at the end, leaves you fully satisfied. The Daughter of Time was her last completed novel, and the last published before her death from cancer at the absurdly young (to modern sensibilities) age of 56. However thoroughly delicious a catalog of work she left us with, including a posthumously published novel The Singing Sands, another decade or two would likely have given us many more delights. Call me greedy, but I crave those lost ideas. Curse you, cigarettes! ( )
  richardderus | Dec 18, 2015 |
I would put this more at a 3.5, but rouded up as I did like it more than a 3 star book.

I think Josephine Tey is a good author and overall I thought the topic was interesting, but it read too much like a history text. The first 70 pages were just too dense with information. I actually did quite a bit of my own research before I could continue reading the book just so I could get a handle on all the players.

What I find most fascinating about this book, is that it sparked other people going back and looking at the history of Richard III and what was really true. ( )
  NatalieS11 | Sep 29, 2015 |
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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." (Sir Francis Bacon, Novum Organum, Book I, 84)
First words
Grant lay on his high white cot and stared at the ceiling.
You don't like to think of a man you've known and admired flung stripped and dangling across a pony like a dead animal.
Last words
(Click to show. Warning: May contain spoilers.)
Disambiguation notice
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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.

Haiku summary

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 Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:04:15 -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)

» see all 14 descriptions

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