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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
4,0071541,277 (4)2 / 523
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. 101
    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. 50
    Richard the Third by Paul Murray Kendall (myshelves)
    myshelves: Biography
  4. 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.
  5. 41
    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 (151)  Italian (1)  Danish (1)  All languages (153)
Showing 1-5 of 151 (next | show all)
This is a fictional account of a man who looks into the case of England's Richard III. He decides that history has not been fair to Richard, that most of what we "know" was written by Richard's enemies to deliberately smear him. The subject is interesting and presented in an entertaining manner. I highly recommend the audiobook recorded by Derek Jacobi. ( )
  baobab | Jul 6, 2016 |
Baffled by the love, especially the critics who have this way, way up on lists of best mystery novels of all time. Although not a bad book, it's got a pace to it that only a hard-core English history pedant could find exciting. Thankfully, it's a short book, so the staggering boredom is over with quickly. Recommended for insomniacs, masochists, and the aforementioned English bores. ( )
  nog | Jun 16, 2016 |
Alan Grant is stuck in the hospital after a most inconvenient, and highly embarrassing, fall through a trap door that happened before this book began. He is taken care of by the midget (who was actually a full five foot two and who could lift heavy things as though they were nothing) and the amazon (who was a good sized woman but found it harder to lift things). Somewhat irascible as a result, he is encouraged to solve some historic mystery by one of his friends, who brings him a pile of prints of historic portraits (this was published in 1952, after all), and he's soon off, with the aid of a young American researcher, figuring out whether or not Richard III actually killed his two missing nephews.

Read aloud by Derek Jacobi, I could see why this was voted the fourth best mystery of all time by the Mystery Writers of America ( http://www.bestcrimebooks.com/top-100-mysteries-of-all-time-mystery-writers-of-a... see here ). It's not your usual detective novel, naturally, as the detective is bed ridden and the mystery over 400 years old at the time this was written, but it's engaging and even made this part of history quite interesting. ( )
  Karin7 | Jun 13, 2016 |
Ingenious mystery in the hands of a skilled writer. Written in the '50's it has aged well. Tey's Inspector Alan Grant is laid up in the hospital with a broken leg. A print of a portrait of Richard III with a kind, sad face leads him to think maybe the story of Richard's murdering his nephews in the Tower of London is a falsehood and Richard is not the Monster he's been made out to be through history. He wants to investigate Richard's life, those around him, and see if he can come up with a theory of his own as to who else might have murdered the two boys, exonerating the king. He begins with a nurse's history books from school, which, of course, give the usual story. Then, an actress friend brings him Brent Carradine, a young American researcher [or "looker-upper" as the young man terms it] from the British Museum who is delighted to help Grant--bringing in authoritative books; the most important of which they find out is nothing but hearsay and doing other legwork and research as Grant directs. They do come up with an alternate theory.

The whole plot was clever, taking place in one room only, mostly through dialogue and through excerpts from the different books, letters and other information the young man brings him. I wonder, if in the right hands it could be adapted into a play if it hasn't been already. I was confused by all the names and relationships but there was a family tree that helped. ( )
  janerawoof | May 12, 2016 |
I didnt like this book.

Inspector Alan Grant,is confined to hospital bed of a broken leg. And his friend brings him a set of portraits to set him free of the boredom, knowing his fascination towards studying faces.
Among the portraits, Grant gets interested in Richard III's face, who is depicted as a horrible person in history, yet with a generous and pleasant face. And Grant set outs on the facts of history books and studies to prove that what he felt about Richard III as a kind person is true and the history told form 500 years is utterly false. (kindly note, he does all this by thinking and reading different books on his HOSPITAL BED!!!! :@)

that is why i got so bored about the book .... ( )
  PallaviSharma | May 9, 2016 |
Showing 1-5 of 151 (next | show all)
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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)

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