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The Daughter of Time (1951)

by Josephine Tey

Other authors: See the other authors section.

Series: Alan Grant (5)

MembersReviewsPopularityAverage ratingConversations / Mentions
5,3322121,614 (3.96)2 / 665
Confined to a hospital bed, Scotland Yard's Inspector Grant reconsiders 500-year-old evidence and brilliantly arrives at a compelling new answer to one of the most intriguing mysteries in history-- who really murdered the young princes who were imprisoned in the Tower of London?
Recently added bygeoffconnor, cefreedman, Bousso, Arena800, AGeorge, StTimothys, VCarlson, private library
Legacy LibrariesEdward Estlin Cummings
  1. 121
    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. 90
    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. 61
    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.
  5. 62
    The Tragedy of Richard the Third 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.
  6. 30
    We Speak No Treason by Rosemary Hawley Jarman (Imprinted, KayCliff)
  7. 31
    Royal Blood: King Richard III and the Mystery of the Princes by Bertram Fields (inge87)
  8. 10
    The Black Tower by Louis Bayard (bjappleg8)
    bjappleg8: Both novels use detectives to explore historical mysteries surrounding princes banished to towers and whose fates can never be known for certain.
  9. 00
    Chatterton by Peter Ackroyd (kmcmahon)
    kmcmahon: Though very different types of book, both feature modern day characters trying to solve famous mysterious deaths from centuries before.
  10. 00
    The Madman of Bergerac by Georges Simenon (shaunie)
    shaunie: The detective solves the crime whilst bedridden in both. Both also somewhat overrated?
  11. 00
    Yorkists: The History of a Dynasty by Anne Crawford (KayCliff)
1950s (35)

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English (209)  Italian (1)  Danish (1)  All languages (211)
Showing 1-5 of 209 (next | show all)
Call it 3.75. I enjoyed the mystery, but my eyes kept glazing over during long descriptions of royal genealogies and where they all were on this or that day. It was very biblical in the sense of so-and-so begat whosit and lived 483 years and whosit begat whatshis and lived 523 years and so on. And in the end, most of it seemed irrelevant to the solution. You really have to care about the English monarchy to track about half the story. On the other hand the mystery of who murdered the princes in the tower is one of the great historical mysteries, and it was interesting to see how Tey pieced together Richard III’s character out of primary sources. ( )
  IVLeafClover | Jun 21, 2022 |
The Daughter of Time by Josephine Tey (1951) (4 stars)
On the back of this book, it touts the author as “one of the greatest mystery writers of all time”…well maybe in the 1950’s. Some books age better than others and this one would probably be classified as slow and boring now a days. That being said, it is an interesting prospect that is being brought to light here in this book that merits further study for the history buff (and for justice’s sake).
The author wrote a series of mysteries featuring the character, Alan Grant, a Scotland Yard investigator and this is one of those stories. Grant is recuperating from a leg injury and his friends bring him books to read to save him from being bored while he is recuperating. One of his friends brings him a stack of pictures of historical persons to contemplate because, as an investigator, he studies faces to help him solve crimes and he finds the picture of monarch Richard III especially interesting because it looks like a kind face, not like the face of a man who enabled the murder his two young nephews in the Tower of London, so he could usurp the throne of England. History has not been kind to Richard’s reputation, the book explores the possibility that Richard was not involved in the disappearance of the young nephews.
One draw back to reading this book is that if you are not very familiar with the history of England, especially during the time period of Richard III you can get lost in all the history related conversation going on in the book. Also, the book is very English in its style of writing; that may annoy some readers or delight others. Though the book is at sometimes bogged down with history it does present an interesting conundrum that deserves to be studied in more detail by historians today. Richard did not have much, if anything, to gain from doing or ordering the dastardly deed, but Henry VII and his fellow supporters sure did, and they became the victors who wrote the history that came afterwards.
  kaida46 | May 27, 2022 |
(24) I have read a few of Josephone Tey's Inspector Grant novels, none of which I thought were any great shakes - but this one was quite enjoyable. Of course, Sharon Kay Penman's 'The Sun in Splendor', historical fiction tome written from the Yorkist POV is one of my favorite books of all time - so I may be biased. At this point, I am ready to join one of those pro-Richard III societies dedicated to restoring his reputation. Anyway, Inspector Grant is laid up in hospital and tries to solve a historical mystery of 'The Princes in the Tower,' He uses not just textbook's but primary sources and a young American history grad student as a researcher. I will leave his conclusions out of the review so as not to spoil - but it is an enjoyable read for a history buff.

It is quite a short book that took me an inordinately long time to finish. I think due to life circumstances and not the fault of the book. I thought it was well written; not flowery or overly cryptic as some of Ruth Rendell's Wexfords. I can't quite remember what I disliked about the other Tey mysteries I read; but I know I gave up the series as being dull; dated affairs. Perhaps I should reconsider because this was a fabulous blend of mystery and history.

Makes me wish there were more Sharon Kay Penman novels for me to read... ( )
  jhowell | May 13, 2022 |
Almost drowned in all the history, but this is still a fun and interesting read. Novel approach to a mystery story. ( )
  siok | May 2, 2022 |
Not sure how I managed 25 years of reading detective novels and sopping up the history of the British monarchy - including a strong pro-Ricardian revisionist bent - without reading this book.

That oversight has now been righted!

Absolutely brilliant. ( )
  gingerhat | Mar 1, 2022 |
Showing 1-5 of 209 (next | show all)

» Add other authors (19 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
Weir, AlisonIntroductionsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Weller, LucyIllustratorsecondary 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.
A frisson of horror may go down one's spine at wholesale destruction but one's heart stays unmoved. A thousand people drowned in floods in China are news: a solitary child drowned in a pond is tragedy.
It was, moreover, the almost-respectable form of historical fiction which is merely history-with-conversation, so to speak. An imaginative biography rather than an imagined story.
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(Click to show. Warning: May contain spoilers.)
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Information from the Italian Common Knowledge. Edit to localize it to your language.
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Wikipedia in English (1)

Confined to a hospital bed, Scotland Yard's Inspector Grant reconsiders 500-year-old evidence and brilliantly arrives at a compelling new answer to one of the most intriguing mysteries in history-- who really murdered the young princes who were imprisoned in the Tower of London?

No library descriptions found.

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
Who killed the Princes
in the Tower? Inspector
Grant investigates.

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