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Brat Farrar (1949)

by Josephine Tey

Other authors: See the other authors section.

MembersReviewsPopularityAverage ratingConversations / Mentions
1,733688,003 (4.02)2 / 362
A stranger enters the inner sanctum of the Ashby family posing as Patrick Ashby, the heir to the family's sizeable fortune. The stranger, Brat Farrar, has been carefully coached on Patrick's mannerisms, appearance and every significant detail of Patrick's early life, up to his 13th year when he disappeared and was thought to have drowned himself. It seems as if Brat is going to pull off this most incredible deception until old secrets emerge that threaten to jeopardise the imposter's plan and his very life ...… (more)
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Showing 1-5 of 66 (next | show all)
Perhaps Tey's best but a good story full of surprises. Who is the hero and who is the villein and who is the victim? Not always clear.
( )
  MMc009 | Jan 30, 2022 |
On the eve of his twenty-first birthday, Simon Ashby is poised to inherit Latchetts, a very profitable horse farm in the south of England. But then his older twin brother Patrick comes home. Patrick, who was presumed dead by suicide at the age of thirteen.

Patrick is, in fact, an orphan named Brat Farrar who has an uncanny resemblance to Simon. Brat has been carefully and expertly coached in all things Patrick, and he's so successful that he's welcomed back into the Ashby family.

It looks as though Brat is going to be able to pull off the deception until old secrets emerge that put not only his plan but also his life in danger.

~

For the most part, Golden Age mystery writers leave me cold. There is one exception, however: Josephine Tey. Her originality of thought, her dialogue, her characters, her subtlety... she just suits my mystery-loving mind right down to the ground. Brat Farrar, like Tey's The Daughter of Time, is considered to be one of the best mysteries ever written, and I'm not going to argue with this assessment.

There's something about how Tey lets us in on the con from the beginning. We know Brat is not Patrick Ashby, but as we see things through his eyes, and as we see the effect he has on the people around him, we almost want to flout the law and let him assume Patrick's place for time and all eternity.

Let's see... we know Brat is an imposter, and it's really not all that difficult to deduce what really happened to Patrick eight years ago. The real mystery is how everything is going to turn out for Brat. We know he's done wrong, but we still want him to be happy. We still want him living at Latchetts. And as for Latchetts, even Dick Francis couldn't do a better job at depicting a horse farm.

After thoroughly enjoying Brat Farrar, I have to wonder why there hasn't been a modern film adaptation of it because it would be perfect. What I don't have to wonder about is which Josephine Tey mystery I will be savoring next. I am slowly working my way through her books and enjoying myself every step of the way. ( )
  cathyskye | Jan 14, 2022 |
This is a great mystery story, and not a cozy one. Brat Farrar, an orphan who spent most of his life far away from his native country, returns to England. He meets somebody who initially mistakes him for Simon Ashby, and suggests that Brat pretends to be Simon's older twin Patrick, who mysteriously vanished eight years ago.
All goes well, the family are very happy; however Simon behaves strangely.
By and by, Patrick finds out what happened eight years ago, and it is a dark secret.
What shall he do about it?

The story has everything a good mystery needs, and I liked the ending, too.
I had my ideas about what happened, but I was only close, and the solution was a lot more grizzly than I had expected.

Carol Boyd's narration is excellent. You may wonder about a female narrator, the narration's perspective being mainly that of Brat, but it is perfect.
This was the second book by Josephine Tey I read, and I'm sure I'll check out her other work, too. ( )
  Belana | Dec 15, 2021 |
I wasn't sure about reading this one as it's not part of the Inspector Grant series. So I gave it a few pages to see if I was interested. And I was. The reversal of the expected protagonist/antagonist roles is pretty great. Even if I had a hard time believing in the evil doer. Luckily we don't spend time in his head. Lots of good horse stuff in here too. The 'breeding will out' message is not my favorite, luckily there are other things going on. ( )
  Je9 | Aug 10, 2021 |
Wow, what an excellent book! What impressed me most is the author's skill in creating a happy, (almost) just ending from very difficult circumstances. Highly recommended for all readers. ( )
  librarianarpita | Aug 4, 2021 |
Showing 1-5 of 66 (next | show all)
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» Add other authors (6 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Josephine Teyprimary authorall editionscalculated
Barnard, RobertIntroductionsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Boyd, CaroleNarratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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"Aunt Bee", said Jane, breathing heavily into her soup, "was Noah a cleverer back-room boy than Ulysses, or was Ulysses a cleverer back-room boy than Noah?"
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(Click to show. Warning: May contain spoilers.)
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aka Come and Kill Me
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A stranger enters the inner sanctum of the Ashby family posing as Patrick Ashby, the heir to the family's sizeable fortune. The stranger, Brat Farrar, has been carefully coached on Patrick's mannerisms, appearance and every significant detail of Patrick's early life, up to his 13th year when he disappeared and was thought to have drowned himself. It seems as if Brat is going to pull off this most incredible deception until old secrets emerge that threaten to jeopardise the imposter's plan and his very life ...

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A stranger enters the inner sanctum of the Ashby family posing as Patrick Ashby, the heir to the family's sizable fortune. The stranger, Brat Farrar, has been carefully coached on Patrick's mannerisms, appearance, and every significant detail of Patrick's early life, up to his thirteenth year when he disappeared and was thought to have drowned himself. It seems as if Brat is going to pull off this most incredible deception until old secrets emerge that jeopardize the imposter's plan and his life.

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It was eight years since Patrick had vanished leaving his pitiful note, "I'm sorry but I can't bear it any longer. Don't be angry with me, Patrick." Now it seemed, he had returned — just in time to claim the family inheritance. But if Patrick really had committed suicide, who was this mysterious young man claiming to be him and calling himself Brat Farrar?

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