HomeGroupsTalkExploreZeitgeist
Search Site
This site uses cookies to deliver our services, improve performance, for analytics, and (if not signed in) for advertising. By using LibraryThing you acknowledge that you have read and understand our Terms of Service and Privacy Policy. Your use of the site and services is subject to these policies and terms.
Hide this

Results from Google Books

Click on a thumbnail to go to Google Books.

Loading...

The Franchise Affair (1948)

by Josephine Tey

Other authors: See the other authors section.

Series: Alan Grant (3)

MembersReviewsPopularityAverage ratingMentions
1,889717,121 (3.89)273
Marion Sharpe and her mother seem an unlikely duo to be found on the wrong side of the law. Quiet and ordinary, they have led a peaceful and unremarkable life at their country home, The Franchise. Unremarkable that is, until the police turn up with a demure young woman on their doorstep. Not only does Betty Kane accuse them of kidnap and abuse, she can back up her claim with a detailed description of the attic room in which she was kept, right down to the crack in its round window. But there's something about Betty Kane's story that doesn't quite add up. Inspector Alan Grant of Scotland Yard is stumped. And it takes Robert Blair, local solicitor turned amateur detective, to solve the mystery that lies at the heart of The Franchise Affair ...… (more)
  1. 20
    Elizabeth Is Missing, or, Truth Triumphant: An Eighteenth Century Mystery by Lillian De La Torre (bmlg)
    bmlg: one is a modern (20th c.) revisioning and the other a historical examination of the Canning Wonder
  2. 00
    We Have Always Lived in the Castle by Shirley Jackson (lahochstetler)
    lahochstetler: Mystery/horror stories with a Gothic twist, about the particular horror that can come from an entire small town turning against you.
  3. 01
    The Privateer by Josephine Tey (wildbill)
Loading...

Sign up for LibraryThing to find out whether you'll like this book.

No current Talk conversations about this book.

» See also 273 mentions

English (70)  Dutch (1)  All languages (71)
Showing 1-5 of 70 (next | show all)
Nominally an Inspector Grant book (number 3 in the 6 book series) this is less about Grant - who barely makes an appearance - and more about Robert Blair, a wills and probate solicitor in a small town. At the beginning of the book, he is becoming aware that he is in a rut and whilst tradition is nice and steady, there is perhaps, something more missing, but he doesnt know what. He is almost out the door when his phone goes. Marion Sharpe is in need of help. She, along with her mother, has been accused of kidnapping and holding a young girl hostage in their decrepit and lonely house. The girl's testimony is both specific and vague enough to be almost impossible to disprove, and a lack of proof that they didnt do it is likewise almost impossible to prove.
Blair agrees to provde legal support as best he can, despite not being a criminal lawyer, and as he gets involved with Marion and the case, finds he wants to continue giving both legal and emotional support. He does everything to help the women out, instigating investigations and doing the checks that the police seem unwilling or constrained not to take forward. Initially the police are not willing to press charges on the basis there is nothing more than one person's word against another. However, the national press get involved and soon whip the reading public's emotions into a frenzy, making the police reinvestigate the issue, and the women’s case makes its’ way into the assizes.
Considering how old this book is (first published in 1948) it’s both interesting and sad how little things have changed – especially around the press, and the general reading public, who takes things on the face of it. As expected the case appears for one day on the front page, they present a judgement on the Sharpes verses the innocent-looking 15 year old Betty, and the letters page (today’s Comment section) is inundated until late the following week with hysteria – which leads to some windows being smashed at The Franchise. However, it has almost died down when another gutter publication (previous heroes including a left wing killer being persecuted by his government who – shock – want to lock him up for being a “patriot” for killing people). Sadly things have not changed much as of today, only the vehicle.
The dénouement comes late in the story and is much of luck as anything. It leads to a showdown in court with the testimony of Betty being pulled apart and the façade of her innocence being shown to be false to all who were willing it to be true.
  nordie | Apr 18, 2022 |
When Betty Lane returns home after being missing for awhile she tells a tale of being abducted and forced to work as a house maid. Her detailed account was believable and two women were arrested and accused of the crime. The accused, Marion and her mother Mrs. Sharpe lived alone in a large manor house they had inherited recently. Did they really abduct Betty Lane? Everyone in the village of Milford except Attorney Robert Blair thinks so. Was Betty's story an elaborate ruse or did the women really abduct her? How will Blair attempt to defend his clients? As always Josephine Tey's books are well crafted and a joy to read. Inspector Grant of Scotland Yard makes brief appearance but is not central to the story. ( )
  MMc009 | Jan 30, 2022 |
Just excellent, good writing and characterization. I didn't know enough English history to appreciate The Daughter of Time, but this book displayed Tey's writing and plotting chops. Her conservative views of the undeserving poor are a little off-putting, but since it is not a contemporary mystery, I can live with it. Definitely would read another. ( )
  fromthecomfychair | Nov 11, 2021 |
This is a many-times reread, one of my favorites of Tey's mysteries. It's technically part of the Alan Grant series - he's certainly here, but he's not the protagonist nor do we ever get a glimpse inside his head. I actually wonder what happened, because Grant is usually really good at seeing holes in the obvious story - and here, he doesn't even catch Rose and her friend as unreliable witnesses. That's up to the protagonist, Robert Blair. Nicely twisty story, with a very interesting and constantly expanding cast of characters. And when the mystery is solved, there's a lovely postscript - callback to the first scene in the book, and a possible much happier ending. Or at least more interesting (for the characters - it's plenty interesting for the reader!). ( )
  jjmcgaffey | Nov 3, 2021 |
A good mystery, with an unusual plot. Not your usual murder mystery. Quite captivating. Hard to put down. Good narrator, didn't get in the way of the story. ( )
  njcur | Oct 21, 2021 |
Showing 1-5 of 70 (next | show all)
no reviews | add a review

» Add other authors (10 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Tey, Josephineprimary authorall editionsconfirmed
Allié, ManfredTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Barnard, RobertIntroductionsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Boyd, CaroleNarratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Fraser, AntoniaIntroductionsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Hogarth, PaulIllustratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Neuhaus, VolkerTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Westrup, Jadwiga P.Translatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
You must log in to edit Common Knowledge data.
For more help see the Common Knowledge help page.
Canonical title
Original title
Alternative titles
Original publication date
People/Characters
Important places
Important events
Related movies
Awards and honors
Epigraph
Dedication
First words
It was four o'clock of a spring evening; and Robert Blair was thinking of going home.
Quotations
Last words
(Click to show. Warning: May contain spoilers.)
Disambiguation notice
Publisher's editors
Blurbers
Original language
Canonical DDC/MDS
Canonical LCC

References to this work on external resources.

Wikipedia in English

None

Marion Sharpe and her mother seem an unlikely duo to be found on the wrong side of the law. Quiet and ordinary, they have led a peaceful and unremarkable life at their country home, The Franchise. Unremarkable that is, until the police turn up with a demure young woman on their doorstep. Not only does Betty Kane accuse them of kidnap and abuse, she can back up her claim with a detailed description of the attic room in which she was kept, right down to the crack in its round window. But there's something about Betty Kane's story that doesn't quite add up. Inspector Alan Grant of Scotland Yard is stumped. And it takes Robert Blair, local solicitor turned amateur detective, to solve the mystery that lies at the heart of The Franchise Affair ...

No library descriptions found.

Book description
Robert Blair was about to knock off from a slow day at his law firm when the phone rang. It was Marion Sharpe on the line, a local woman of quiet disposition who lived with her mother at their decrepit country house, The Franchise. It appeared that she was in some serious trouble: Miss Sharpe and her mother were accused of brutally kidnapping a demure young woman named Betty Kane. Miss Kane's claims seemed highly unlikely, even to Inspector Alan Grant of Scotland Yard, until she described her prison — the attic room with its cracked window, the kitchen, and the old trunks — which sounded remarkably like The Franchise. Yet Marion Sharpe claimed the Kane girl had never been there, let alone been held captive for an entire month! Not believing Betty Kane's story, Solicitor Blair takes up the case and, in a dazzling feat of amateur detective work, solves the unbelievable mystery that stumped even Inspector Grant.

-------------------

Very snug indeed was Robert Blair’s life as a bachelor solicitor in Milford, England. He wouldn’t have been a man, though, if he hadn’t noticed the two women who lived in the atrocious Regency mansion known as “The Franchise.” He thought the older woman very, very forbidding, and the younger — well, not quite so forbidding.

Now, it seemed, both mother and daughter were in trouble — accused of imprisoning a young girl for a whole month, beating and half starving her. The victim was Betty Kane, a girl in a modest school-girl dress, with candid slate-blue eyes, and an appealing look of innocence. Betty remembered what had happened perfectly, and told a heart-rending tale of terror and escape.

But if Betty had not been at The Franchise, where had she been for a whole month, and what was she doing? With every sentimentalist mourning over “poor Betty Kane,” and a blatant tabloid fanning the flames, the women were in danger from more hands than those of the law.

-------------------

The Franchise Affair resembles some of the best work of Poe in its introduction of an apparently inhuman evil in an otherwise sedate country setting. Robert Blair, a lawyer who prides himself on his ability to avoid work of any significance, is interrupted one evening by a phone call from Marion Sharpe. Ms. Sharpe and her mother live in a run-down estate known as the Franchise, and their lives drew little attention until Betty Kane charged them with an unthinkable crime. Ms. Kane, having disappeared for a month, now says that she was held captive in the attic of the Franchise during her entire absence. While her story seems absurd, her recollection of minute details about the interior of the house sway even Scotland Yard.

Blair — who Ms. Sharpe has chosen for her defense because, as she says, he is "someone of my own sort"— must dust off his neurons and undertake some serious sleuthing if his client is to beat these serious charges. As with all fine mysteries, one has the sense of being in a sea of clues with a solution just out of reach. The Franchise Affair is a classic mystery, and also a superb record of country life in early twentieth century England.

Marian Sharpe and her mother seem an unlikely duo to be found on the wrong side of the law. Quiet and ordinary, they have led a peaceful and unremarkable life at their country home, The Franchise. Unremarkable, that is, until the police turn up on their doorstep with a demure young woman. Not only does Betty Kane accuse them of kidnap and abuse, she can back up her claim with a detailed description of the attic room in which she was kept, right down to the crack in its round window. But there's something about Betty Kane's story that doesn't quite add up. Inspector Alan Grant of Scotland Yard is stumped. It takes Robert Blair, solicitor turned amateur detective, to solve the mystery that lies at the heart of the Franchise Affair.
Haiku summary

Popular covers

Quick Links

Rating

Average: (3.89)
0.5
1 1
1.5 1
2 16
2.5 4
3 80
3.5 35
4 210
4.5 32
5 75

Is this you?

Become a LibraryThing Author.

 

About | Contact | Privacy/Terms | Help/FAQs | Blog | Store | APIs | TinyCat | Legacy Libraries | Early Reviewers | Common Knowledge | 170,291,513 books! | Top bar: Always visible