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To Love and Be Wise by Josephine Tey
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To Love and Be Wise (1951)

by Josephine Tey

Other authors: See the other authors section.

Series: Alan Grant Mysteries (4)

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9653313,583 (3.8)117
  1. 00
    Taken at the Flood by Agatha Christie (Becchanalia)
  2. 00
    Scales of Justice by Ngaio Marsh (Becchanalia)
  3. 11
    The Privateer by Josephine Tey (wildbill)
    wildbill: An historical novel about the pirate Harry Morgan. One of the last books published by Ms. Tey.
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Showing 1-5 of 33 (next | show all)
To Love and Be Wise by Josephine Tey

Written in 1950, and using a traditional English country house/village setting, this mystery offers ahead-of-its-time psychological prowess in a Detective Inspector Alan Grant missing-person puzzler. Prose, pacing, and plot fit the pieces so perfectly together and bring it to the most logical and unforgettable end that, as a reader, you’re suddenly aware of the masterful storytelling you’ve just encountered.

No wonder Josephine Tey’s novels repeatedly make the best all-time mysteries 100s list.
To Love and Be Wise, simply put, tops my all-time favorites list. ( )
  PaperDollLady | Aug 24, 2018 |
This is a strange book, The person who is done in takes 80 pages to do so. It takes another 80 pages for the river into which he has fallen or been pushed gives up his shoe, It turns out that he is a she; in a wildly clever bit of plotting Inspector Grant chases her down to a London flat where all is discovered. I didn't see the usual trick where we are let in on the plot.
Brilliantly written novel about an English village and the crazies who live there. ( )
  annbury | Aug 1, 2017 |
This quiet crime novel from Britain's Golden Age of mystery writing is an engrossing suspense story, and a very good book. I first read (and loved) Josephine Tey in my youth. Returning after fifty years, I was afraid that she wouldn't be as good as I remembered, or that the age of the novels would translate into datedness. Not so! "To Love and Be Wise" poses an ingenious puzzle in the context of a literary hamlet, full of interesting and/or outrageous and/or really difficult personalities. Inspector Grant of Scotland Yard enters into this milieu to solve the aforesaid puzzle (which I will not reveal, no risk of spoilers in this review). In the process, the author gives a strong sense of rural England, literary life, and various other subtopics, while maintaining the suspense of the central story. Her style is delicate and polite, which may seem dated but also seems nice. Now to go reread the rest of her (unfortunately small) oeuvre. ( )
  annbury | Jun 2, 2017 |
I loved this author when I was younger, and have recently started re-reading her in conjunction with this re-release of her work. To Love and Be Wise is well-written, intelligent and witty, but I have to say I found it slightly slow-moving. My favorites have always been Brat Farrar and The Franchise Affair, so I'm interested to see how those hold up. ( )
  Laura400 | Mar 12, 2017 |
This is the fourth Alan Grant book by Josephine Tey. The Grant series is composed by: The Man in the Queue (as Gordon Daviot); A Shilling for Candles (which VERY lightly inspired Hitchcock's Young and Innocent); To Love and Be Wise; The Daughter of Time; and The Singing Sands. Despite its title, this is not a romance, but mystery novel. Miss Tey is an incredible writer and her books are a joy to read. Also, her sense of humor is captivating. I love Agatha Christie, but Tey has a quality in her writing few authors have. Her descriptions are not tiresome; on the contrary, I enjoy them. I detected the key to the mystery from the beginning, even if I didn't get it completely correct; yet, I still enjoyed reading it very much. I was momentarily disappointed that Grant makes a very quick appearance at the beginning, than only returns in chapter eight. But the story and characters are so well developed and woven, I actually forgot about him. Caveat: if you like filthy language, lots of sex, mental disorder and disturbing characters, you might like to pick another book. And the absence of these is another reason why I so much enjoy Tey’s books. I guess I am old fashioned… There is one paragraph in which Tey defines my idea of the characters of authors who write filth: “One of the most famous alienists in the country had once said to [Grant] that to write a book was to give oneself away. […] There was unconscious betrayal in every line, said the alienist.” They revel in filth, it is part of their inner selves, therefore they write it! But, still, you might like to give Tey a chance, even if you are not old fashioned: you might be surprised. Positively. ( )
1 vote MrsRK | Nov 21, 2016 |
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» Add other authors

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Tey, Josephineprimary authorall editionsconfirmed
Allié, Manfredsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Barnard, RobertIntroductionsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Hendriks, TejoCover artistsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Hildén, MarjaTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Neumann, MartinCover artistsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Toren, A.C. van dersecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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Grant paused with his foot on the lowest step, and listened to the shrieking from the floor above.
Quotations
'Why do you listen to him?'

'Well, there's a dreadful fascination about it, you know. One thinks: Well, that's the absolute sky-limit of awfulness, than which nothing could be worse. And so next week you listen to see if it really can be worse. It's a snare. It's so awful that you can't even switch off. You wait fascinated for the next piece of awfulness, and the next. And you are still there when he signs off.'
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Book description
Literary sherry parties were not Alan Grant's cup of tea. But when the Scotland Yard Inspector arrived to pick up actress Marta Hallard for dinner, he was struck by the handsome young American photographer, Leslie Searle. Author Lavinia Fitch was sure her guest "must have been something very wicked in ancient Greece," and the art colony at Salcott St. Mary would have agreed. Yet Grant heard nothing more of Searle until the news of his disappearance. Had Searle drowned by accident or could he have been murdered by one of his young women admirers? Was it a possible case of suicide or had the photographer simply vanished for reasons of his own?

Inspector Grant and most of the other characters sense from the beginning that there is something "unreal" and even "wrong" about Leslie Searle. To Grant he is "disconcerting," to Lavinia Fitch "uncanny," and to Toby Tullis "a materialized demon." Serge Ratoff, searching for the worst possible insult, calls him a "middle-west Lucifer." These foreshadowing, logical in context, are even more satisfying in rereading. Once the mystery has been resolved, the reader recognizes how brilliantly the clues are laid down and is able to appreciate the complexity of the characterizations.

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"Something very wicked in ancient Greece."

No one, confided the popular authoress Lavinia Fitch, had ever made her feel so abandoned as Leslie Searle, "I'm sure he must have been something very wicked in ancient Greece." And practically the whole art colony of Salcott St. Mary would have agreed — the "morning-of-the-world" good looks of the young American did affect them peculiarly.

Quiet Liz Garrowby, no artist herself, longed to paint his portrait, Miss Easton-Dixon, author of fairy stories, excitedly pointed out that he was the famous photographer of famous movie stars. Marta Hallard, the sharp-tongued actress who thought herself incombustible, admitted she was drawn to him. But Emma Garrowby, Liz's possessive stepmother, saw him as a menace to her well-laid plans, and loathed him on sight. And Walter Whitmore, Liz's fiancé and broadcaster of radio talks about the bliss of country life ("My dear, I hate the way he yearns," was Marta Hallard's comment), had reasons to hate him. Serge Ratoff, the weedy ballet dancer, emptied his beer mug in young Searle's face. And Toby Tullis, his sacred egotism as a playwright outraged by Searle's indifference, set about frantically to win his favor.

But no one would have dreamed that the handsome youth would disappear on a canoe trip down the Rushmore River with Walter Whitmore — the pewter-colored Rushmore, with its tricky currents, odorous mud, and its well-kept secrets. And that was when Detective-Inspector Grant of the Yard was called on the scene, and finally remembered something odd in the reports on Mr. Searle from America.

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It is good to meet again Detective-Inspector Grant of Scotland Yard. At the start of the story he is going to collect an actress friend from a literary sherry party; he rubs shoulders with a very good-looking, "lost" young man — Leslie Searle — who wishes to be introduced to Lavinia Fitch, authoress, for whom the party is being given. Grant effects the introduction, is vaguely intrigued by certain qualities in Searle's manner and appearance, and then forgets all about him until the day he, Grant, is sent down to Salcott St. Mary to search for the young man's body.

Was he murdered? Was it suicide? Was he even dead? Was it a practical joke? Had he been abducted? Or had he suffered from amnesia and just wandered away? First Grant thinks one thing, then another, until eventually he gets on the right trail and with characteristic brilliance solves the mystery.

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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0684006316, Paperback)

Literary sherry parties were not Alan Grant's cup of tea. But when the Scotland Yard Inspector arrived to pick up actress Marta Hallard for dinner, he was struck by the handsome young American photographer, Leslie Searle. Author Lavinia Fitch was sure her guest "must have been something very wicked in ancient Greece," and the art colony at Salcott St. Mary would have agreed. Yet Grant heard nothing more of Searle until the news of his disappearance. Had Searle drowned by accident or could he have been murdered by one of his young women admirers? Was it a possible case of suicide or had the photographer simply vanished for reasons of his own?

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:14:16 -0400)

(see all 4 descriptions)

Scotland Yard Inspector Alan Grant searches for a missing celebrity.

» see all 2 descriptions

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