I mentioned that my husband and I were listening to Josephine Tey’s Daughter of Time while on the road to visit my mother, brother, and Yellowstone. When I became aware of both the British list and USA list of the top 100 mystery books of all time, I decided that I wanted to broaden my mystery reading scope. What better mystery book to start with than the number one pick on the British list, and number four on the USA list!
We finished listening to this 1951 mystery book, and I was left with sort of a question – Is this a mystery or is this book a history-mystery? I’m not sure I would have picked it for either if those lists, but, of course, my opinion is just that, my opinion.
While I found the novel interesting, I wouldn’t necessarily call it a mystery. The book takes place in a hospital room. This book, not being the first in Josephine Tey‘s Inspector Alan Grant Mystery Series, has the characters already knowing each other, and the action already known. Apparently, Alan Grant has been injured, and is stuck in the hospital with more time on his hands than he knows what to do with. His well-meaning friends have supplied him with books, but Grant simply isn’t in the mood to lay there and read.
This is what then starts the “mystery” part of the book. He begins to wonder if King Richard III did indeed kill his two young nephews in order to continue reigning Britain, or if the story that has been commonly told by authors (including Shakespeare) is simply a made-up piece of history.
I think that perhaps, years ago, before the time of the internet, the historical references that Grant and his cohort uncover could be made to look like some type of “mystery” solving. However, having access to all sorts of facts now that we can simply Google a topic made this book seem like less of a “mystery” and more of a “possibility” – which is why I’m not sure if I’d think of this book as the number one (or four) best mystery book of all time.
I think that I am going to have to read more of Josephine Tey’s books and then perhaps compare the two books to see if she does, indeed, write true mysteries – at least what I would conside true mysteries.
Daughter of Time was certainly interesting to listen to, and, since both my husband and I (he, more than me) are interested in history, we both enjoyed it. But, I would not categorize it as a classic mystery book – but then, that’s just my opinion.