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 thirteenth year when he disappeared and was thought to have drowned himself. It seems as if Brat...more
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This was my second read. I read it maybe 10 years ago, and I recalled it as being charming and with an interesting plot which included a favorite trope - impersonation. I picked up and read the fir ...more
A mystery involving an imposter and a possible crime set in and around a horse stud in the south of England, sometime after World War II, this is a novel which kept my interest from beginning to end. It's an intriguing work. On the one hand, the way in which the narrative develops and the resolution of the mystery are extremely predictable. I'm not particularly skilled at solving literary crime before the protagonist charged with that task, but here I worked out what had happened and what was go ...more
I like the plots and how the characters were written, I like the strong sense of British-ness that seeps through the story, although the typical classism (everyone in the story tends to judge people by their family backgrounds, their breeds and their social statuses, etc) is pretty difficult to swallow, still the strong points of the story easily manage to overwhelm the wea ...more
"At this same table had eaten Ashbys who had died of fever in India, of wounds in the Crimea, of starvation in Queensland, of typhoid at the Cape, and of cirrhosis of the liver in the Straits Settlements. But always there had been an Ashby at Latchetts; and they had done well by the land."
"No queens had come to Latchetts to dine; no cavaliers to hide. For three hundred years it had stood in its meadows very much as it stood now; a yeoman’s dw ...more
Tey's probably best known for The Daughter of Time, and I'd probably name that one as my favorit ...more
By chance, British-born orphan Brat Farrar gets the chance to pose as the long- ...more
The novel is well written, the characters and setting well drawn, and if one ignores the flimsy "mystery" the book is a mildly enjoyable read.
Enter our protagonist - an orphan who is a ringer for the missing boy, if he had survived to adulthood. He is approached with a proposition - to impersonate the missing heir, and split the inheritance with the plotter, who will coach him in all things Ashby.
The reader knows all along that Brat isn't the heir, that he can't be, and yet such is Tey's skill that one can't help rooting for him every step along the way into being accepted by the family. But it couldn't be that easy, could i ...more
I picked up this book as I am a fan of Agatha Christie-style mysteries and thought that the impersonation plot sounded fascinating. The first few chapters were indeed very gripping, showing how Brat learnt about Patrick's life and setting him up as a complex and conflicted character. I enjoyed how Brat was portrayed as being drawn to the idea of belonging to a family after his orphanage childhood and travels around the world. The mechan ...more
Tey, Josephine – Standalone
Colliers Books, 1988, Paperback – ISBN: 0020088221
*** Brat Farrer is an English orphan who, after much travel, has decided to come back to England. He is soon mistaken for Simon Ashby of Latchetts by Alec Loding, a cousin of the Ashbys. Brat is talked into impersonating Patrick Ashby, Simon’s older twin who allegedly committed suicide when they were ten. Now about to come of age and inherit Latchetts, the plan is for Brat to cla ...more
The writing in this book is odd and hard to read. I usually enjoy snappy dialog, but this dialog is confusing. There seems to be a lot of slang or out-dated usages. It seems like the author was trying hard to be clever with references and word choices, and the cleverness cam ...more
And although I would agree it's hew usual exceptional writing, interesting characters, and absorbing plot, I would argue that all her mysteries are her "best". But then I clearly love Tey and cannot judge her fairly. Except that it's clearly fair to sa ...more
I didn't particularly take to any of them, and they felt a bit too much like a set of privileged, rich, upper-class snobs being taken down a peg. Whether that was Tey's own prejudice, or whether it was unintentional, I couldn't decide, but something was missing, and I didn't much care about the outcome.
Tey's writing is enjoyable, and her plott ...more
Now I finally got to read the book (courtesy of a friend) and was as drawn into the story and loved the characters as much as I loved them 20 years ago.
Everything's just perfectly balanced: suspense, humour, characterisation, setting, motivations, character development. The first moment you meet most of the protagonists sitting around the table, having lunch, you feel at home with the ...more
The first of these, 'The Man in the Queue' (1929) was published under the pseudonym of Gordon Daviot , whose name also appears on the title page of another of her 19 ...more
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"Yes. As a snare. It does far more for one than drink. And yet no one preaches about it, or signs pledges about it. Five mouthfuls and the world looks rosy.”
"Perhaps loony people can't ride," Ruth suggested.
"Ruth," Bee said, with vigour. "The pupils at the Manor are not lunatic. They are not even mentally deficient. They are just 'difficult.'"
"Ill-adjusted is the technical description," Simon said.
"Well, they behave like lunatics. If you behave like a lunatic how is anyone to tell that you're not one?”