Goodreads helps you keep track of books you want to read.
Start by marking “The Man in the Queue (Inspector Alan Grant, #1)” as Want to Read:
The Man in the Queue (Inspector Alan Grant, #1)
Enlarge cover
Rate this book
Clear rating
Open Preview

The Man in the Queue (Inspector Alan Grant #1)

3.84  ·  Rating Details  ·  5,423 Ratings  ·  329 Reviews
The first of the author's novels starring the popular Inspector Alan Grant traces the mysterious slaying of a man waiting to see a London musical, whose neighbors in line insist they saw nothing.
Paperback, 256 pages
Published November 29th 1995 by Touchstone (first published 1929)
More Details... edit details

Friend Reviews

To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up.

Reader Q&A

To ask other readers questions about The Man in the Queue, please sign up.

Be the first to ask a question about The Man in the Queue

The Daughter of Time by Josephine TeyA Shilling for Candles by Josephine TeyThe Man in the Queue by Josephine TeyBrat Farrar by Josephine TeyMiss Pym Disposes by Josephine Tey
The Best of Josephine Tey
3rd out of 8 books — 10 voters
Murder on the Orient Express by Agatha ChristieA is for Alibi by Sue GraftonOne For The Money by Janet EvanovichA Study in Scarlet by Arthur Conan DoyleMonkeewrench by P.J. Tracy
Favorite Mystery Series
79th out of 286 books — 104 voters

More lists with this book...

Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 3,000)
filter  |  sort: default (?)  |  Rating Details
Bill  Kerwin

This first mystery by Josephine Tey, a genius of the genre, reveals some of that genius to any reader determined to look for it, but it also inevitably discloses much of Tey the novice writer too.

It begins well, with a magnificent set piece. A festive atmosphere envelops the line of people waiting for tickets to the musical comedy hit Didn't You Know?, and we watch as this London crowd (accosted by attendant buskers) push against each other, move forward, and eventually reach the box office wher
Nov 01, 2011 Kim rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: crime-fiction, kindle
For some reason the only novels by Josephine Tey that I have read previously are The Daughter of Time and The Franchise Affair, both in my long-distant teenage past. I loved the former of these books and liked the latter, but until now I had not felt inspired to seek out Tey's other works.

I'm glad that I finally did, for there's a lot to love about this example of British Golden Age detective fiction. Tey writes beautifully. Her prose is intelligent, lucid and witty and she deals equally well wi
Melissa McShane
Jun 19, 2013 Melissa McShane rated it it was ok
How could I have guessed that the author of The Daughter of Time, one of my favorite authors ever, could have written such a lumpy first novel? I mean, Tey's a great stylist, she writes description so well that you hardly mind that it's pages and pages of the stuff. And even in this novel, Alan Grant is a vibrant and interesting character, even if he does love fishing. But it's unfortunate that Tey chose to make such broad characterizations of cultural and national groups. The murder (the stabbi ...more
Dal punto di vista della scrittura, non c’è proprio da lamentarsi. E’ indubbiamente scritto bene. Alcune rapide osservazioni riescono a delineare benissimo i personaggi e a definirli in maniera efficace, persino quelli minori.

Tuttavia, come “romanzo giallo” è un po’ carente di ritmo e il finale non mi è piaciuto per nulla. A dire il vero, non ho neanche ben capito la dinamica dell’omicidio e se possa davvero essere andata come viene narrato. Nonostante la ressa della coda, mi sembra un po’ impr
May 20, 2015 Nikki rated it it was ok
Shelves: mystery, crime
I expected to like this a lot. Golden Age crime fiction, I'm pretty sure my mother mentioned liking it, etc, etc. But I couldn't get past the endlessracism,and the general feeling that Josephine Tey would be a men's rights activist now. I mean, a woman on the stage overshadows her male co-stars, and yet the whole tone is not, wow, her skill and grace and so on, but that she is secretly a conniving bitch. The whole story serves to hammer home that she's a woman who only cares about herself -- wit ...more
Feb 13, 2014 Leonie rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Not too bad. I liked the resolution. Tey is still Tey, ie the only Golden Age mystery writer whose racism, classism and sexism I bother really taking issue with, because she really is that much worse than her contemporaries. People decide what personalities other people have based on their face and their race; it's a crass, naïve philosophy and hard to have patience with at the best of times. The detective's thoughts at the end say an awful lot about Tey. He thinks about the murder victim, and t ...more
Feb 20, 2015 Tracey rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
After a long absence, Alan Grant returns to my life. (Which is a different way of saying "I haven't read this in a long time".) It's obvious that Josephine Tey didn't originally intend to write mystery novels: not to in any way belittle mystery novels, which I love, but there is an intelligent uniqueness to her story and her writing that is a pure joy, an approach to the task which is fresh and unique.

Alan Grant (whom I cannot call by his last name, and therefore with whom I will probably becom
Free download at Project Gutenberg Australia

I just realized this is the first book of the Inspector Alan Grant series.

As the previous book I've read this week, A Schilling for Candles, the plot is captivating and the investigation work follows the masters of the mystery genre. There is one more book of this series to be read, To Love and Be Wise.

5* The Daughter of Time
4* The Franchise Affair
3* The Singing Sands
4* Brat Farrar
4* A Shilling for Candles
4* The Man in the Queue
TBR To Love and Be Wis
1929, #1 Inspector Alan Grant, London and Scotland; also published as "Killer in the Crowd".
The Man In the Queue gets himself murdered, and the chase is on! Her weakest novel, but still very good stuff. Cosy police procedural, three-and-one-half stars.

Playwright Elizabeth Mackintosh's first novel, originally published under the "Gordon Daviot" name in 1929 and later as "Josephine Tey", is a true 1920s' thriller, based on the police procedural format, very similar in style and tone to Philip McDo
Dec 27, 2010 Mmyoung rated it liked it
Shelves: mystery
Although an “interesting” first mystery novel -- and a very promising one -- this book has a number of flaws. It is unclear what “type” of mystery novel Tey (Elizabeth Mackintosh) was attempting to write. Was it a police procedural? An action adventure? A discourse on the realities of justice? Insightful examination of the moral and intellectual quandaries of a detective? All these different types of mystery novels seemed to have been wedged together into one and unfortunately, the seams do show ...more
Jun 24, 2013 Jonathan rated it liked it
Shelves: fiction
By the standards of a Josephine Tey novel, The Man in the Queue is rather amateurish. (To be fair, it was the first novel Elizabeth Mackintosh wrote.) There is a noticeable strain to make sure that every gun of Chekhov's goes off (or at least is planned to): every loose end is tied up, every subplot wraps up neatly in the order it was introduced, and there's a nice little bow on top. It's difficult to discuss without giving away the plot, but suffice to say that the actual murder could have been ...more
Jan 11, 2012 Jane rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
A wonderful opening pulled me straight into the 1920s. And straight into London’s theatreland.

It was beautifully written and it was clear that Josephine Tey, already a successful playwright, knew and loved the world she was writing about. And that she understood the importance of the big picture, of the small things, and of the psychology of her characters.

And in the very first chapter there was the crime. Such an elegant, clever scenario:

” ‘Chap fainted,’ said someone. No one moved for a moment
Elizabeth (Miss Eliza)
*Special Content only on my blog, Strange and Random Happenstance during Golden Summer (May-September 2013).

Inspector Alan Grant has been given the infamous Queue case. A man with no identification was stabbed in a busy queue outside the Woffington Theatre as fans waited to see the final hurrah of Ray Marcable in the smash hit Didn't You Know? With just a knife and a handful of witnesses that didn't see anything, Inspector Grant is able to quickly build a case against the mysterious man he nickn
Dec 29, 2014 Sarah rated it it was ok
Well, they say you shouldn't judge a book by its cover... I'd have to add "or by its author's reputation or by its Goodreads score!"

An unknown man is stabbed in the queue of a theatre show's last night. Inspector Alan Grant struggles all through the book to find out the who and the why.

This is apparently Josephine Tey's first novel, so I might just be able to forgive her for the dreadfully contrived ending and the disappointment I felt. But I certainly cannot recommend it.
Richard Ward
Aug 16, 2014 Richard Ward rated it liked it
Golden-Age writer Josephine Tey's first detective novel is only good, not great. Starts like a classic whodunit, with a man stabbed to death while waiting in line to see a musical. Nobody in line saw nothin', of course. The book quickly turns into a police procedural, with Scotland Yard's Alan Grant gathering clues, interviewing suspects and witnesses, and chasing his suspect into Scotland. It was interesting to me that the chapters set in Scotland reminded me of an American western novel, with ...more
May 18, 2015 Katrina rated it really liked it
What an intriguing, engrossing mystery. It had a bit of a slow start, and I have to drop a star for the hero - Grant - who is the least interesting character in this oddly elaborate tale. I suppose that's part of the point, to create a bit of a blank slate who can adapt to his circumstances and shine the spotlight where needed. The cast of characters is otherwise full of quirky, hilarious, off-beat Dickensian personalities. They're delightful to meet, and some of my favorite parts of the book ha ...more
Nihal Vrana
Dec 26, 2015 Nihal Vrana rated it really liked it
Shelves: crime
I haven't read much crime fiction, but from what I have read this one is quite unconventional in its approach to the genre. Inspector Grant is an extremely likable character and he does not have the burning obsession so to speak to solve a crime. He lives his life and does the investigation really as a job. The book has a very nice cadence to it, everything moves so slowly.

In the beginning, the way Tey harped on about people in a very swathing way annoyed me, but when she did it for Scots too, h
Dec 21, 2013 Melissa rated it it was ok
Shelves: adult-fiction
This was recommended to me as an Agatha Christie contemporary. I see some similarity, but it's just not the real thing. Tey moves much too slowly for me. That being said, I think I would definitely give her another try. This title is early in her career.
Susanna - Censored by GoodReads
Very much a period piece. Including frequent use of the term "dago."

Probably about 2.5 stars.
Katharine Ott
Mar 17, 2016 Katharine Ott rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: mystery-thriller
"The Man in the Queue" - written by Josephine Tey and published in 1929 by Macmillan. Elizabeth MacKintosh used several psuedonyms when writing, including the one I knew her by, Tey, and also Gordon Daviot, whose name was originally on this first book of hers. The private author wrote a considerable number of mysteries, and it was nice to locate and read this introduction to her famous character Inspector Grant. "If Scotland Yard has a motto it is You Never Know."

Tey's quaint phrasing and abilit
Mar 29, 2014 Stuart rated it liked it
Shelves: crime-mystery
I am not sure how to describe this book. On the one hand it is well written, with inventive phrasing and a storyline that keeps the reader involved, with simple straightforward police work, introducing the intellectual and independently wealthy Inspector Grant. On the other hand, the ending is a complete surprise. No clue in the book leads to it; the Inspector is himself surprised. In short, we have a book full of detection leading to the wrong answer.
Add to that the (perhaps 1920’s thinking) d
Aug 16, 2014 Sarah rated it really liked it
Shelves: mystery
I'm not sure whether this one fully deserves 4 stars, but it's closer to 4 than 3, and thus the rating.

It's an odd sort of book to describe- the style was quite unlike any other I've encountered. At times, the author seemed to be very detached from the story: emotionless and distant. And then at other times she was almost viciously judgmental of her own characters- angrily and personally involved.

The final coming together and solution of the mystery at the end seemed to have rather strange timin
Oct 08, 2012 Gerry rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Atmospheric cover, atmospheric novel, the first of Josephine Tey's Inspector Alan Grant tales.

As the title suggests the plot revolves around a queue. It is at one of the London theatres and a man towards the front of it is murdered. Nobody notices anything untoward until the queue begins to move and the man slumps to the floor.

Inspector Alan Grant is called and there follows a classic investigation to uncover the perpetrator of the crime. Grant finds himself all over London and in the far north
Jessica Andersen
Josephine Tey is the pseudonym of Elizabeth Mackintosh. She was a contemporary of Agatha Christie, but not an author I had heard of before. I learned of Tey because a contemporary author uses her as a character in her mysteries. I decided to read the original before delving into the author as a character, I'm not sure how I feel about those.

Anyway, The Man in the Queue is the first book featuring Inspector Alan Grant. I enjoyed the book, but the Kindle edition feels very dense, especially for s
Jun 04, 2007 Trin rated it it was ok
Shelves: mystery, english-lit
Appropriately after reading Watching the English, here’s a murder mystery that revolves around queuing. I adore Tey’s The Daughter of Time, but I’d never read any other books by her. This is her first novel (originally published under a male pseudonym; ‘Tey’ is actually a pseudonym, too) and it introduces Alan Grant, who’s the detective in Daughter of Time, too. He’s an enjoyable, if not especially vivid character to me—Time is fantastic because of its plot, which involves an investigation of ...more
Frances Brody
I'm an admirer of Josephine Tey but hadn't read this book before (published 1929). She heads the chapters with the names of the witnesses who have seen the man in the theatre queue murdered. He does not immediately fall dead because there is such a crush that the queue holds him upright. Inspector Grant suspects that the murderer is a 'dago' because no Englishman would use such a weapon. So this is very much a book of its time: bank notes can be easily traced; a necktie tracked back to its selle ...more
Morgan Gallagher
Oct 23, 2013 Morgan Gallagher rated it liked it
This is the first Alan Grant tale, and so, obviously, I read it last. It's an interesting read, with a reasonable mystery and an elegant ending.

It does miss out on the tone and flavour of Tey's later work, as there is a strong sense of her developing her voice, and Alan Grant's, come to that. There is a clear 'Dr Watson' feeling at the end, where 'she' reveals her discussions with Grant as a person, are the way the book has been written. That's just an interested by fact, nothing of note.

Jan 30, 2008 Nicole rated it liked it
Shelves: mystery
This books lacks the immediately personal nature of her other books. Until the very end I felt distant and unable to closely relate to the characters. It is not that they failed to be realistic or well described. It was as though I related with a newspaper account rather than a tale of personal trial. Then there was the odd intrusions of first person. But with the final chapters the story pulled together and let me feel connected to the characters. I was given the insight at the same time and th ...more
Kathy  Petersen
Jul 25, 2014 Kathy Petersen rated it really liked it
Tey's first Alan Grant detective story is a complex and entirely reasoned foray, with quite a literary flair, into the blatantly guilty who is actually innocent. Grant chases him through the wilds of Scotland and takes us along for the adventure. To my surprise the date of first publication is 1929, but the tale reads as fresh as one written last year, minus of course the forensics, the cell phones, and the omnipotent computer.
Feb 15, 2016 Yan rated it it was ok
is this a semi pisstake of 39steps? or is it just that 'chase' + 'highlands' => 'ugh richard hannay' for me? i think that bk explains why i associate ppl who play tennis w/ murder
« previous 1 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 99 100 next »
topics  posts  views  last activity   
Preconceptions 1 9 Jan 07, 2015 11:20PM  
  • The Crime at Black Dudley (Albert Campion Mystery #1)
  • Thus Was Adonis Murdered (Hilary Tamar, #1)
  • Artists in Crime (Roderick Alleyn, #6)
  • Why Shoot a Butler?
  • The Case of the Gilded Fly (Gervase Fen, #1)
  • Gaudy Night (Lord Peter Wimsey, #12)
  • Death at the President's Lodging (Sir John Appleby, #1)
Josephine Tey was a pseudonym of Elizabeth Mackintosh. Josephine was her mother's first name and Tey the surname of an English Grandmother. As Josephine Tey, she wrote six mystery novels including Scotland Yard's Inspector Alan Grant.

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 about Josephine Tey...

Other Books in the Series

Inspector Alan Grant (6 books)
  • A Shilling for Candles (Inspector Alan Grant, #2)
  • The Franchise Affair (Inspector Alan Grant, #3)
  • To Love and Be Wise (Inspector Alan Grant, #4)
  • The Daughter of Time (Inspector Alan Grant, #5)
  • The Singing Sands (Inspector Alan Grant, #6)

Share This Book

“The light died on the window-sill as the last survivor of a charge dies on the enemy parapet, murdered but glorious.” 3 likes
“So Grant betook himself through the sunny, busy morning to Waterloo, trailing a little cloud of discontent behind him as he went. As he stepped from the warm pavement into the cool vault of the best but saddest of all London stations—the very name of it reeks of endings and partings—gloom sat on his face like a portent.” 0 likes
More quotes…