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Brat Farrar
Josephine Tey
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Brat Farrar

4.01  ·  Rating Details ·  4,790 Ratings  ·  545 Reviews
Brat Farrar has been carefully coached to assume the identity of Patrick Ashby, heir to the Ashby fortune who disappeared when he was 13. Just when it seems that Brat will pull off the deception, he discovers the truth about Patrick's disappearance, a dark secret that threatens to tear apart the family and jeopardize Brat's carefully laid plans. Called "the best of its kin ...more
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Published by Chivers Audio Books (first published 1949)
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Jul 23, 2009 karen rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
so this isnt a mystery novel in the traditional sense, but its got a very compelling pacing to it that makes the suspense parts both immediate and british-leisurely. like a brisk stroll on the grounds where we mustnt go too quickly or geoffrey will tire. my love of law and order (the one on television) has ruined me for mystery novels. or maybe just mystery novels written before 1950. because i always know my whodunits too soon. i have this affliction where i can retain very little of what i hea ...more
Oct 21, 2011 Hirondelle rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: mystery
You know those reviews where somebody is reviewing a deeply loved old book, and criticizing everything on it, accusing it of all types of political incorrectness? Either skip this or hold on, because this is going to be one of those reviews. (and that is surprising *me*. I did not know I had it in me).

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

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
Dec 02, 2016 Marwan rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: favorites
I was confused whether I should read this one or the Daughter of Time, but I chose the former since it's different from what I've read before. And wow, This probably one of the best book I've read.

I's not a typical classical mystery where a murder is committed in countryside and a detective is summoned to solve it. Instead, it revolves around Brat Farrar, an orphan who spent few years in America and returned to England. Few days after his return he's approached by Alec Loading, an actor who mis
After so many re-reads, Brat Farrar by Josephine Tey is still one of the best classical British mystery novels of all time.

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
Sep 04, 2009 Tracey rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: mystery, 5-star
Somehow, I never read this before. Somehow I never had a copy until not too long ago, and somehow when I reread all my Teys at the beginning of the year I couldn't put my hands on my copy. (It's a trade paperback, which lives in a different place from the ordinary paperbacks. Stupid segregation.) Also, there is the sort of vague feeling that I was saving this: with Brat Farrar still unread, there was still a Tey novel out there that would be new to me. But then last week my Goodreads friend Jemi ...more
Sep 22, 2012 Laura rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: 3Ms, Hannah, Jeannette, Kim, Willowfaerie
Free download at Project Gutenberg Australia

Chapter 1:
"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
Feb 16, 2017 Terri rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
A friend recommended this mystery book to me when hearing of my interest in English authors. Josephine Tey is better known for her book "The Daughter of Time" which is next on my reading list. If "Bret Farrar" is any indication of this author's talent, then I am in for a treat. "Bret Farrar" is a intense look at the English upper classes and their love for well-bred horses. The wealthy family in the book has a history of traditions, class snobbery and tragic loss. It is a crime novel based on th ...more
Feb 17, 2017 John rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
A novel that's (very) loosely based on the case of the Tichborne Claimant. Back in 2009 I read another novel based on the same case, Robin Maugham's The Link (1969). It's not really worth comparing the two because they offer completely different treatments of a similar tantalizing subject: How do you know someone whom you haven't seen in many years is actually the person they claim to be rather than a well trained impostor, even if that person is purportedly a family member?

(There's a more direc
Lisa (Harmonybites)
Sep 09, 2011 Lisa (Harmonybites) rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Everyone
Josephine Tey, along with Agatha Christie and Dorothy Sayers, is my favorite mystery author. Sadly, she wasn't at all prolific. She only wrote eight mystery novels before her death in 1952. What I find remarkable about them is that each really is so memorable and so different, yet each offers more than just some intricate puzzle piece, and producing some jaw-dropping twist is usually beyond the point.

Tey's probably best known for The Daughter of Time, and I'd probably name that one as my favorit
Jan 24, 2013 Laure rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: favorites
So many wonderful books would be hidden from our knowledge without the enthusiastic recommendation of a dear friend or relative. A novel that has remained on my personal “Top Ten” list for over twenty years came from just that source. Years ago, Margaret Turner, in her eighties and legally blind, passed on to me a tattered anthology of mystery novels by Josephine Tey. Brat Farrar was my favorite. First published in 1949 and set in rural England, it is a mystery without the standard corpse on the ...more
Ivonne Rovira
May 28, 2013 Ivonne Rovira rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: anyone who loves classic suspense tales
Josephine Tey’s best known for her mysteries featuring the suave Scotland Yard Inspector Alan Grant, particularly The Daughter of Time; however, Brat Farrar has to be her best book. The novel, which deals with mistaken identity and how appearances can be deceiving — on many levels — builds such suspense that you can’t put the book down. That’s such a cliché, I know, but, in the case of Brat Farrar, it’s actually true.

By chance, British-born orphan Brat Farrar gets the chance to pose as the long-
The book is listed as a "mystery". Well, there is a mystery but we don't really get much about until we are well into the novel and then it's dropped until near the end. A secondary mystery regards the identity of Brat himself and that is resolved in a very artificial way.

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.
There were some gaping holes in the plot, yet the quality of the writing was so good that I quite enjoyed it.
Oct 07, 2009 Dawn rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Vilo, Wendy, anyone who likes mystery books
Awesome book! In my rediscovery of Josephine Tey, this is the best yet, perhaps her best ever in my opinion. It's a mystery, but not your traditional puzzle piece mystery. The mystery is intrinsic to the story, but the book is so much more. The point of view is unusual, from inside the head of the imposter who isn't even a bad guy. I want to give it a 5. My only hesitation is that I don't think Tey completely explained how the protagonist solved the murder. What did he see from up on the hill?! ...more
Did anybody else ever see that movie Candleshoe? It's one of the lesser-known films from Disney's live-action canon; the cool part is that it stars Jessica Tandy and a pre-Taxi Driver Jody Foster. Anyway, Jody Foster plays this orphan who gets chosen by a con man to impersonate this rich British woman's long-lost granddaughter. The con man wants to plant Jody Foster at the lady's house because the guy who built the place was a pirate, and he hid his gold somewhere on the grounds. Jody Foster's j ...more
Mar 17, 2009 Al rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
In this novel of stolen identity, Brat Farrar is enlisted to pose as Patrick Ashby, scion of a wealthy English family, who was an apparent suicide eight years early. The book traces the tempting of Farrar, and his struggles with his new identity. Coincidentally, I had recently read The Scapegoat, by Daphne du Maurier, in which the protagonist is thrust, against his wishes, into a similar situation where he must act in the family role of his double. The books have many similarities. du Maurier's ...more
Mar 20, 2011 Ellie rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
An old story line-pretender to family fortune suddenly appears but is he really who he says he is?- is taken up by one of the best, imo, mystery fiction writers of the 20th century-Josephine Tey. Brat Farrar is, I believe, her most famous mystery.

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
Jackie "the Librarian"
Apr 14, 2008 Jackie "the Librarian" rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: British mystery lovers
Recommended to Jackie "the Librarian" by: Mary Jensen
This has one of those witty English families, the Ashbys, living in organized chaos that I just love. But it's a family marked by an old tragedy - the oldest boy, and heir to the family name, disappeared years before, and is presumed dead.
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.
Apr 13, 2015 Spiderorchid rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
There are already several very detailed reviews for this book here so let me say just this: I knew practically from the beginning what had happened and who had done it (I've read a lot of mysteries, you reach a point where guessing the "who-done-it" really isn't that difficult any more) - and I didn't mind at all, I just kept reading. Josephine Tey writes such a beautiful style and she makes the reader care so much for these characters that the revelation at the end isn't that important, it's th ...more
A complete stranger stops him on the street, thinking he's someone else. then he invites him to lunch. Over a mean in a pub, Brat hears the proposition: after some intensive coaching, he'll appear as the long-lost (presumed drowned) heir to a lovely little horse farm.

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
May 29, 2014 Steve rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
A young man poses as the heir to a fortune and becomes involved in solving the mystery of the fate of the true heir. If you've ever wanted to know about horse breeding in England in the mid-twentieth century, this book can give you a lot of information. Since I neither know nor care about horse breeding, I can't vouch for the accuracy. For me, all this horsey stuff got in the way of the story, but I imagine some people would love it. I'll leave it to them. I read it because the author of another ...more
Oct 01, 2013 Chris rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Chris by: Kats, Will
In an effort to clean up my TBR and my real-life bookshelf, I picked this up at a book sale following a friend's recommendation. I'm so glad I read it. The writing is impeccable, the characters nicely drawn, this was an excellent British suspense novel that kept you on your toes to the very end! I highly recommend.
Not the best beginning perhaps, but I really loved this mystery novel, once I got into it. In this story, a stranger named Brat Farrar enters the Ashby family, posing as Patrick Ashby, the heir to the family's fortune and grounds. Brat has been coached on everything about Patrick: his mannerisms, appearance, and every detail of his life, up to when he was thirteen, when he disappeared and was thought to have drowned himself. It looks like Brat is going to pull of this scheme, until old secrets c ...more
Jul 18, 2015 Ruth rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
A very intriguing premise, but with a disappointing pay-off.
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
Charles Gates
Mar 11, 2015 Charles Gates rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Masterful. A must-read for anyone who enjoys mysteries and for anyone who would like to write one. Clearly written, all characters (major and minor) well drawn, excellent sense of place (rural England). And the audacious plot: we readers learn quickly that the major character (Brat Farrar, of the title) is trying to pass himself off as another, but we expect that eventually the imposter will be unmasked. The suspense lies in waiting for that to happen -- when, how, and with what consequences. Th ...more
BRAT FARRAR (Suspense-England-1950s) – Ex
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
Nov 19, 2013 Lynn rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Similar to the Talented Mr. Ripley in terms of the scenario, in that the impostor, or person pretending to be someone else, is the main character or narrator. Also reminds me right away of The Scapegoat by Daphne du Maurier.

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
Jun 13, 2016 Leah rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: mystery
The tension is well-crafted, the family relations are intricate and interesting, Brat's guilt is palpable, and yet the whole feels rather crass and clumsy.

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
Andy Bird
I'm a bit undecided about this book. It is readable and chugs along well, although it does get a bit bogged down near the end with an extensive visit to a horse fair, which goes on a bit. The story is reasonably interesting and holds your attention. I also liked the characters, particularly the main family, if you rise above the obvious class issues - middle class country family actually quite well off but "struggling". My big, big problem though is with the main character, it is very hard to li ...more
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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...

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“She put her cup down and sighed again with pleasure. "I can't think how the Nonconformists have failed to discover coffee."

"Discover it?"

"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.”
“She'll never ride," Eleanor said. She can't even bump the saddle yet."

"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?”
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