Brat Farrar
Josephine Tey
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Brat Farrar

4.02 of 5 stars 4.02  ·  rating details  ·  2,893 ratings  ·  362 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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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

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
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...more
Mar 29, 2013 Laura rated it 4 of 5 stars  ·  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...more
Tracey, librarian on strike
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
Lisa (Harmonybites)
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...more
Ivonne Rovira
Jan 19, 2014 Ivonne Rovira rated it 5 of 5 stars  ·  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-...more
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
Jackie "the Librarian"
Oct 03, 2008 Jackie "the Librarian" rated it 5 of 5 stars  ·  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.
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
Oct 07, 2009 Dawn rated it 4 of 5 stars  ·  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
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...more
I saw the BBC mini-series in 1990 I guess and was enthralled by the story and the characters and just everything.

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
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...more
Nancy Oakes
From the very outset, the reader knows that Brat Farrar will not turn down the offer (made for $$, of course) to turn him into Patrick Ashby, the long-missing heir to the Ashby fortune. Patrick was one of a set of twins, his brother Simon, within the next few weeks, will become the master of Latchetts, the ancestral home of the Ashbys, with all the financial perks that go along with its ownership. So Brat is carefully groomed and tutored in the life of the missing Patrick, and when he's ready, h...more

As mysteries go, I can't say I found this satisfying. Tey doesn't give the details or even the solution very clearly. There is a mystery, and it is solved, but it seems almost incidental to the book. The story is a bit dated and wouldn't get off the ground today what with DNA testing to clear up the "is he or isn't he" speculation of Brat's ancestry.

As novels go, I found this very satisfying. Tey writes a beautiful piece of literature; the language is luscious with lines like "You perish...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...more
I enjoy mysteries in general, but mostly the way I enjoy a cheesy romance: it's fun, escapist reading. So many of them seem to be trying too hard to disguise what is a fairly obvious plot in order to create 'mystery'. What I've discovered I like so much about Tey is that she doesn't try to create a puzzle for the reader to figure out, which means I don't feel annoyed and disapppointed when I figure out whodunit halfway through the book. Instead, her books are about the characters responding to t...more
Rachel Piper
I really liked this book, but it might not be for everyone. The plot would make an excellent movie, but the book itself is written at a very, very slow pace. As intrigue at a British manor is exactly my cup of tea, I found it totally absorbing and so was three quarters of the way through the book before I knew it and realized that nothing much had really "happened" by that point. That's both a compliment and a criticism, I suppose.

The ending was a little pat and I wish it had been a little creep...more
I picked up this book a few years ago in a tiny bookshop and promptly forgot about it until I read Nancy Pearl's review ( Even the New Yorker calls this mystery novel 'the best of its kind' - how could I resist?

I picked it up a couple of days ago and couldn't ut it down until I was done - which meant two sleepless nights! I loved the builldup and the way Josephine Tey turns the conventional mystery novel on its head. But the end left me wanting. After al...more
What an undiscovered gem. I read about this book in one of “100 Books Every Adult Should Read” articles (or something along those lines), butI had never heard of the title or the author. There was even a quote from the New Yorker describing the author as “one of the best mystery-writers of all time,” for heaven’s sakes! So I requested it and gave it a try.

I would describe Tey as a mix between Patricia Highsmith, Agatha Christie, and Rosamunde Pilcher. Published in 1950, this book obviously has...more
I definitely enjoyed reading Brat Farrar. Was it my favorite-favorite Tey novel? Probably not. But I enjoyed it so much more than Miss Pym Disposes and A Shilling for Candles.

In Brat Farrar, the reader is in on the secret. Brat Farrar is impersonating Patrick Ashby. Alec Loding "discovers" Brat Farrar's resemblance to the Ashby family. There were twin brothers Patrick and Simon. Patrick vanished when he was twelve or thirteen, and he was presumed dead. The note he conveniently left behind led e...more
V. Briceland
Josephine Tey's mysteries aren't necessarily the most intricately-plotted, nor the most outlandishly fiendish. Nor, as in Brat Farrar, are they always strict mysteries. (If you haven't figured out in the first third of this particular book whodunit, it's either because you aren't paying attention, or are under the assumption that there has to be a twist somewhere down the line. There isn't.) Although a contemporary of Christie in her heyday, her climaxes and resolutions aren't exactly true to th...more
Michael Roll
"I'm sorry, but I can't bear it any longer. Don't be angry with me. Patrick." A pitiful note, and the only message Patrick leaves behind that might provide a clue to his disappearance.
And to Bee Ashby who has taken on the role of looking after the four children,Simon, Eleanor, and twins Jane and Ruth, at Latchetts for the past eight years since her brother Bill and his wife Nora died in a plane crash, the letter has never made sense.
But to Alex Loding, the brother of her best friend, Nancy Peck,...more
I had read on some website somewhere that Tey’s Brat Farrar was one of those novels you had to read. Never having heard of Tey I was curious to find out why this novel was so beloved. I cannot say I consider it one of the great classics but there is a certain charm and elegance about the novel that makes it very endearing.
Brat Farrar at 21 years of age has an uncanny resemblance to missing thirteen year old Patrick Ashby. Brat having been coached by a family friend in the mannerisms and Ashby f...more
Brat Farrar impersonates the deceased Patrick Ashby to claim his inheritance and the Latchetts estate. His love of horses keeps him going when his conscience accuses him. Over time, his love for Aunt Bee and the estate give meaning to his life, and ultimately he discovers a secret. The writing style was very engaging and the characters were well developed.
I think i highlighted half the book... the writing is so good! And the plot! And the characters! This is my second Josephine Tey novel, after Miss Pym Disposes (also excellent but different), and i find the way she weaves plot with character development and mystery absolutely absorbing.
My mother gave me a 60+ year old copy of Brat Farrar that my grandfather had paid 95 cents for. As I read each page fell from of the spine. This tactical annoyance did not distract from the delightful mystery of Brat Farrar, an orphan who bears a striking resemblance to a wealthy English boy named Simon Ashby. Simon had a twin, Patrick, who committed suicide at the age of 13, which made Simon sole proprietor of the Ashby estate.

Brat is approached by an American woman who suggests that Brat impe...more
I'm glad I took part in the Book of Month read. What an exceptionally good read! It draws you in from the first sentence, masterfully crafted it holds you on the edge of your seat with the want to know what's going to happen next. :-)
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Q&A with Josh...: July 2013: Brat Farrar 105 52 Jul 30, 2013 04:43AM  
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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 1929...more
More about Josephine Tey...
The Daughter of Time (Inspector Alan Grant #5) The Man in the Queue (Inspector Alan Grant, #1) Miss Pym Disposes A Shilling for Candles (Inspector Alan Grant #2) The Franchise Affair (Inspector Alan Grant #3)

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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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