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The Franchise Affair
Josephine Tey
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The Franchise Affair (Inspector Alan Grant #3)

3.98 of 5 stars 3.98  ·  rating details  ·  3,098 ratings  ·  274 reviews
Marion Sharpe and her mother seem an unlikely duo to be found on the wrong side of the law. Quiet and ordinary, they have led a peaceful and unremarkable life at their country home, The Franchise. Betty Kane, a demure young woman, accuses them of kidnapping and abuse. It takes Robert Blair, solicitor turned amateur detective, to solve the mystery that lies at the heart of ...more
Paperback, 0 pages
Published March 28th 1971 by Berkley Publishing Group (first published 1948)
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Ruby Rose Scarlett
Tremendously good read and I never expected that from the summary - the tale of two women being framed for a brutal kidnapping seemed incredibly far-fetched to me but I'd loved Miss Pym Disposes by the same author so I thought I might as well see if the rest of her work was as good.
Well, it is, and then some. Her writing is astonishing. The book isn't thick but the amount of detail she manages to put in is quite stupendous. After reading a particularly well-written passage, I often caught myself
This is most of my blog review:

I read this thinking throughout "This book would make a fantastic movie. I can't believe it hasn't been adapted – it has everything." But it has been filmed, in Hollywood in 1950 only on VHS at the moment – co-starring Patrick Troughton, which means I really want it. The suspense throughout was amazingly well done – even without a literal life being at risk at any point, the stakes were quite high enough, and my involvement
Josephine Tey was recommended to me as an excellent classic mystery author, and various online reviews of her work supported that view. I chose The Franchise Affair as the first of her books to read based on the number of online references thereto and positive reviews thereof. However - it's not good; rather, it is incredibly dated and, worse, terribly lazily written (e.g., "her intelligent eyes") and plotted. Far too many things didn't ring true: the protagonist lawyer's assumption that the Sha ...more
Josephine Tey here explores how to prove a negative. Two English women (genteel enough to be educated and living on an inheritance but not wealthy by the standards of their class) are accused of kidnapping and beating an innocent-looking adolescent girl because they cannot otherwise get a maid for their remote house. In the process Tey gives a sympathetic but not uncritical view of smug English village life. She is occasionally heavyhanded with a couple of her pet peeves--the inane defense of th ...more
Nancy Oakes
Although this is listed as the third book in Tey's Alan Grant series, here he plays more of a background role rather than the main character. That honor goes to
Robert Blair, a typical small-town English solicitor in the quiet village of Milford. His old and established legal firm, Blair, Hayward and Bennet, handles matters of "wills, conveyancing and investments." But with one desperate telephone call, Blair is thrust into a most bizarre case which takes him to a house called The Franchise.

I really liked Brat Farrar and Miss Pym Disposes, so it's a shame I absolutely hated the next two books of Tey's I read. In the first place, this book is not a mystery. From the blurb, I expected something more ambiguous, where we wouldn't be sure which party was telling the truth and would hopefully have an interesting journey finding out. But no. Right from the start, it is made very clear that the Sharpes are the salt of the earth, and the girl accusing them, a slutty fifteen-year-old whose e ...more
There's no subtlety in this book. Betty Kane is, we're assured, rotten to the core, a completely nasty piece of work. People who are good and decent recognize Betty Kane as a poisonous liar (because of the color and/or spacing of her eyes), people who are stupid and vacuous think she's a harmless little dear. The mystery isn't really what happened to Betty so much as how to prove that she's a liar, which is to be accomplished in court so that the entire world can see that she's a liar and they w ...more
This was a sedate but somehow extremely lovely mystery set in a sleepy English town. Two women stand accused of abducting a young girl, holding her hostage for a month in their crumbling old home (the Franchise), and beating her severely when she refused to become their maid. The women, who swear they've never seen the girl before, reach out to a small town lawyer who's just beginning to realize how bored he is with his rather small and pleasant life. He takes their case on instinct alone. Most ...more
Susan Ferguson
Robert Blair has settled into the law firm that was waiting for him. His cousin Nevil, is the younger partner now. Robert is sitting in his office after tea contemplating leaving for the day when his phone rings. It is Marion Sharpe - she would like him to come out to the Franchise because Scotland Yard is there and she wants someone to advise her and her mother. He tries to get her to call Carley, a criminal lawyer, but she refuses. So, intrigued, he goes out there. A 16 year old school girl cl ...more
One of my favorite Tey's -- a mystery that doesn't involve murder, but still immensely satisfying when (view spoiler)
Bill  Kerwin

Josephine Tey is a Tory reactionary and a snob, but she writes like an angel. This mystery novel of the English middle class at bay under the post WW II Labor party is almost as good as her "The Daughter of Time"--and that is high praise indeed.
Jack Jordan
Main themes: very how-d'you-do British, and very Christian.

'The Franchise Affair' is a mediocre mystery; I thought the plot was very well planned, but it didn't quite deliver. Some parts were delightful (maybe too strong a word), and others were dull.

When it comes to characters, I liked Mrs Sharpe's dry wit; I liked relatively small characters too, which were different enough to stand out from the others; very good characterisation.
I didn't mind Robert (the main character), but I found him a

I really like Josephine Tey and think her 'Daughter of Time' one of the best and most original 'mysteries 'ever written. I ordered it and the Franchise Affair and a couple of others in Kindle recently to have the pleasure of re-reading old favourites.
All I can say is I must have been very young when I read The Franchise Affair, before the age of being politically aware of much, or surely I would have remembered the all-pervading air of class and gender judgement. Threaded througho
I was excited to find this author- we share a birthday. Or an astrological sign, or something. I adore mysteries, and premise and plot-wise, this doesn't disappoint. The Sharpes, mother and daughter, live in a large, gloomy looking-house in the English countryside. Betty Kane is a sweet-faced teenager who comes home after having vanished for a month, with severe bruises on her body. She claims the Sharpes kidnapped her and put those bruises there. Everyone believes her, of course. She's too pret ...more
What a delightful read! I really liked Robert Blair, and I'm sorry HE isn't the continuing character. This is identified with the tagline that Inspector Alan Grant returns......, but I don't think he is actively involved enough for this to be one of "his" books. In checking both B&N and amazon, neither lists this as part of the Inspector Grant series.
I was introduced to this book while reading Books to Die For--a great read by itself--and since I enjoyed Daughter of Time by Tey, I got this b
“The first dark germ of The Little Stranger, however, came to me from another genre entirely. The book has its origins in my response to a detective novel from 1948: The Franchise Affair by Josephine Tey, a novel I first read more than a decade ago, and which has fascinated and troubled me, in about equal measures, ever since.”

Josephine Tey’s novels have been sitting on my shelves for a while now, but it was Sarah Waters who finally make me pick this one up. I’m very glad that she did.

The story
Written in a deceptively understated manner, this tale starts with Robert Blair, a solicitor in a quiet town; he's used to routine, down to how the contents of his tea tray differ for each day of the week. Of course, his placid life is turned upside-down when he becomes involved in a case where two women who live in a somewhat isolated house -- known as The Franchise -- are accused of kidnapping and beating a girl. Said girl seems to be a sweet, angelic young thing; but Blair represents the two ...more
This book is a good reminder that a mystery doesn't need to involve a murder. Solicitor Robert Blair was about to leave his office in a small English town when the phone rang. Marion Sharpe, who lived with her mother in a large, but very run-down country house called The Franchise, wanted him to come immediately because she and her mother were being accused of a crime. A 15 year old girl named Betty Kane arrived with the police and accused the two women of kidnapping her, holding her in their at ...more
In this book, a young woman accused a mother and daughter of kidnapping and abusing her. The young person's story was ridiculous, but on the other hand, how could she describe the interior of a house the two accused women claim she had never been in?
This was extremely absorbing. I liked the way Josephine Tey used the social changes and tensions in the story. She didn't just solve the crime, she also gave a convincing description of how the public responded to the crime and its effects on the peo
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Robert Blair is a staid lawyer settling into a comfortable middle age when he gets dragged into an odd kidnapping case.

It's told well--I really like Tey's quiet, understated writing style. And the characters and their interactions are delightfully old-fashioned. But old-fashioned is precisely my problem with this story--it all hinges on slut-shaming, bad-seedism (that concept that some people are just born totally evil, blegh) and classism, which kept rankling as I read. I just don't believe th
Mar 14, 2014 Melki marked it as to-read  ·  review of another edition
The cover model for this edition is Blondie's own Debbie Harry:
This is an excellent mystery in the usual Tey style, with great attention paid to all the human details that make a good story - a story that just happens to be structured around a mystery.

What makes it unusual is the attitude. There's a very sharp edge in there that I haven't felt in her other works, and which I didn't find entirely pleasant. The characters express opinions about race (specifically the nature of English Saxons versus the Irish), social class, and even - at moments - gender rela
All of Josephine Tey's mysteries are favorites of mine. Her writing is consistently wonderful, her characters interesting, and her stories absorbing.

The Franchise Affair by Josephine Tey is no exception and goes on my favorite shelf.

Recommended: those who enjoy mystery fiction (in the British cozy tradition) and great writing.
There is somewhat of a spoiler here. Just to warn!

This is not a 4, but more than a 3. To be fair, a 3.5. I really wanted to give it a four, but just couldn't. Two reasons. First was the characterization of Betty Kane herself. It was just too much a stereotype exercise for that era's generic loose female teen-age tramp bad girl. Not that it could not happen, but the motivations and actions and "looks" combined to pull that entire story off? In an era when there was such widespread newspaper, tele
Nominally an Inspector Grant book (number 3 in the 6 book series) this is less about Grant - who barely makes an appearance - and more about Robert Blair, a wills and probate solicitor in a small town. At the beginning of the book, he is becoming aware that he is in a rut and whilst tradition is nice and steady, there is perhaps, something more missing, but he doesnt know what. He is almost out the door when his phone goes. Marion Sharpe is in need of help. She, along with her mother, has been a ...more
Gina Dalfonzo
I got this one because I liked "Brat Farrar" so much, but this turned out to be a weaker story. Too much was based on gut instincts and personal attractions. (view spoiler) ...more
There is a cute romance within the story, and I still love the way Tey puts words together.
The crime and criminal, however, I found unusually malicious and unpleasant, not to mention rather unbelievable. Probably it is from watching and reading too many modern police and detective stories, but it seems to me that the last thing the police would do in a situation like this, where it is one persons word against another, is parade the accuser through the crime scene and asking "is this what you re
As a Josephine Tey fan, it was with great anticipation on this mystery not credited to Inspector Grant (though he does make an appearance in the story). Overall, it was a book which gripped, tantalized but did not really deliver.

First, let me set that all you love about Tey's writing remains valid in this book too - a true genius for turn of phrase. Many a times through the book, I found myself re-reading a sentence that with minimum words just conveys a wealth of information. Brilliant ! The my
Jonathan Yardley, book critic for the Washington Post, writes of Tey's six final novels, "Each of the six seems as fresh today as it must have been when it first appeared: elegantly written, populated with interesting and sometimes eccentric characters, witty, but also laugh-out-loud funny, engaged with far deeper themes and ideas than one is accustomed to encounter in most mystery novels."

I have to agree with his assessment. I loved Tey’s fine writing, excellent dialogue, and gentle humor. I l
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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 about Josephine Tey...

Other Books in the Series

Inspector Alan Grant (6 books)
  • The Man in the Queue (Inspector Alan Grant, #1)
  • A Shilling for Candles (Inspector Alan Grant, #2)
  • To Love and Be Wise (Inspector Alan Grant, #4)
  • The Daughter of Time (Inspector Alan Grant, #5)
  • The Singing Sands (Inspector Alan Grant, #6)
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) Brat Farrar

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