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A Shilling for Candles

(Inspector Alan Grant #2)

3.97  ·  Rating details ·  6,660 ratings  ·  389 reviews
When a screen actress's body is found in the surf off the southern coast of England, it was a nightmarish case of too many clues and too many motives. This story was the basis of one of Hitchcock's British films--Young and Innocent.
Published December 12th 1991 by Blackstone Audiobooks (first published 1936)
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Greg Pamela, those last few pages really threw me, just like the last few pages of Miss Pym Disposes. I was thinking, "oh no not again." Here, it appeared …morePamela, those last few pages really threw me, just like the last few pages of Miss Pym Disposes. I was thinking, "oh no not again." Here, it appeared that Champneis and Jay Harmer were smuggling in the guy named Rimnik. But I don't think Grant needed to be quiet about THAT, as Rimnik was issued a passport. And, this provided Champneis and Harmer with an alibi for the night, and THAT was something everyone could know also. I THINK, when Grant started talking about how much Champneis and Harmer liked and admired "one another immediately" then said,
GRANT: "I should have thought more about my recognition of your-"
CHAMPNEIS: "My what?"
GRANT: "Unorthodoxy. Once I groped my way through that difficulty, the rest was easy."
I THINK Champneis and Harmer had a bit of romance going. Not sure.(less)
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Bill Kerwin
May 19, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition

Not far from the Channel, near Westover, a woman's body is washed ashore. First thought an accident, then a suicide, it is soon deemed a murder—and a puzzling one, at that. But when the dead woman is identified as Christine Clay, famous British actress and Hollywood star, Inspector Grant's task, already quite a puzzle, becomes an ordeal.

This second Inspector Grant mystery is better than the first, but it would still take more than ten years before Tey would include him in her first masterpiece,
Carol She's So Novel꧁꧂
4.5★ Can't make it 5★as the clues weren't there for the reader to solve themselves (although Tey did lead one up the garden path! I do love a good garden path wander!)

Mysterious and charismatic actress Christine Clay is found drowned. Initial evidence points a charming young wastrel that Clay recently befriended - but is Robin Tisdall the guilty party? Or is it someone from the past that Clay has been reinventing?

And she used to tell a different story each time. When someone pointed out that tha
Sep 26, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: xx2017-completed
In this outing, Inspector Grant has his work cut out for him. A famous actress is murdered and the suspect list is long. It becomes even longer after her will is read. And the only clue they have is a button.

Once again, Josephine Tey writes a classically woven whodunit with threads of different colors and lengths loosely throwing menace and mayhem in many different directions. As the story proceeds, those threads are gathered tighter and tighter until a design starts to appear.

This was a very en
Mar 27, 2017 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
This is the second Inspector Alan Grant novel, following on from “The Man in the Queue.” The first novel was written in 1929, while this was published in 1937, which is quite a gap. I must admit that, although a lover of Golden Age detective fiction, I have always struggled a little with Tey; although I enjoyed this more than the first book.

The mystery begins with the discovery of a body on a beach, which turns out to be that of a successful, and beautiful, actress, named Christina Clay (althou

I wish I hadn't left getting better acquainted with Josephine Tey's writing for quite so long. In this novel, Tey's second, Inspector Alan Grant investigates the murder of a famous actress, whose death by drowning had been predicted by a celebrity clairvoyant. In her characteristically elegant prose, Tey not only delivers an interesting piece of Golden Age crime fiction, she also explores the concept of celebrity. That Tey's observations on this particular issue still seem fresh today is both a
May 25, 2014 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Group read with English Mysteries Club, June 2014.

What a joy it is to spend a couple of days with Inspector Grant and Josephine Tey. Grant is the antithesis of the hard-boiled detective. My grandmother would say 'he's a lovely man', a gentle man, a bit of a worrier, someone who instinctively likes people. Grant sees his world and its varied and colorful inhabitants with keen insight and good humor.

Even beyond the pleasure of Grant's company, A Shilling for Candles has such a deliciously likeabl
Lady Clementina ffinch-ffarowmore
The second book featuring Inspector Allan Grant was a group read with the Reading the Detectives group here. The body of a young woman is found washed up on the beach, and while briefly thought to be a swimming accident, soon enough, some things begin to puzzle the local police and the Yard is called in, Grant leading the investigation. The victim turns out to be Christine Clay, a well known actress who’d been living in a small village for a while to get away from things in London. She doesn’t s ...more
Julie  Durnell
Maybe it's just me, but I had a really difficult time with this Alan Grant book-I needed a character listing because I could not keep everyone straight. The murder plotting was devious and very convoluted, I was way off course! But all in all, Josephine Tey is a master storyteller.
Nancy Oakes
really, it's around a 3.6 rounded up.

This is my second time with this book, and I got much more out of it this time around than the last, which is generally the case with me; I think the huge difference was that this time I also had more insight into the author herself. I have to be honest -- so far my favorite of the rereads has been her The Franchise Affair -- in my very humble opinion, it's among the best of her mysteries and A Shilling for Candles doesn't rate as highly as that one. That do
Mar 23, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
A beautiful film star is found dead at the foot of some cliffs not far from the cottage she is renting for a few weeks. Is it suicide or is it murder? Inspector Alan Grant is puzzled. When his chief suspect - the young man who was staying with Christina Clay in the cottage - goes on the run he believes his suspicions are correct but he reckons without the Chief Constable's young daughter, Erica, who doesn't believe Robert Tisdall is guilty and sets out to prove it.

I enjoyed reading this well wri
Another excellent example of "not your ordinary mystery novel". A body is discovered on a beach, and the immediate assumption of suicide is soon contradicted by the evidence. (I have to say I'm a little impressed that the article found with the body which indicates murder is never mentioned in anything I've read online about the book (and in fact morphed into something else for the film adaptation (1937's Young and Innocent, said to be Hitchcock's personal favorite among his British films); I'm ...more
Lisa (Harmonybites)
Apr 22, 2010 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Mystery Lovers
Josephine Tey is one of my favorite mystery authors--easily top five. This isn't a favorite book among her works though. Sadly, she only wrote eight. The introduction to the latest editions by Robert Barnard name The Daughter of Time, The Franchise Affair and Brat Farrar as the standouts; I'd add Miss Pym Disposes to that list of her best. A Shilling for Candles is only her second book and her two earliest books are indeed imo her weakest, though I like A Shilling for Candles better than her fir ...more
Abigail Bok
This is my second recent Inspector Grant whodunit by Josephine Tey, and I have to confess myself underwhelmed. The prose is pleasant to read, but the characters are not very engaging for me, and Tey cheats a bit on the mystery in my view. I have adored other books by her, notably Brat Farrar, but this series, full of empty Bright Young Things, is not doing it for me. Dorothy Sayers does the BYTs in a much more interesting fashion.

At the center of my sense of hollowness is Inspector Grant himself
From the back cover of this edition (Knut Publication, 2015): "The novel is considered as one of the best detective adventure thriller in 20th century." Those are the exact words. The font of the novel is so small I had to read only in bright, direct daylight. Do I dare trust a single word here given bad grammar and tiny font? This is the last publication from Knut that I'll read. But to the contents...
CAST - 4 stars: A William Potticary (from the 14th century E
Lyn Elliott
Oct 08, 2018 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: england, crime
Josephine Tey’s confusion of clues left me behind, and I doubt anyone could guess the outcome of this, the second Alan Grant mystery. Grant himself seems only partly formed here, though it may be that the figure in my memory is one I’ve part invented for myself, with elements of Inspector
Dalgleish in there too.
Tey’s writing is a classic piece of its time and place - England in the early post war years, the class system still very much intact even if a bit frayed around the edges; the casual ass
Roman Clodia
Mar 06, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Not my favourite Tey as bits of the story feel under-written and the solution is a cliche of crime fiction (and what was the motive, again?). All the same, for writing, for characterisation and sheer readability, Tey is one of my favourites for light and unchallenging reading which is still assured and intelligent.
Deb Jones
Sep 24, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I enjoyed reading the first in Josephine Tey's The Man in the Queue, the first in the Inspector Alan Grant series. Grant as a character attracted my attention, as did Tey's writing, so I happily read this, the second in the Grant series.

Grant remains a rock and a symbol of the pursuit of justice in this story. In fact, he shows his sense of fairness and quest for true justice when he makes a simple mistake.

An entertaining read from beginning to end.
Mar 20, 2011 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I was both thrilled and dismayed to discover that in compiling my seemingly endless list of "books read" I somehow missed one of my most favorite British mystery writers ever-Josephine Tey. Thrilled to have the opportunity to share this outstanding writer & dismayed because, put simply, it meant I had to go back to work on my list:). Nevertheless, I'm delighted to share this great writer with others. It hardly matters which of her books you being with (although I would personally recommend The Daughter of Time by Josephine Tey , ...more
This entertaining mystery was published in Britain in 1936, so it contains a lot of expressions I hadn't heard before or had rarely heard before:

I'll take my alfred davy: I'll swear to it

I'm the original locked casket: I can keep a secret

You're the original camel fly: You're annoying

bags: trousers

charabanc: large bus or wagon used for sightseeing

Why doesn't she turn cartwheels in the Strand?: Why must she make a spectacle of herself?

Orinoco Womble (tidy bag and all)
A much better read than my first Tey novel, Miss Pym Disposes. A beautiful movie star is found drowned on the beach, and the young man who's been staying with her has only a very fishy alibi. Whodunit, and why, if "everybody loved her"?

I found this book engaging, amusing and entertaining enough to devour in the course of a weekend. Alan Grant is going to grow on me; he's not morose or driven like so many modern TV detectives, though the loss of his prime suspect nearly drives him round the bend
Josephine (Jo)
There is no great horror in the murders depicted by Josephine Tey, there is, of course, the discovery of a body and a brief description of how it was found and the cause of death but not like some more modern-day novels where more time is given to the gruesome details of the corpse than to the solving of the crime. Inspector Grant is also different from the general ideal of a high ranking police officer in crime novels today, he a kind and pleasant man, he is not damaged, he is just good at his ...more
Aug 16, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
3.75 stars It went along a few questionable paths then redeemed itself in the end.
I enjoyed this book very much.

It is the second book in the Inspector Grant series and features the death of a very talented, popular movie star. There are few clues at the scene, since she was drowned at a secluded beach and the tide has obliterated anything of use. One suspect delivers himself up immediately, but claims to be innocent. The evidence, however circumstantial, all points to him and he is arrested.

The quickness and cleanliness of the arrest pleases everyone: the press, the public,
Avid Series Reader
A Shilling for Candles is the second book of the Inspector Alan Grant series by Josephine Tey, set in 1930s England.

One morning a woman is found drowned in the ocean near Westover. When evidence of foul play is discovered, Inspector Alan Grant of Scotland Yard takes the case.

The victim turned out to be the famous actress Christine Clay. She had been staying in an out-of-the-way cottage for a month as a break from her busy schedule. Suspects include her husband Lord Edward Champneis, her lodger
Matthew Gatheringwater
I picked up A Shilling for Candles because Young and Innocent, one of my favorite early Hitchcock films, is based on it. I was surprised to realize, however, that the film is only very loosely adapted from the book, Hitchcock having lifted a single idea from the plot: a man, who may or may not be innocent, is a fugitive from the law and finds assistance from a young woman who may or may not be in love with him. People who've watched the film shouldn't have their experience of the book spoiled, s ...more
Published in the mid 1930s, the expressions, culture and behaviours are so British. There is always time for tea. A good serving of canned tongue was a favourite on the menu. Young women were starting to flex their muscles. But tradition reigns and being a man of nobility or even from Scotland Yard meant instant respect and special treatment.
In this novel, there were many similarities with the first Alan Grant novel. Examples being:
- a special piece of clothing (in this case a coat rather than a
Elizabeth (Alaska)
I like Inspector Alan Grant. He isn't a puffed up egotist like Hercule Poirot or Nero Wolfe. Of course, those two are private investigators and Alan Grant is Scotland Yard. Grant has to work through the crime whether he likes it or not - no picking and choosing crimes for him. Still, he uses his own little grey cells, like Poirot, and also allows himself to get actively engaged in the investigation, unlike Wolfe.

I'm not sure, however, that the mystery is the point for reading Josephine Tey. Sur
Jan 28, 2014 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: mystery
The thing that stands out to me most as I work my way through this series is how individual Josephine Tey's authorial voice is. I thought A Shilling for Candles was a far better mystery story than her first work, though it still had some of the same oddities as The Man in the Queue. For one thing, while her characters in this book were generally very well defined, I still feel like I know very little about Inspector Grant as a human being. Erica and Tisdall and Lord Champneis are all fully devel ...more
Carolyn F.
I read the book a long time ago and am now listening to the audiobook.

After re-reading the first book, I thought I must have looked back on Ms. Tey's books with rose colored glasses. I had read them in the mid 1990s and hadn't re-read them since. I realized that's 20 years! This book showed me that it wasn't my imagination, her books are really good. As I said it's been 20 years since I read her books so although the storyline was familiar, I kept flip-flopping on who done it, which is good. I
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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 featuring 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

Other books in the series

Inspector Alan Grant (6 books)
  • The Man in the Queue (Inspector Alan Grant, #1)
  • 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)

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