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To Love and Be Wise

(Inspector Alan Grant #4)

4.03  ·  Rating details ·  4,605 ratings  ·  342 reviews
When a young strikingly handsome photographer mysteriously disappears, it's up to Inspector Alan Grant to discover whether he accidentally drowned, committed suicide, or met his death at the hands of one of his many female admirers.
Paperback, 224 pages
Published August 18th 1998 by Scribner (first published 1950)
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Average rating 4.03  · 
Rating details
 ·  4,605 ratings  ·  342 reviews

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Nov 21, 2017 rated it really liked it
Shelves: xx2017-completed
In this 4th book of Josephine Tey’s Inspector Grant series, he is active in it from the beginning. A young man disappears – or is disappeared – and Scotland Yard has assigned Alan Grant the responsibility of figuring out whether it is by fair means or foul.

Once again, I am impressed by the writing and Josephine Tey’s excellent grasp of psychology. How and why people take the actions they do is always in depth and real in her characters. As many other writers of her era, the main character gets t
Carol She's So Novel꧁꧂
Aug 27, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Fans of Golden Age detective novels
Josephine Tey's life was cut tragically short. If not for this I do believe would be talking about "The Big Five" Golden Age Detective Writers, rather than "The Big Four."I can't comment on Margery Allingham's works as I have only read one, but Tey at her best is definitely superior to Ngaio Marsh - & while Tey has weaker works, so do Sayers & Christie. This particular novel is all kinds of awesome & one of the very few 5★ I have given this year for fiction that isn't a reread.

It isn
Apr 26, 2015 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition

In my opinion, Josephine Tey is up there with the best British crime novelists of the last century. She wrote intriguing mysteries in clear, crisp and witty prose. Her detective, Inspector Grant, is well-developed and interesting without having any of the obvious eccentricities many crime writers choose to foist upon their detectives. Tey was also good with the minor characters, although in this novel it's fair to say that some are more believable than others.

Here, Inspector Grant is sent to inv
Oct 14, 2010 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
To Love and Be Wise boasts another absolutely gorgeous cover by Pamela Patrick. This is one time when I understand the Goodreads folk who obsess about uniformity in a series. My editions are a ragtag group; someday I'd like to have the matched set.

The story: A disconcertingly beautiful young man becomes part of the lives of an extended family – and then disappears. He leaves behind amidst the bewilderment a girl who loves him despite herself, her fiancé who is all at once a suspect in foul play
Emma Rose Ribbons
God can this woman write anything worthy of less than five stars? How is she not more famous? Her talent is so underrated. I'm consistently impressed with her work. In To Love and Be Wise (which is a lovely title) it's fair to say the investigation makes absolutely no progress for 90% of the book, and yet so much happens. Tey is unparalleled at drawing vivid, jump-off-the-page characters. I have never met a more self-confident author. Her voice can be incredibly hilarious at the most unexpected ...more
Kaethe Douglas
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Edited to add a picture of Calder Alexander Eno the preternaturally enormous cat. He loves lying on books and devices; probably he can absorb books by osmosis. He is extremely affectionate and loves to lie on the sofa with me while I read. But not now, because it is warm and he would like me to get up and feed him. The Gorey cat looks like him, I think.

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I now return you to the book review.

Oh, well done. It would do nicely for Cozy Mystery as well. There isn't much to
Feb 18, 2009 rated it it was amazing
Tey does things with her apparently simple plots that no one, but no one else can manage. A deliciously sly woman.
Mar 03, 2013 rated it really liked it
Josephine Tey is the pseudonym for Elizabeth Mackintosh (1896-1952). Both a playwright (under the pseudonym Gordon Daviot) and novelist and due to a fierce predilection to keeping her life private, little is known about this author. She guarded her life jealously, avoided the press, side-stepped photographers, and never did any interviews. Biographers for the most part are therefore fairly well pissed-off about the whole secretive thing.

Josephine Tey

And that's actually why Tey's novels are a bit of a game wi
Deb Jones
Nov 09, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Inspector Alan Grant has his investigative work cut out for him in To Love and Be Wise. A man whom he met quite by accident at a party later disappears. Grant, only at the party to pick up his dinner companion for the evening, gave little thought to Leslie Searle after that chance encounter, but the image of the man and Grant's perceptions about him, rise to the surface when Scotland Yard sends him to the village of Salcott St. Mary to investigate.

As with all of Tey's works, this is a character-
Long ago, in what now seems like another lifetime, I read a lot of Josephine Tey's books and admired her clever plots and superb writing. Last year, I reacquainted myself with her writing by rereading my favorite book of hers, The Daughter of Time. It gave me an appetite for reading more.

When I was reading her books in the past, to the best of my recollection, I never read this one. And I think I would have remembered for it is a devilishly clever tale.

It's the fourth in her series of books feat
Mar 17, 2019 rated it liked it
Shelves: mystery
To Love and Be Wise was published two years before Christie’s They Do It With Mirrors and it is vastly different in many ways, but I found it interesting that the detective in both books was inspired by misdirection as used by a magician to solve the case.

The mystery in To Love and Be Wise is fairly bloodless. When the book opens, Inspector Grant meets the charming Hollywood photographer, Leslie Searle, at a party and inadvertently helps Searle inveigle his way in to the life of romance writer L
Nov 12, 2010 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
To Love and Be Wise is the 4th book in the Inspector Grant mystery series by Josephine Tey. If you enjoy Agatha Christie or Ngaio Marsh or Dorothy Sayers, you'll also enjoy this classic writer of mysteries.
Inspector Grant is a Scotland Yard inspector who has been assigned to investigate a disappearance of an American. It turns out that Grant had previously met this American when he was attending a party with his actress acquaintance, Marta Hallard. The American, photographer Leslie Searle, meets
May 10, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Delightful, delicious, and downright devilish—oh, I loved this book!

Elizabeth MacKintosh, writing as Josephine Tey, was only responsible for a very few books—too few, to my mind—but the ones that I’ve read (and I’ve now, sadly, read most of them) have been excellent. To Love and Be Wise stands up to her best, The Daughter of Time, and was such a pleasure to read that I really took my time with it, even as I wanted to rush and get to the end; the plot, the characters, and the setting come togethe
Sep 11, 2017 rated it really liked it
Not as stellar as The Daughter of Time, but thoroughly enjoyable. Well, it took me like three hours to read it all, without pausing except to stop the dog from barking at the coyotes. That should tell you how much I enjoyed it!
Sep 11, 2019 rated it it was amazing
It is refreshing to read a mystery that is as witty and well crafted as this. Josephine Tey was a master not often equaled. This is a classic with an appealing gentleman detective, genteel suspects and a lovely unexpected ending
Sharon Barrow Wilfong
Dec 26, 2018 rated it it was amazing
This could very well be the best mystery story I've ever read. I purposefully took twice as long to read it to prolong the pleasure and I sadly closed the end cover when it was over.

I do not know how to review this book without giving anything away, which leaves me with subjective adjectives that will tell you only my opinion. I was about to go mad with curiosity as to how the mystery was going to be solved and I never for a second guessed the conclusion.

But here goes and I promise to give noth
Jul 12, 2015 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I was a tad disappointed by the last Tey novel I (re)read, The Singing Sands, so approached this one, which I hadn't read before, with a little caution. I needn't have worried. The solution is highly ingenious, albeit impossible in real life, (view spoiler) but that's almost the least part of the joy of a novel that's deliciously written and intent more on characterization and exploring the nature of love.

Inspector Alan
Douglas Cosby
Mar 07, 2020 rated it really liked it
As much as I wanted a metaphor where Tey was tea, I landed on this one: If Agatha Christie is tea, then Tey is coffee -- a little more oomph in her writing, but still very comforting when it's cold outside. I would say that she concentrates on making her characters more inscrutable than the mystery itself, and as such, tends to create deeper stories than Christie. Where Christie's mysteries are technical masterpieces, Tey's stories tend to have several deep characters above and beyond the main i ...more
Jan 22, 2013 rated it really liked it
A delightful mystery story with Alan Grant as the debonair detective. Grant does police work because he likes it. A relative has left him a legacy on which he could retire, but he keeps at his job and is good at it. In this story a young photographer goes missing in the night. Was it murder? Suicide? A practical joke? I'm proud that I detected the key to the mystery, even if I didn't get it completely correct.

I especially like the part where two policemen recite poetry to each other and then bur
Apr 06, 2017 rated it it was amazing
I went into this looking for a light read to suit my mood and came to discover that this classic mystery is still strikingly modern in its central issues of identity and gender. It has set my brain ticking on how these issues crop up in other of Tey's novels. Why has no one has written a serious work of criticism about these novels? Val McDermid wrote an excellent piece several years ago that you can find here:

I want more! More context, more interpretatio
Mar 19, 2014 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
It was a wonderful surprise to read this. The characters were all well-drawn, the plot fluid and engaging, and the ending was quite unexpected. What was so refreshing was the absence of ludicrous plot-twists and clichéd characters that one finds in so many of the detective stories written during this so-called 'golden age' of English crime fiction. There was also none of the stifling class rigidities that usually plagued such works. I find Agatha Christie and her ilk quite unreadable now, and on ...more
Nov 06, 2016 rated it really liked it
Shelves: mystery
3.5 stars. This is one of the slightly odder plots among Tey's mysteries—but, oh, how I do like Inspector Grant. He and Sergeant Williams are getting to be one of my favorite detective duos in fiction. Grant is the observant connoisseur of human nature that's usually found among the amateur detectives, the sidekicks and the chroniclers, yet he's also a highly professional and efficient police inspector, which makes for a fascinating combination. Tey's writing is wonderful too, and her plots alwa ...more
All terribly British. Full of eccentrics, a chap who dancers, famous names, life in the country estates, and a disdain for everyone from the US. As with other novels in this series, the characters are from the theatre and there is an American link.
In this case a famous American photographer goes missing. Murder, kidnapping, an accident or a practical joke? And the denouement must have created waves at the time with the introduction of transvestism.
Free download at Project Gutenberg Australia

With this book, I just finished the Inspector Alan Grant series.

5* The Daughter of Time
4* The Franchise Affair
3* The Singing Sands
4* Brat Farrar
4* A Schilling for Candles
4* The Man in the Queue
4* To Love and Be Wise
TBR Miss Pym Disposes
Jun 26, 2017 rated it really liked it
I solved the puzzle before the end of the book!!!! I rarely know what's going on before it's revealed by the detective, so that was quite a coup for me. Of course, lots of little hints are dropped throughout the narrative. (view spoiler) ...more
Mar 21, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Chief Inspector Alan Grant meets American photographer Leslie Searle at a party, and a few weeks later finds himself investigating the man's disappearance in highly suspicious circumstances. It seems to be a classic “village murder” centering on the big house and the pub, but nobody can find the dead body.

I thought I'd read all of Josephine Tey's few books so this one came as a surprise. I haven't always enjoyed them, but I think this was one of her best. It's not quite so full of impossible coi
Jun 22, 2019 rated it it was amazing
For years I've been bitching and moaning about how there is more to mystery than murder - for instance the mystery of the missing jewels, an arson, plagiarism, fraud, a missing person - so my personal discovery of Josephine Tey has been a real gift. This book in particular was a treat - I love the theatre and the arts - and Tey captures the essence of the personalities. Her books are elegant in style coupled with an economy of words - she's never verbose - her asides are always leading somewhere ...more
Emilia Barnes
Excellent mystery by one of the most imaginative crime writers I have read of her era. Tey seems to be attracted by the unconventional and the weird, and so here we have a femme fatale, except it's not a femme at all, and a love story that isn't really very loving until certain events happen, and a collection of misfit artists who yet escape being 2 dimensional caricatures... it's all just perfect for when you are in the mood for a cosy mystery.
Jul 16, 2019 rated it liked it
Shelves: mystery, uk
I find Josephine Tey a bit hit or miss. On the one hand, I like that her mysteries aren't always straightforward murders, and she's often quite incisive about human nature. But this one was ultimately unsatisfying for me because of the way the story resolves. Something that would have been incredible when she wrote the book is now rather passe and flat. I did enjoy the setup, and the slow burn towards the disappearance, but this one wasn't my favourite. I thought The Franchise Affair was much be ...more
Tony DeHaan
Oct 21, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
DI Grant finds himself in a small, rural village. Then a famous American photographer goes missing. Has he been murdered (could very well be)? Drowned (could be)? Gone home without his belongings? Grant finds himself without a body and without a case, and then it hits him in this gentle and elegantly written detective from 1950.
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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)
  • A Shilling for Candles (Inspector Alan Grant, #2)
  • The Franchise Affair (Inspector Alan Grant, #3)
  • The Daughter of Time (Inspector Alan Grant, #5)
  • The Singing Sands (Inspector Alan Grant, #6)

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