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Brat Farrar

4.03  ·  Rating details ·  7,574 ratings  ·  860 reviews
In this tale of mystery and suspense, a stranger enters the inner sanctum of the Ashby family posing as Patrick Ashby, the heir to the family's sizable fortune. The stranger, Brat Farrar, has been carefully coached on Patrick's mannerism's, appearance, and every significant detail of Patrick's early life, up to his thirteenth year when he disappeared and was thought to hav ...more
Paperback, 288 pages
Published September 2nd 1997 by Scribner (first published 1949)
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Tadiana ✩Night Owl☽
This 1949 suspense novel is a gripping story of deception and hidden identity, set in post-WWII England among the upper classes. Simon Ashby is about to turn 21 and finally inherit his dead parents' estate, easing the financial stresses on his family and younger sisters. But suddenly another young man appears, claiming to be Simon's older twin brother Patrick, who is thought to have committed suicide at age 14.

However: "Patrick" is Brat Farrar, an orphan who's been coached by an unscrupulous ne
Carol She's So Novel꧁꧂
I've not been a fan of every Tey I have ever read & sometimes a reread can disappoint - but not in this case! Brat Farrar's temptation into a life of assumed identity (or is it???) & intrigue thrills every step of the way. Every detail of this book works perfectly & meshes together. We take every careful step with Brat & the scene where (view spoiler) is a quite wonderful example of taut suspense.

If you don't read any ot
mark monday
Anaxagoras, ancient Greek philosopher, differentiated mind and matter. Mind, unlike matter, "is mixed with nothing, but is alone, itself by itself"... matter is composite, mind is simple. Ah, the purity and independence of the lonely mind!

Poor Brat Farrar, a lonely soul, without affect, disconnected from the material world, disconnected from himself, a man and a mind alone. But at least he loved his horse! RIP, horse.


The Neoplatonic, medieval Christian theologian known as "Pseudo-Dionysus" pos
Jul 23, 2009 rated it really liked it
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
Bionic Jean
“Someone had said that if you thought about the unthinkable long enough it became quite reasonable.”

Brat Farrar is an excellent mystery by Josephine Tey, full of such conundrums. Although this novel was first published in 1949, in the era of so-called golden age crime novels, Josephine Tey pushed the boundaries. She anticipated the works of later writers, such as Patricia Highsmith, Ruth Rendell and P.D. James. She made the reader ask uncomfortable questions.

So what is the mystery in Brat Farrar
Oct 21, 2011 rated it liked it
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
A lovely little interlude from heavy reading, this early mystery was reminiscent of one of my favorite Daphne du Maurier novels, The Scapegoat. Patrick Ashby is meant to have committed suicide when he was thirteen years old. A body washed up downstream from his home, but unrecognizable, was assumed to be his and buried. His twin, Simon, will turn twenty-one soon and inherit the family estate at Lachetts in Patrick’s stead.

Enter a stranger who looks too much like Simon to be ignored and claiming
Dec 02, 2016 rated it it was amazing
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
Abigail Bok
Sep 09, 2017 rated it it was amazing
This is one of my all-time favorite mysteries. Published in 1950, Brat Farrar is about a young man, Bartholomew Farrell (he comes to be known as Brat Farrar over the course of extensive teenage wanderings), who is left as a foundling at a high-class orphanage. He leaves that life in his early teens and knocks about Europe and the Americas, eventually feeling the call of his homeland and returning about age twenty. In London he crosses paths with a ne’er-do-well, Alex Loding, who is startled to s ...more
Sep 06, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
A strongly delivered story of sibling rivalry. Patrick Ashby was considered a suicide when a young boy, years later he returns to the family seat of Latchetts as Brat Farrar.

Wonderful air of time and place and an engaging mystery. Had an inkling early on as to how the mystery surrounding Brat Farrar might unfold but it in no way detracted from the appeal of the story overall. An enduring mystery that manages to hold up over time, well worth a look at.
Oct 14, 2018 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: reviewed
‘Come and see me again before you decide anything,’ the Rector had said; but he had at least been helpful in one direction. He had answered Brat’s main question. If it was a choice between love and justice, the choice had to be justice.

Brat Farrar (written in 1949) was not a perfect read. I have had issues with the some of the reactions of the characters:

‘Funny,’ he said, as Brat plunged the shoe into the water, ‘if any Ashby was to earn his living at this job it ought to have been your brother.
S.P. Aruna
Jul 22, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: thriller-mystery
The premise is intriguing, and the challenges facing the protagonist are enough by itself to put the reader on edge. But as the story unfolds, an additional element of suspense unfolds.

Brat Farrar is an orphan returning to Britain after years away when he is accosted in the street by a stranger who proposes that he become an impostor, posing as a young man who supposedly killed himself 8 years prior, in order to inherit the stud farm and fortune that would belong to the missing heir if he were a
Roman Clodia
There's an intriguing premise here as an orphan is brought to pose as the lost heir to a family fortune: we know this from the start so this is no spoiler - yet, there's still a question about who exactly is Brat Farrar?

I usually like the brisk conciseness of Golden Age mysteries but here it can feel too abbreviated in places, especially towards the end which wraps up with puzzling rapidity. This is also a very horsy book and while that certainly helps to characterise Brat well, it can also get
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
Sep 04, 2009 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: hist-myst, 5-star, mystery
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
Is it a scam, if not even the scammer is sure it is actually a scam? A good fast paced mystery with just enough deception to keep me guessing as to who was the victim and who was actually the villain.
Susan Johnson
Sep 16, 2019 rated it it was amazing
No wonder her books have stood the test of time. It's very good.
Sep 22, 2012 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
May 27, 2015 rated it liked it
Entertaining, postwar British mystery. It had elements that were compelling but there was no surprise about the culprit. I can imagine there was a b&w Rank movie with a young Dirk Bogarde - just guessing about that angle. Witty and enough well described British upper crust comforts, tea, tweed, steeple chases for me to see it through to the end. How long lost twin Brat ends up in the right place and time for the story - a coming of age inheritance for his twin brother, is I think this story's we ...more
Barb in Maryland
Oh, this book! I felt compelled to up my rating to 5 stars after this re-read.

The basic plot is one of my favorites--the return of the heir, long presumed dead. We the readers know fairly early on that Brat is not the missing Patrick. The tension is generated by the many hurdles Brat has to clear to maintain his impersonation of Patrick. At every point along the way there's the chance that the whole house of cards will come tumbling down.
Tey has such a smooth and warm style. All the characters
I found Brat Farrar to be similar to The Daughter of Time, not just in Tey's writing style, but also in that they aren't straightforward crime novels. Where The Daughter of Time is a very clever mental exercise, Brat Farrar is a clever tale of a scam that encounters unanticipated wrinkles.

The key elements of the plot seemed transparent to me early on, so I enjoyed this as a relaxing read, full of detailed descriptions of a horse breeding and racing household in post-WWII England.
Feb 17, 2017 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
Shawn Mooney (Shawn The Book Maniac)
I have long hated mysteries, and wonderful reader friends urged me to try this one in hopes that its literariness might break the spell. But by early in the third chapter I was as nauseated as I always am by the conventions of mystery fiction, so no, it didn’t work. I have no criticisms to make about this novel. None. I am just constitutionally not cut out for the genre.
Lisa (Harmonybites)
Sep 09, 2011 rated it it was amazing
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
Ivonne Rovira
May 28, 2013 rated it it was amazing
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-
Aug 27, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: mystery, own-kindle, 2019
A really excellent old-fashioned mystery with a great plot, fascinating scenario and setting, and truly superb characterization.

Highly recommended. 4.5 stars
Aug 31, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Anna by: Lucy Barnhouse
Shelves: fiction, crime
‘Brat Farrar’ is an impressively tense mystery. The plotting is extremely adroit and the characters very intriguing. As the book starts, a young man claiming to be a long-lost relative reappears and the Ashby family of rural gentry must decide whether to accept him or not. The reader knows from the start that the titular character is an imposter, thus sharing his fear of discovery and guilt for misleading a family he grows to love. The characterisation is witty and has dated hardly at all; the w ...more
Nov 01, 2010 rated it really liked it
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
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Solution to the Mystery (Spoiler Alert!) 2 8 Nov 20, 2020 08:33AM  
English Mysteries...: April 2020 Group Read Brat Farrar by Josephine Tey 82 90 Aug 02, 2020 12:14PM  
Around the Year i...: Brat Farrar, by Josephine Tey 2 32 Aug 17, 2019 04:24PM  
Retro Reads: Brat Farrar - Spoilerland 112 51 Nov 02, 2017 07:11PM  

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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

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