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The Man in the Queue

(Inspector Alan Grant #1)

3.81  ·  Rating details ·  7,177 ratings  ·  518 reviews
Inspector Alan Grant searches for the identity of a man killed in the line at a theater and for the identity of the killer—whom no one saw.

A long line had formed for the standing-room-only section of the Woffington Theatre. London’s favorite musical comedy of the past two years was finishing its run at the end of the week. Suddenly, the line began to move, forming a wedge
Paperback, 255 pages
Published November 29th 1995 by Touchstone (first published 1929)
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Bill  Kerwin

This first mystery by Josephine Tey, a genius of the genre, reveals some of Tey the genius to any reader determined to look for it, but it also discloses much of Tey the novice writer too.

It begins well, with a magnificent set piece. A festive atmosphere envelops the line of people waiting for tickets to the musical comedy hit Didn't You Know?, and we watch as this London crowd (accosted by attendant buskers) push against each other, move forward, and eventually reach the box office where “the m
Aug 21, 2017 rated it really liked it
Shelves: xx2017-completed
This book is the first one Josephine Tey wrote in her Inspector Alan Grant series. First published in 1929, it is a product of its time in some ways, and in other ways, it is timeless.

This book takes place in England (mostly London) and in Scotland. The writing is fine although at first I was conscious of words wearing strange apparel. For example, if I recall, one gentleman was labelled as plenitudinous instead of simply calling him ‘stout’. There were a few other examples where older expressio
Oct 27, 2011 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: crime-fiction, kindle
For some reason the only novels by Josephine Tey that I have read previously are The Daughter of Time and The Franchise Affair, both in my long-distant teenage past. I loved the former of these books and liked the latter, but until now I had not felt inspired to seek out Tey's other works.

I'm glad that I finally did, for there's a lot to love about this example of British Golden Age detective fiction. Tey writes beautifully. Her prose is intelligent, lucid and witty and she deals equally well wi
May 30, 2016 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
This is the first Josephine Tey mystery, featuring Inspector Alan Grant. The novel begins on a March evening in London, where there are long queues outside the many theatres, including the Woffington; currently playing the long running show, “Didn’t You Know?” This is coming to the end of a long run and so the crowds are intense, with a patient crowd inching forward and hoping to get to see the beautiful Ray Marcable. As the doors open though, a man in the queue is murdered and Inspector Grant i ...more
Jun 21, 2018 rated it really liked it
According to the card catalog system I used before joining goodreads (2007), I first read this in 2003, 15 years ago. There is something to be said for a poor memory because I really do not remember this book and thoroughly enjoyed it again, as if for the first time.

This is labeled as the first Inspector Grant mystery, but it reads like we already have a history with him, as if we are well-acquainted. He is easy to get to know and likable as a genuinely fallible sleuth, unlike some others I coul
This is the first Josephine Tey mystery, featuring Inspector Alan Grant. The novel begins on a March evening in London, where there are long queues outside the many theatres, including the Woffington; currently playing the long running show, “Didn’t You Know?” This is coming to the end of a long run and so the crowds are intense, with a patient crowd inching forward and hoping to get to see the beautiful Ray Marcable. As the doors open though, a man in the queue is murdered and Inspector Grant i ...more
Roman Clodia
Feb 23, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I love Josephine Tey for her sharp eye, fine writing, good characterisation and twisty-turny plots. This book is the first of the Inspector Grant series and while it doesn't quite have the same engrossing, disorienting quality as The Franchise Affair, it's still a superior example of the classic crime novel.

A man is stabbed while waiting in a London theatre queue - and soon Inspector Grant is caught is a fine muddle of the theatre, bookmakers, London landladies, men's outfitters and a trip to th
After a long absence, Alan Grant returns to my life. (Which is a different way of saying "I haven't read this in a long time".) It's obvious that Josephine Tey didn't originally intend to write mystery novels: not to in any way belittle mystery novels, which I love, but there is an intelligent uniqueness to her story and her writing that is a pure joy, an approach to the task which is fresh and unique.

Alan Grant is … lovely.

A friend noted in her recent review of a different edition that she wa
Melissa McShane
Jun 19, 2013 rated it it was ok
How could I have guessed that the author of The Daughter of Time, one of my favorite authors ever, could have written such a lumpy first novel? I mean, Tey's a great stylist, she writes description so well that you hardly mind that it's pages and pages of the stuff. And even in this novel, Alan Grant is a vibrant and interesting character, even if he does love fishing. But it's unfortunate that Tey chose to make such broad characterizations of cultural and national groups. The murder (the stabbi ...more
Sharon Barrow Wilfong
Jan 16, 2017 rated it it was amazing
I read this book over the weekend. I have never read anything by Tey before and after reading this first novel of hers, consider her a gem of a find.

People are crowding each other in a line outside a theater to see a final performance of the wonderful Ray Marcable's "Swan" performance before she sails off to America. A fat woman (her description, now we would say a "woman of size") is trying to pay for her ticket while she is being pushed by the man and the crowd behind her.

She turns around to
Feb 13, 2014 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Not too bad. I liked the resolution. Tey is still Tey, ie the only Golden Age mystery writer whose racism, classism and sexism I bother really taking issue with, because she really is that much worse than her contemporaries. People decide what personalities other people have based on their face and their race; it's a crass, naïve philosophy and hard to have patience with at the best of times. The detective's thoughts at the end say an awful lot about Tey. He thinks about the murder victim, and t ...more
Jul 04, 2013 rated it liked it
A reread after many years. This was Tey’s first mystery and it shows. Not bad, but not as good as later ones.
Nov 12, 2009 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
A wonderful opening pulled me straight into the 1920s. And straight into London’s theatreland.

It was beautifully written and it was clear that Josephine Tey, already a successful playwright, knew and loved the world she was writing about. And that she understood the importance of the big picture, of the small things, and of the psychology of her characters.

And in the very first chapter there was the crime. Such an elegant, clever scenario:

” ‘Chap fainted,’ said someone. No one moved for a moment
May 02, 2013 rated it it was ok
Shelves: crime, mystery
I expected to like this a lot. Golden Age crime fiction, I'm pretty sure my mother mentioned liking it, etc, etc. But I couldn't get past the endless racism, and the general feeling that Josephine Tey would be a men's rights activist now. I mean, a woman on the stage overshadows her male co-stars, and yet the whole tone is not, wow, her skill and grace and so on, but that she is secretly a conniving bitch. The whole story serves to hammer home that she's a woman who only cares about herself -- w ...more
Elizabeth (Miss Eliza)
*Special Content only on my blog, Strange and Random Happenstance during Golden Summer (May-September 2013).

Inspector Alan Grant has been given the infamous Queue case. A man with no identification was stabbed in a busy queue outside the Woffington Theatre as fans waited to see the final hurrah of Ray Marcable in the smash hit Didn't You Know? With just a knife and a handful of witnesses that didn't see anything, Inspector Grant is able to quickly build a case against the mysterious man he nickn
Elizabeth (Alaska)
A classic of detective fiction that I overlooked in the multitude of good titles that come my way. I'm so glad that has been rectified. From the first page I knew I would like it, as the writing is more complex than so many of the genre. It isn't all so pompous as this, but I certainly enjoyed my introduction to Josephine Tey.
Long ago a lordly official had come down the pit queue and, with a gesture of his outstretched arm that seemed to guillotine hope, had said, "All after here standing room
Dal punto di vista della scrittura, non c’è proprio da lamentarsi. E’ indubbiamente scritto bene. Alcune rapide osservazioni riescono a delineare benissimo i personaggi e a definirli in maniera efficace, persino quelli minori.

Tuttavia, come “romanzo giallo” è un po’ carente di ritmo e il finale non mi è piaciuto per nulla. A dire il vero, non ho neanche ben capito la dinamica dell’omicidio e se possa davvero essere andata come viene narrato. Nonostante la ressa della coda, mi sembra un po’ impr
Free download at Project Gutenberg Australia

I just realized this is the first book of the Inspector Alan Grant series.

As the previous book I've read this week, A Schilling for Candles, the plot is captivating and the investigation work follows the masters of the mystery genre. There is one more book of this series to be read, To Love and Be Wise.

5* The Daughter of Time
4* The Franchise Affair
3* The Singing Sands
4* Brat Farrar
4* A Shilling for Candles
4* The Man in the Queue
TBR To Love and Be Wis
Apr 13, 2018 rated it liked it
Shelves: mystery
A man is stabbed while standing in line for a popular musical comedy. He was surrounded by strangers -- is it possible none of them saw what happened, or is one of them lying?
1929, #1 Inspector Alan Grant, London and Scotland; also published as "Killer in the Crowd".
The Man In the Queue gets himself murdered, and the chase is on! Her weakest novel, but still very good stuff. Cosy police procedural, three-and-one-half stars.

Playwright Elizabeth Mackintosh's first novel, originally published under the "Gordon Daviot" name in 1929 and later as "Josephine Tey", is a true 1920s' thriller, based on the police procedural format, very similar in style and tone to Philip McDo
Orinoco Womble (tidy bag and all)
Published in 1929, there's a definite "Maigret" vibe to the first Inspector Grant novel--and coming from me that's a compliment. Like Maigret, Grant is stolid and silent but very aware of everything that goes on around him--visible as well as hunches, le flair as they say in French. ("Flair" means "sense of smell" like a good hunting dog.) Well Grant has it in spades--the ability to smell out facts as well as the English idea of "flair" meaning style. However, some of his deductions had me grinn ...more
Dec 21, 2014 rated it it was ok
Well, they say you shouldn't judge a book by its cover... I'd have to add "or by its author's reputation or by its Goodreads score!"

An unknown man is stabbed in the queue of a theatre show's last night. Inspector Alan Grant struggles all through the book to find out the who and the why.

This is apparently Josephine Tey's first novel, so I might just be able to forgive her for the dreadfully contrived ending and the disappointment I felt. But I certainly cannot recommend it.
James Hold
Jul 15, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Forget Charlie Chan and Mrs Maple or those two drunks with the dog. If you want the best detective on the planet, you got to go with Allan Grant, the star of Josephine Tey's THE MAN IN THE QUEUE.

Just how great is he, you ask.

Well, try this. Inspector Grant has just crawled through a window to gain access to the office of the murder victim. Remember now, he's never been there before. And so, on page 92 we read: "Reassured, Grant went back to the room for a glance at the drawers of Sorrell's desk
The Man in the Queue is not only the first Inspector Grant mystery by Tey but her first book, in fact. In it , Tey breaks one of the cardinal rules of classic crime fiction: “No accident must ever help the detective, nor must he ever have an unaccountable intuition which proves to be right”. Inspector Grant uses his intuition quite a bit to solve his cases in my experience, in particular in this title.

In the line for a popular musical in its last week’s run, a man is mortally stabbed. Of course,
Lady Delacour
First published in 1929.
Josephine Tey's first book.
Her flowery sentences
put me in mind of Henry James.
There is a cleverness to her
writing style that is all her own.
Narrator Jennifer M. Dixon
does a fairly good job.
Clean with Mild Foul Language.
Mary Lou
Aug 15, 2018 rated it liked it
Shelves: crime-thrillers
The Man in the Queue, the first in the Inspector Grant series, was originally published in 1929. Nearly one hundred years on, Josephine Tey’s novel still feels near and vital, leaving aside of course the amusing societal differences between now and then; bank notes being traceable by their numbers and a wanted man struggling to stay hidden in London for example.
The plot is intricate and Grant ploughs his way systematically through the evidence until he reaches a conclusion, albeit an odd one.
What an intriguing, engrossing mystery. It had a bit of a slow start, and I have to drop a star for the hero - Grant - who is the least interesting character in this oddly elaborate tale. I suppose that's part of the point, to create a bit of a blank slate who can adapt to his circumstances and shine the spotlight where needed. The cast of characters is otherwise full of quirky, hilarious, off-beat Dickensian personalities. They're delightful to meet, and some of my favorite parts of the book ha ...more
Apr 30, 2010 rated it liked it
Shelves: mystery
Although an “interesting” first mystery novel -- and a very promising one -- this book has a number of flaws. It is unclear what “type” of mystery novel Tey (Elizabeth Mackintosh) was attempting to write. Was it a police procedural? An action adventure? A discourse on the realities of justice? Insightful examination of the moral and intellectual quandaries of a detective? All these different types of mystery novels seemed to have been wedged together into one and unfortunately, the seams do show ...more
Mar 03, 2017 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
The Man In The Queue” is Josephine Tey's first novel with this pseudonym and her famous series' début. Though her catalogue is short, this Scotswoman unfortunately dead at only 52, Elizabeth Mackintosh is renowned among the leading authors of mystery. She has true skill. She is a lady of letters, adept at fashioning a labyrinthine plot out of bare bones. Three stars are modest, which take several factors into consideration. My enjoyment and admiration rank highly among them.

Police fiction does
Mar 07, 2017 rated it really liked it
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Reading the Detec...: June 2016 - The Man in the Queue by Josephine Tey 46 48 Jun 13, 2016 01:54PM  
Preconceptions 1 11 Jan 07, 2015 11:20PM  
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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 19

Other books in the series

Inspector Alan Grant (6 books)
  • A Shilling for Candles (Inspector Alan Grant, #2)
  • 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)
“The light died on the window-sill as the last survivor of a charge dies on the enemy parapet, murdered but glorious.” 4 likes
“The jury, having swallowed at one nauseating gulp the business of viewing the body, had settled into their places with that air of conscious importance and simulated modesty which belongs to those initiated into a mystery.” 0 likes
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