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The Man in the Queue

(Inspector Alan Grant #1)

3.79  ·  Rating details ·  8,330 ratings  ·  683 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
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
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
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
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
Deb Jones
Aug 29, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Inspector Alan Grant of Scotland Yard's CID unit isn't one of those individuals who hides his light under a basket, nor is he egotistical. He is self-confident in his abilities as a detective in a healthy way. This is something that comes into play as he investigates the stabbing death of The Man in the Queue.

This is a story well-told with an unexpected twist and also what hints at being a romance for Grant in the future.
May 15, 2020 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: mystery
What a convoluted tale! I also heard at least one phrase I was unfamiliar with, which is unusual. I wasn't overly fond of the narrator's voice but it's hard to pinpoint why, except to say that there was a flatness to it, but that isn't really descriptive either. One thing I noticed as I listened carefully is how long the sentences seemed. Anyway, overall, it was a pleasant excursion into another place and time.
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
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
Carol She's So Novel꧁꧂
I had a few problems with this book. The author seems to believe you can judge a lot by a person's face & displays some quite racist attitudes. A good ending though. ...more
May 02, 2013 rated it it was ok
Shelves: mystery, crime
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
Dame Agatha Christie and Her Peers
The back cover of the edition I read tells us that “Josephine Tey is one of two pen name used by one of the greatest mystery writers of all time, Elizabeth Mackintosh. Born in Inverness, Scotland, in 1896, Tey attended the Royal Academy and worked as a physical trainer before publishing her first novel in 1929.”
Given that this particular genre read is entitled “Dame Agatha and Her Peers”, I do want a better understanding of any interplay among these autho
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 mom
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
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.
Dec 22, 2018 rated it it was amazing
I first discovered Josephine Tey in August, 1962. I took a tour of the Tower of London castle/prison. It was just before I began my junior year in college. The guide pointed to a section of the castle and said "This is where Richard III allegedly murdered his nephews."

I said "What do you mean allegedly". He replied "Read the book THE DAUGHTER OF TIME by Josephine Tey." I did and it changed my life. I became addicted to British history between King Arthur and Richard III. Forty six years later I
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 A.G.
Mar 06, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Retrospectively, the well hidden clues interspersed in The Man in the Queue could possibly be detected by the reader that would have led to solving the crime, but at the start of Josephine Tey's book everyone is in the dark as Inspector Grant investigates the stabbing death of a man standing in a long, crowded waiting line (queue, if you will) to view the last evening's performance of "Didn't You Know" at the Woffington Theater. In this mystery we follow the thoughts, queries, certainties, doubt ...more
Natalie aka Tannat
2.5 stars

Oddly this was a bit of a slog, but it got better towards the end. All the undercover work seemed a bit odd too.
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
Rachel Sample
Jan 07, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
3.5 stars.
Man In the Queue, originally published in 1929, is the first book in Josephine Tey’s Inspector Alan Grant series. At the beginning of the novel, a mysterious man is murdered while waiting in a crowded theater queue. Scotland Yard Inspector Alan Grant then must discover the identity of both the victim and the perpetrator.

Tey’s characters are well drawn and believable. Grant may not be as flamboyant as Poirot or Sherlock, but he is still a throughly likable protagonist. The descriptions
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
Susan in NC
I listened to the audiobook and read the ebook off and on over a couple weeks- I found Tey’s writing enjoyable, but I didn’t feel pulled back to the book, never a good sign.

I wanted to catch up with the Reading the Detectives group on the Inspector Grant series, and I like reading series in order, so I will continue on. I enjoyed seeing Grant put the massive machinery of Scotland Yard in motion after a man is found stabbed in a line of theater-goers, but the ending was a bit coincidental for me,
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?
"You're a marvel, Grant. With a case like that I should have been as pleased as Punch and all over myself. It isn't canny. If you're ever fired from the forcé, you can set up as something in the second-sight line at five bob a time."
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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)
  • 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)

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