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The Franchise Affair
Josephine Tey
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The Franchise Affair (Inspector Alan Grant #3)

really liked it 4.0  ·  Rating details ·  4,780 Ratings  ·  423 Reviews
Marion Sharpe and her mother seem an unlikely duo to be found on the wrong side of the law. Quiet and ordinary, they have led a peaceful and unremarkable life at their country home, The Franchise. Betty Kane, a demure young woman, accuses them of kidnapping and abuse. It takes Robert Blair, solicitor turned amateur detective, to solve the mystery that lies at the heart of ...more
Paperback, 0 pages
Published March 28th 1971 by Berkley Publishing Group (first published 1948)
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Oct 27, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: xx2017-completed
Named the 11th greatest mystery novel of all time in 1990 by the Crime Writer’s Association, The Franchise Affair was written in 1948. This is the only Inspector Grant novel where there is no murder, and the first one where Inspector Grant plays a minor role. For any mystery fan, this one is a treasure.

Robert Blair is a lawyer in a small English town and used to dealing with wills, land transfers, and other small town legal concerns. In his early 40’s, he is a bachelor and lives with his Aunt Li
Carol Clouds ꧁꧂
I've been wanting to read this Tey title for a very long time &, other than the reader sees very little of Inspector Grant, it did not disappoint.

This tale of the disappearance of a young girl & her bizarre accusations against a mother & daughter was very hard to put down and I wolfed through it in around 24 hours.

As it is a Golden Age you have to put up with an author's foibles, & Ms Tey has the firm belief that you can tell a criminal by certain characteristics - in this book
Bill  Kerwin
Aug 03, 2007 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition

Josephine Tey is a Tory reactionary and a snob, but she writes like an angel. This mystery novel of the English middle class at bay under the post WW II Labor party is almost as good as her "The Daughter of Time"--and that is high praise indeed.
Nancy Oakes
Actually, this is my second time with this book after having read it eons ago, and I enjoyed it much more this time around, since I read it now with more of a focus on character and postwar issues.

The Franchise Affair is just a perfect gem of a novel, based on the real-life case of Elizabeth Canning in 1753 which you can read about here. Moving the case into contemporary times, Tey updated this story to reflect various postwar concerns, as Sarah Waters notes, looking at the "moral panics - ab
Emma Rose Ribbons
Tremendously good read and I never expected that from the summary - the tale of two women being framed for a brutal kidnapping seemed incredibly far-fetched to me but I'd loved Miss Pym Disposes by the same author so I thought I might as well see if the rest of her work was as good.
Well, it is, and then some. Her writing is astonishing. The book isn't thick but the amount of detail she manages to put in is quite stupendous. After reading a particularly well-written passage, I often caught myself
This is most of my blog review:

I read this thinking throughout "This book would make a fantastic movie. I can't believe it hasn't been adapted – it has everything." But it has been filmed, in Hollywood in 1950 only on VHS at the moment – co-starring Patrick Troughton, which means I really want it. The suspense throughout was amazingly well done – even without a literal life being at risk at any point, the stakes were quite high enough, and my involvement
Jun 07, 2012 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: mysteries
I really liked Brat Farrar and Miss Pym Disposes, so it's a shame I absolutely hated the next two books of Tey's I read. In the first place, this book is not a mystery. From the blurb, I expected something more ambiguous, where we wouldn't be sure which party was telling the truth and would hopefully have an interesting journey finding out. But no. Right from the start, it is made very clear that the Sharpes are the salt of the earth, and the girl accusing them, a slutty fifteen-year-old whose e ...more
Mar 30, 2013 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
There's no subtlety in this book. Betty Kane is, we're assured, rotten to the core, a completely nasty piece of work. People who are good and decent recognize Betty Kane as a poisonous liar (because of the color and/or spacing of her eyes), people who are stupid and vacuous think she's a harmless little dear. The mystery isn't really what happened to Betty so much as how to prove that she's a liar, which is to be accomplished in court so that the entire world can see that she's a liar and they w ...more
Orinoco Womble (tidy bag and all)
Ahhhh, that's better. After a few disappointing reading choices of late, this well-written mystery without a murder was just my drop. It kept me engaged and interested to the very last. Trouble is, it doesn't fit my usual "mystery" shelves: we know whodunit (what little was actually done), it's neither noir fiction nor a police procedural, as the police basically don't see there's a case. It's about salvaging your reputation when you really are innocent, all indications to the contrary.

Trial by
Sep 11, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
When the author Louise Penny recommends a book as one of her top five mystery-reads it is good to explore her choice. THE FRANCHISE AFFAIR, penned in 1948, is a mystery...refreshingly so, not a murder mystery. Beautifully written with much descriptive, very very British, far more depth than a "cozy". A dusty relic on the library shelf!
Aug 01, 2012 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: mystery-thriller
Josephine Tey was recommended to me as an excellent classic mystery author, and various online reviews of her work supported that view. I chose The Franchise Affair as the first of her books to read based on the number of online references thereto and positive reviews thereof. However - it's not good; rather, it is incredibly dated and, worse, terribly lazily written (e.g., "her intelligent eyes") and plotted. Far too many things didn't ring true: the protagonist lawyer's assumption that the Sha ...more
Jan 31, 2011 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
An undemanding read and a clever mystery novel. It portrays Britain in the 1940s and its idiosyncrasies very well. The dilemmas of the more impoverished middle classes who could not now afford servants are documented without judgement.
The story concerns a mother and her middle aged daughter who are accused of kidnapping and beating a 16 year old girl with a view to forcing her to work as a maid. They are defended by a country solicitor who takes up their cause. They are pilloried by the tabloid
Nov 12, 2009 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
“The first dark germ of The Little Stranger, however, came to me from another genre entirely. The book has its origins in my response to a detective novel from 1948: The Franchise Affair by Josephine Tey, a novel I first read more than a decade ago, and which has fascinated and troubled me, in about equal measures, ever since.”

Josephine Tey’s novels have been sitting on my shelves for a while now, but it was Sarah Waters who finally make me pick this one up. I’m very glad that she did.

The story
Mar 21, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Marion Sharpe and her mother live in a house called The Franchise - left to them by a distant relative. They lead a quiet and uneventful life until they are confronted out of the blue by a young girl - Betty Kane - who accuses them of kidnapping her, keeping her locked in an attic room and beating her black and blue. Something about the story doesn't ring quite true to Inspector Alan Grant of Scotland Yard but everything about the girl's description of the house ties up and it seems as though sh ...more
I'm strolling through Josephine Tey's mysteries in and between other books, having read them all many years ago.

This one is an interesting reworking of a real case that happened in the 18th century, and is enjoyable. There are a few jarring notes where individuals say they would like to beat up the girl who claims to have been abducted, beaten and held hostage, because the speaker believes she is lying. There is a tone of "no better than she ought to be" and a looking down on someone seen as com
Emilia Barnes
Nov 28, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: mystery, classic
What a fascinating book to read in this day and age! Just as we are having a discussion about believing survivors or rape and abuse, I read a novel in which the reader is invited to cordially hate and despise the accuser in a case of abuse. Of course, it was written in the 1940s, and thus must be treated as a product of its time. And it doesn't add much to the discussion of how a situation, in which it's the word of the accuser against the word of the accused should be treated. In this book we'r ...more

I really like Josephine Tey and think her 'Daughter of Time' one of the best and most original 'mysteries 'ever written. I ordered it and the Franchise Affair and a couple of others in Kindle recently to have the pleasure of re-reading old favourites.
All I can say is I must have been very young when I read The Franchise Affair, before the age of being politically aware of much, or surely I would have remembered the all-pervading air of class and gender judgement. Threaded througho
Nov 27, 2015 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Crime fiction lovers
Recommended to Gary by: Folio Society
I first read this book a few years ago but didn’t appreciate how much I enjoyed it until I read it again recently.

This is considered one of Tey’s best novels and I can see why. She writes in a straightforward, clear way, making her prose easy and enjoyable to read. She knows her characters well and she knows human nature, treating us to snippets of back-story as she goes along, so we get to know them in stages, as if they were real people. We get inside their heads (the main ones, anyway) and th
Aug 11, 2009 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Josephine Tey here explores how to prove a negative. Two English women (genteel enough to be educated and living on an inheritance but not wealthy by the standards of their class) are accused of kidnapping and beating an innocent-looking adolescent girl because they cannot otherwise get a maid for their remote house. In the process Tey gives a sympathetic but not uncritical view of smug English village life. She is occasionally heavyhanded with a couple of her pet peeves--the inane defense of th ...more
Feb 10, 2010 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This was a sedate but somehow extremely lovely mystery set in a sleepy English town. Two women stand accused of abducting a young girl, holding her hostage for a month in their crumbling old home (the Franchise), and beating her severely when she refused to become their maid. The women, who swear they've never seen the girl before, reach out to a small town lawyer who's just beginning to realize how bored he is with his rather small and pleasant life. He takes their case on instinct alone. Most ...more
Well I finished The Franchise Affair and I have to sat it's the first time I have been driven to finish a book by shear disgust at the ideas it puts forwards. I began to get a little uncomfortable both author ad charactors quite early into this novel but it was so well written that I decided to stick with it. What carried my on to the end was disbelief that anyone could take this woman seriously.

A friend passed this link on to (spoiler alert)

It is a piece
Sep 14, 2014 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Josephine Tey approaches Dorothy Sayers' level of literate mysteries. What I mean to say is, she's not just writing a "whodunnit." She's writing people, and they're pretty interesting.
Although, I have to remark that out of three books of hers I've read, she's at 100% for making wild generalizations about someone's character based on eye color, shape of the face, etc. I thought the pseudo-science of phrenology had been abandoned by this time, but I must be wrong.
Dec 07, 2012 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
One of my favorite Tey's -- a mystery that doesn't involve murder, but still immensely satisfying when (view spoiler)
Feb 18, 2009 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Tey does things with her apparently simple plots that no one, but no one else can manage. A deliciously sly woman.
Mar 14, 2014 marked it as to-read  ·  review of another edition
The cover model for this edition is Blondie's own Debbie Harry:
Peter Tillman
Mar 07, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Anyone who hasn't read it yet.
Shelves: hist-fiction, mystery
A very well-written novel, that we would call historical fiction now, but represents (I think) the author’s idea of immediate postwar British life around 1947 or so. A country lawyer is called on to defend two unconventional women, who have been accused of kidnapping and beating a 16 year old girl. The accusation seems fantastic, but the accuser is very convincing. The stakes grow higher when the accusations are retailed by a tabloid newspaper, and life for the two accused women becomes ugly ind ...more
Dolores Schultz
This is a British Crime mystery which is what attracted me to the book. The book was written in 1949 and it certainly has the pace of the books of that era. It reflects the time when women were supposed to be homebodies and marriages were arranged. An older, unmarried woman was looked down upon. At least that seemed to be the attitude in this book. The small town where the supposed crime takes place has its noisy and biased bigots.

I was disappointed that Alan Grant of Scotland Yard did not have
tortoise dreams
Feb 07, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
An elderly mother and her daughter accused of kidnapping and beating a young woman turn to their solicitor for a defense.

Book Review: The Franchise Affair is unlike most mysteries, but charming and enjoyable nonetheless. The mystery is not a murder or even much in the way of violence. The "detective" is a rather staid solicitor and our ostensible hero, Inspector Grant, is a minor character at best. The story is both compelling and predictable, but all the more enjoyable for that. There's also a
Feb 16, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This is my first Josephine Tey book. Thanks to my Goodreads friend, Orinioco Womble, for recommending it! It is a mannered and very literate British mystery with entertaining characters. I loved the way it ended!

"The trouble with you, dear, is that you think of an angel of the Lord as a creature with wings, whereas he is probably a scruffy little man in a bowler hat."
Jul 11, 2016 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
This book is in a genre unto itself: nationalist mystery or maybe, conservative mystery, or imperialist mystery. One implies the others I suppose. This might be a common genre (common sense tells me it should be, because it would have sold well in that age), but this is the first book from the Golden Age of Mystery I have read that is so overtly vicious to liberalism and anti-imperialism. Coming from a country that was a British colony and from a century that recognises anti-imperialism for the ...more
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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
More about Josephine Tey...

Other Books in the Series

Inspector Alan Grant (6 books)
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  • A Shilling for Candles (Inspector Alan Grant, #2)
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“The trouble with you, dear, is that you think an angel of the Lord as a creature with wings, whereas he is probably a scruffy little man with a bowler hat.” 37 likes
“Lack of education," old Mrs. Sharpe said thoughtfully, "is an extraordinary handicap when one is being offensive. They had no resources at all.” 1 likes
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