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Discussion of Individual Books > The Daughter of Time by Josephine Tey

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message 1: by Werner (new)

Werner | 1014 comments Today, we start our common read of The Daughter of Time by Josephine Tey. Hopefully, we'll have a good amount of participation; for those concerned about the time commitment, it's a relatively short book, and looks as though it will be a quick read. (If you've already read it and can remember it well enough to discuss it --and I know several group members have read it, with varying reactions-- we value your input on this thread, too, even if you aren't reading it again!)

Tey, of course, was a distinguished writer of mysteries during what some consider the "Golden Age' of the genre between the World Wars. But here, in a departure from the usual conventions, the mystery her series detective Alan Grant purports to solve is a centuries-old one: the disappearance of the two little sons of King Edward IV from the Tower of London in the early 1480s, against the backdrop of the Wars of the Roses and the ascension of Edward's brother Richard III to the throne. Readers of Shakespeare's Richard III are familiar with the idea that Richard had the boys killed to remove competition, a theory popularized by the victorious Tudors after the Yorkist defeat, and given written form in Sir Thomas More's History of King Richard III (posthumously published in 1557). Hunchbacked, malevolent Richard is one of Shakespeare's most famous and consummate villains (Stevenson largely copies this portrait in The Black Arrow, our previous common read). Most professional historians down through the early 20th century uncritically accepted the More-Shakespeare view.

Practically from the beginning, however, More's hatchet job on Richard had its naysayers. Horace Walpole was far from the first, but became one of the best known; his Historic Doubts on the Life and Reign of King Richard III, along with More's work, is included with other helpful material in Richard III: The Great Debate, which would be an excellent background resource for reading Tey's book. (Another historical work that takes a pro-Richard position is The Monarchs of England by Jean Morris.)


message 2: by Rosemarie (new)

Rosemarie | 613 comments I have read the first chapter and really enjoy the way she writes. Poor Inspector Grant--what a way to get injured!


message 3: by Carol (new)

Carol | 133 comments I just finished another Tey book, and I am enjoying starting this one. She has quite a bit more humor in this one than the other one I read. I saw Richard III last year and I have read the play, and am fascinated by the story. They actually found his remains rather recently, and there is a society that is trying to clear his bad name. English history is so confusing to me, and I love the way Tey writes about it. This is a good group read!!


message 4: by Rosemarie (new)

Rosemarie | 613 comments I read the play in the spring in order to find out how Richard was portrayed. The final scenes of the play were very moving. Even though he was the villain of the play, he was by far the most memorable character too.


message 5: by Alicia (new)

Alicia Ehrhardt (aliciabutcherehrhardt) | 102 comments I love the description of the ceiling.


message 6: by Rosemarie (new)

Rosemarie | 613 comments I like the description of the two nurses as well, and their nicknames--The Midget and The Amazon, with The Midget being the stronger one.


message 7: by Werner (new)

Werner | 1014 comments Tey definitely has a well developed sense of droll humor. The description of the ceiling is a unique touch, and it's used deftly to bring out both the full measure of Grant's desperate boredom and the scope of his imagination and intellect. (If I were similarly laid up, I'd be making use of the opportunity to read; but Tey uses it as an opportunity of another sort --to skewer the various kinds of popular literature that dominated the mid-20th-century book trade.) Grant is also revealed as a man of very strong, very self-assured and often very unreasonable and unjustified opinions.

Several of our members have already read and reviewed this book. As a resource --and perhaps a stimulus, either in agreement or disagreement-- for our discussion, I'm taking the liberty of linking to their reviews here:

https://www.goodreads.com/review/show...

https://www.goodreads.com/review/show...

https://www.goodreads.com/review/show...

https://www.goodreads.com/review/show...


message 8: by Werner (new)

Werner | 1014 comments J. R. Tanner was actually an early 20th-century British historian, who wrote English Constitutional Conflicts of the Seventeenth Century, 1603-1689. But he wrote no history of England as a whole; the one in Tey's novel is a fictional representative of a type of historiography common enough both then and now.

The Rose of Raby by "Evelyn Payne-Ellis" is also an invention of Tey's, as was (probably) its author. But Cicely Neville was the subject of a 19th-century historical novel, Cicely; Or, the Rose of Raby, an Historical Novel ..., by Agnes Musgrave. I haven't read it, but I have read and can recommend a modern historical novel about Richard III, Richard III: The Last Plantagenet, by Michael Sidney Tyler-Whittle.

Wikipedia has an extensive write-up on The Daughter of Time here: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Dau... . (But like all Wikipedia entries for novels, parts of it may be spoilerish.)


message 9: by Carol (new)

Carol | 133 comments I am having difficulty with this book. Now, I remember I started it once before and never finished. But all the names and history is confusing to me, as an American. I am getting bored with it. I really like Josephine Tey, so I will try to carry on.


message 10: by Alicia (new)

Alicia Ehrhardt (aliciabutcherehrhardt) | 102 comments I read enough English history and literature before The Daughter of Time that it wasn't all that confusing - I didn't have trouble following Tey's arguments (via her detective). I remember thinking that if her research was correct, Richard III had (through Shakespeare writing in Tudor England) been accused later (for the convenience of the opposition) of crimes he did not commit.

I haven't looked at the suggested later scholarship that maybe there was more evidence than was presented to Grant. I thought the matter settled - in Richard's favor.

Such is the power of fiction. The novel was well-written and almost like investigating a current crime in its detail.


message 11: by Rosemarie (new)

Rosemarie | 613 comments When I was in Grade 9, in Ontario, the standard history textbook was called The British Epic, which dealt with all the kings and queens of England. Richard the third was around during the war of the Roses-York vs Lancaster. At the end of the war, Henry VII became king. He was the first Tudor. History was always one of my favourite subjects. I could never remember which was the white rose and which was the red.


message 12: by Carol (new)

Carol | 133 comments Does standard school history in Canada and Great Britain paint Richard as badly as Shakespeare did? I love Shakespeare and Richard III is one of my favorite plays. So, I have been very interested in the society in England that is trying to clear his name. I have been to England many times and I even picked up a tourist souvenir that has all the names of the kings and queens of England. The topic is of high interest to me. I think I should read a little bit more of the history before going back to Tey.


message 13: by Rosemarie (new)

Rosemarie | 613 comments The book we read as our group read, The Black Arrow, also deals with the Wars of the Roses. I recently read Richard the third as well, and the play is a very moving tragedy, but not historically accurate.
Of course, Shakespeare is not the only one to be creative with facts.
Many so-called biographies are selective of the use of facts to support their opinions, and what happens in movies is even more extreme.
I will give an example of the Iran hostage taking movie, which I haven't seen, in which Ken Taylor, the Canadian ambassador who was the main character in history, did not get a mention in the movie.


message 14: by Werner (new)

Werner | 1014 comments "Sir Cuthbert Oliphant" is another fictional historian invented by Tey, but one online source says that her purported quotes from him are actually taken verbatim from the writings of a real-life historian of medieval England, Sir Charles William Chadwick Oman. However, I haven't been able to verify that; the source didn't cite the writing(s).

Despite Carradine's speculation in Chapter 8, Paul Murray Kendall, the editor of Richard III: The Great Debate (!965), notes that the consensus of scholarship --at least, as of 1965-- was that More, not Cardinal Morton, actually did write The History of King Richard III. But it's also clear that it's not an eyewitness account, and that Morton was probably More's principle source of information. And given the fact that More's untitled (the title was added by More's nephew) posthumously published manuscript appears to be unfinished --it has blanks left in places in the text, for instance, that apparently were to be filled in later-- there's good reason to think More didn't intend it for publication in this form.

For those who have trouble keeping the names and relationships of the 15th-century personalities straight, at least one edition of The Daughter of Time has genealogies of both the Neville and Plantagenet families for that time period in the back. (The book by Morris that I mentioned above has a six-page genealogy of the English royal family(ies) from Alfred the Great to Elizabeth II.) Hopefully that might help! (Personally, I don't have a problem with this; but I'm a history major who's studied medieval and early modern British history in college.)


message 15: by Karen M (last edited Aug 04, 2016 05:04PM) (new)

Karen M | 41 comments I have the 1995 Simon & Schuster edition and it has the genealogies right in the front. I've only started reading today but I gather I will be glad the genealogies were included.

Note: I just Googled Richard III because I remember seeing something about his grave finally being located. His body had disappeared after he was killed in a battle and evidently no one was certain where he was buried until his grave was discovered. He has since been reburied in Leicester Cathedral after genetic testing proved it was Richard III remains. Seems kind of sad.


message 16: by Rosemarie (new)

Rosemarie | 613 comments I am enjoying the various visitors who come to Alan's hospital room, all bearing books. It is also interesting to listen to what they say about Richard the Third.
His Research Worker, Brent Carradine, adds a new element of fun and information, who has the time and the will to help Alan in his quest for knowledge about Richard through the use of primary sources.


message 17: by Alicia (new)

Alicia Ehrhardt (aliciabutcherehrhardt) | 102 comments Karen M wrote: "I have the 1995 Simon & Schuster edition and it has the genealogies right in the front. I've only started reading today but I gather I will be glad the genealogies were included.

Note: I just Goog..."


There was a very nice National Geographic article with great pictures about the discovery of King Richard III's bones - recommend it.


message 18: by Werner (new)

Werner | 1014 comments Alicia, do you have the date of the issue that article is in? The online databases here at the BC library don't turn it up in a search, for some reason, and I wasn't able to locate it by doing a manual search of the hard copies of the issues from January 2015 on, either.


message 19: by Karen M (new)

Karen M | 41 comments Thanks Alicia. Going to my favorite online bloodhound, I googled National Geographic Richard III and a number of their online magazine articles came up. I'm enjoying reading them.


message 20: by Alicia (new)

Alicia Ehrhardt (aliciabutcherehrhardt) | 102 comments Werner wrote: "Alicia, do you have the date of the issue that article is in? The online databases here at the BC library don't turn it up in a search, for some reason, and I wasn't able to locate it by doing a ma..."

http://news.nationalgeographic.com/ne...

came up when I typed in National Geographic Richard III. I remembered they found his skeleton when they were building a parking lot.

Enjoy reading - it was fascinating. We used to get NG every month - my grandmother, in Mexico in the 1960s, got me started reading it. We got a subscription starting in 1975 when we got married. I kept them ALL, used a few for homeschooling the kids (not nearly as many as the space they took in the house would have justified), and we donated them all to the library Friends sale years ago.

Such lovely quality - but we're downsizing bit by big. I just realized husband didn't even renew the subscription this past year.

We have so much reading material - and I'm starting to be interested only in that which contributes to my writing (lack of time and energy for more). It was part of a good education - and times are changing.


message 21: by Rosemarie (new)

Rosemarie | 613 comments I have just finished the book and especially liked some of the comments about certain historians and lack of common sense. Most historians are conscientious researchers and take their work seriously, but there are also those who write for sensation only.
The combination of history and the progress of Grant's recovery, including his various visitors, was handled well. I enjoyed the book, again, and I really like Brent Carradine. When he asked Grant what they would find at Greenwich, he didn't perk up until he heard about the pub. I also enjoyed the various examples of Tonypandy.


message 22: by Karen M (new)

Karen M | 41 comments MiddleSister wrote: "Karen M wrote: "I have the 1995 Simon & Schuster edition and it has the genealogies right in the front. I've only started reading today but I gather I will be glad the genealogies were included.

N..."


Mine must have the same forward. I thought he was rather insulting when he said that Tey wrote very different mysteries with each book unlike Dame Agatha and Ngaio Marsh. No need to bash another author to prove your point.


message 23: by Werner (new)

Werner | 1014 comments Here are some more links to Wikipedia articles that provide worthwhile background information information on the Princes in the Tower and their disappearance:

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Edward_...

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dominic...

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Henry_S...


message 24: by Rosemarie (new)

Rosemarie | 613 comments Grant got injured while chasing a burglar(?) and fell through a trapdoor. I think it was the kind that were built in walkways to access the lowere level of a store or warehouse, which are almost always closed. The felon didn't get away, some one got him.


message 25: by Rosemarie (new)

Rosemarie | 613 comments It is not wise to praise an author by putting down other authors. I am sure that Josephine Tey would not have approved of any critic, scholar, etc using thzt method to praise her writing.
Dorothy Sayers, Ngaio Marsh, Agatha Christie and Josephine Tey all wrote wonderful mysteries, each in her own way.


message 26: by Alicia (new)

Alicia Ehrhardt (aliciabutcherehrhardt) | 102 comments Rosemarie wrote: "It is not wise to praise an author by putting down other authors. I am sure that Josephine Tey would not have approved of any critic, scholar, etc using thzt method to praise her writing.
Dorothy ..."


Which is why they are still read. I'm going through Gaudy Night, and have an Agatha Christie I haven't read on my Kindle.

It used to be, when I went through an airport, with the limited choices available there to choose from in their stores, I'd always end up with an Agatha Christie paperback, even if I'd already read it. The other ones were not as attractive.

But then I read an awful lot of British mysteries.


message 27: by Rosemarie (new)

Rosemarie | 613 comments Alicia, nothing wrong with that.


message 28: by Werner (last edited Aug 09, 2016 04:50AM) (new)

Werner | 1014 comments I finished the book yesterday, and gave it four stars; I was pleasantly surprised by how much I liked it, and how much I actually learned from it (and from the background studying that it inspired me to do). Here's the link to my review: https://www.goodreads.com/review/show... .


message 29: by Karen M (last edited Aug 10, 2016 03:12PM) (new)

Karen M | 41 comments Nice, well thought out review Werner.

(view spoiler)


message 30: by Werner (new)

Werner | 1014 comments Thanks, Karen!


message 31: by Oksana (new)

Oksana | 128 comments I was wondering about Tonypandy riots. Was there any truth in what Grant was saying? I read an article on Wikipedia but it does not clarify the matter. Did anyone read anything about Tonypandy or also called Rhonnda riots?


message 32: by Rosemarie (last edited Aug 11, 2016 12:33PM) (new)

Rosemarie | 613 comments I scanned the article in Wikipedia, and from what I gather there was only one fatality, and it didn't state how he died. I know that the mine owners throughout the British Isles, and elsewhere, cared little about the welfare of the miners, and all about the profits.
There is a wonderful novel about British miners called The Stars Look Down by A.J. Cronin.


message 33: by Oksana (new)

Oksana | 128 comments Thank you, Rosemarie! I read The Stars Look Down in translation when I was a teenager. Maybe it is time to reread it in original!


message 34: by Karen M (new)

Karen M | 41 comments I found an interesting BBC article about Winston Churchill and the Tonypandy riots.

http://www.bbc.com/news/uk-wales-sout...


message 35: by Oksana (new)

Oksana | 128 comments Interesting article. Thank you , Karen.


message 36: by Karen M (new)

Karen M | 41 comments Oksana wrote: "Interesting article. Thank you , Karen."

Your welcome!


message 37: by Werner (new)

Werner | 1014 comments It's been quite awhile since I've had a chance to get back to this discussion (though I've still been thinking about it in the interval)!

One source for the "rumors" of the Tower Princes' death in late August/early September, 1483, that Tey doesn't mention is the contemporary document by Dominic Mancini (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dominic... ), which was re-discovered in a French library in 1934. My college British history teacher touted this as a straightforward account by an impartial Italian "visitor," which proved the total innocence of Henry VII, and strongly suggested Richard's guilt. Even back then, I didn't believe in the latter; but the Mancini "evidence" made me support the theory (considered the most probable explanation by Jean Morris, and adopted by Michael Sidney Tyler-Whittle in his novel Richard III: The Last Plantagenet) that the culprit was the Duke of Buckingham. (He also had Plantagenet blood, being descended from Thomas, Duke of Woodstock, the youngest son of Edward III.)

However, the digging this read inspired me to do revealed that the Mancini "evidence" isn't exactly the magic bullet my teacher depicted it as. Though Italian, Mancini was in England as an agent (a.k.a., spy) for the French king's counselor, Archbishop Angelo Cato; and the touted document unearthed in 1934 was in fact an official report to that worthy. The French government was of course harboring the future Henry VII at the time, and had a policy of encouraging Lancastrian revolts in order to weaken England (and the French royal family had a Lancastrian connection through Henry V, who married the French king's sister Catherine --by her second marriage, she was the grandmother of Henry VII). Both the circumstances and content of the report strongly suggest that it was deliberately slanted to support the narrative the French government wanted, and that it's of a piece with the other "rumors" funneled to France that Tey did mention and discredit. That discovery, coupled with the facts that there's no objective support for the Buckingham theory (he didn't have access to the boys, and was in western England when they were supposedly murdered), and that the objective evidence of the princes' deaths in 1483, that would have been produced if in fact they weren't alive, simply doesn't exist, puts the ball squarely back in Henry's court.


message 38: by Alicia (new)

Alicia Ehrhardt (aliciabutcherehrhardt) | 102 comments Werner wrote: "It's been quite awhile since I've had a chance to get back to this discussion (though I've still been thinking about it in the interval)!

One source for the "rumors" of the Tower Princes' death in..."


Good to know. Just because something is old and survived doesn't make it any less biased.


message 39: by Karen M (new)

Karen M | 41 comments Very ironic that the rumors of Richard III involvement with the death of the little princes was perpetuated in a play by Shakespeare whose own authorship is questioned by rumors of Marlowe having actually written what is credited to Shakespeare.


message 40: by Rosemarie (new)

Rosemarie | 613 comments Good point, Karen.


message 41: by Karen M (last edited Aug 28, 2016 04:58PM) (new)

Karen M | 41 comments Ajk77 wrote: "I think current history book views on Richard III would be more nuanced than those presented in the book.

On the other hand, Tey suggests that Richard III possibly wasn't a hunchback at all, whic..."


Scoliosis is a sideways curvature of the spine. One shoulder higher than the other which would be very noticeable but not a hunchback. It can be very painful if not treated and the possibly of treatment back then was probably nil. So it would have likely been very painful for him to ride and wield a weapon.

Note: My information on scoliosis comes from the Mayo Clinic


message 42: by Werner (new)

Werner | 1014 comments Physical deformity, of course, has nothing to do with moral deformity, even though medieval and early modern propagandists often suggested that they went hand in hand. As far as shedding any light on the fate of his nephews goes, Richard's scoliosis is pretty much a non-issue,

Interestingly, while the 2002 edition of World Book Encyclopedia notes that "some scholars" believe Richard was responsible for the boy's murder, it concludes that "no proof of such a crime exists." Univ. of Kentucky historian Robert Warth, in the 1998 edition of Encyclopedia Americana, also describes the evidence as "lacking." He refers to the More-Shakespeare portrayal of Richard as a "legend...permanently enshrined in popular tradition."


message 43: by Elizabeth A.G. (new)

Elizabeth A.G. | 20 comments Having recently joined this group, I am about a year behind you in reading The Daughter of Time by Josephine Tey. Better late than never and especially with this book.

My review: https://www.goodreads.com/review/show...


message 44: by Rosemarie (new)

Rosemarie | 613 comments Great review, Elizabeth!


message 45: by Elizabeth A.G. (new)

Elizabeth A.G. | 20 comments Rosemarie wrote: "Great review, Elizabeth!"

Thanks, Rosemarie --


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