Wednesday, October 2, 2013

To love and be wise

This Inspector Grant mystery was first published in 1950. Josephine Tey writes crime books with a difference. Her books are not the purely police procedural stories that many recent authors write. Her books are about places and the people living in those places plus the impact of a crime on the community.

In this book Inspector Grant attends a party where he meets an American photographer wanting an introduction to the nephew of one of the guests. After the introduction Leslie Searle is invited to stay at the family home in a village, Salcott St Mary, where he can meet the nephew, Walter. Much of the plot revolves around village life recently changed by an influx of artistic people who do not exactly blend in with the other villagers. It also examines not only the effect of Lealie Searle's arrival in the village but particularly the reaction of the occupants of 'Trimmings' to Searle.

Walter and Leslie decide to go on an expedition exploring the local river in order to collaborate on a book. Several days into the expedition they visit the hotel at Salcott St Mary for a drink. Walter leaves early leaving Leslie to return alone to the camp and Leslie is never seen again. Because this has the potential to be a high profile case, due to the personalities involved, Inspector Grant is asked by the local police to help with the investigation.

Written more than 60 years ago it is interesting to observe the methods of communication, including time delays, between the village and London and between London and the USA. It is also interesting to note how the use has changed of some words. This is a well constructed crime story with an unexpected twist at the end.

The University of Adelaide has digitised a number of Josephine Tey books making them available online as e-books -

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