When Brat Farrar is approached in the street to impersonate Patrick Ashby, who is believed to have committed suicide eight years previously, he initially refuses but eventually agrees to the plan. After extensive coaching he is ready to meet the Ashby family and claim the inheritance as the eldest son instead of his 'twin brother, Simon'. Much of the book describes the reactions of family and friends to the return of Patrick. Fortunately Brat loves horses as the family property is a horse stud and this makes it easier for him to fit into the family routine. However Simon does not hide his mistrust of Brat and the longer Brat stays with the family he realises that he is in danger. This story of suspense is also about acceptance and being part of a family. As usual Josephine Tey tells the story through the lives of her characters as well as the twists and turns of the plot.
Brat Farrar was first published in 1949. It was the basis for a gothic film, Paranoiac (1963), and later was filmed for BBC television in 1986.