These dark times call for a change in reading habits, which is why I’ve switched from vicious thrillers to twee, calm crime fiction in an effort to keep my anxiety and fear at bay.
My latest foray into this, my favourite sub- genre of crime fiction, is The Franchise Affair, in which no murders take place. Instead, a complex plot involving abduction, arson and aggravation keeps the reader enthralled.
Written by Elizabeth MacKintosh and published under the pseudonym Josephine Tey, this intriguing novel gives us the perspective of Robert Blair, a local solicitor in a sleepy English town.
He’s going about his business as usual when he is drawn into a unique mystery: a young girl claims to have been abducted by Marion Sharpe and her mother, who live together in a large, isolated house called the Franchise.
The girl identifies the house and claims that she was held there as an unwilling domestic help and beaten into submission until she was able to flee in the middle of the night. Her dramatic story is unproven, but its reveal in the newspapers leads Blair and his new clients on an intense and strange journey.
I’m reading this incredible novel for the first time in an amazing edition from renowned luxury book publishers the Folio Society. This stunning cloth bound book looks like a present and reading it feels like a very decadent way to spend my time in lockdown.
Mark Smith gloriously illustrates this rich, fascinating novel about human nature. His gorgeous, colour images bring the story to life and show the characters as they were meant to be seen. For many, like me, it can be hard to envision these classic paragons of good taste and decorum, but the illustrations really bring them out of the page and into the light.
In all, this is a gorgeous edition of this classic, cosy crime novel. If you’re looking to treat yourself during social distancing and occupy your time by reading more, then check out the Folio Society’s extensive range of books.
The Folio Society edition of The Franchise Affair by Josephine Tey, introduced by Lady Antonia Fraser and illustrated by Mark Smith, is available exclusively from http://www.FolioSociety.com