Reading, or even re-reading, classic Golden Age crime fiction is a great way to relax and comfort yourself.
That’s particularly important right now, as the world’s a scary place and there’s a lot for us all to worry about.
While we can’t fix everything, we can find ways to make ourselves feel less trapped and make the world feel like a less frightening place to be.
If you’re thinking about re-reading some classic crime fiction, then Josephine Tey’s seminal novels might be among the first that spring to your mind.
The name is one of several pen names for the successful author, who also wrote a wide range of plays for radio, theatre, film and TV.
She only wrote a small number of crime fiction books, but they were incredibly popular and well received. As a result, Tey’s name is now listed alongside other major detective story titans of the Golden Age, most of whom wrote significantly larger back catalogues of crime fiction tales.
While you could reach for an old and worn out copy, sometimes it’s nice to have a new one with a stunning design.
Thanks to Penguin and it’s re-release of three of the most popular and intriguing of Tey’s stories, you can combine your love of traditional crime novels with your love of new books. In celebration of the world’s renewed interest in the author, who is being honoured with a blue plaque over her former home in Inverness and many other phenomenal accolades, Penguin has launched these new versions to give existing and new fans a great addition to their collections.
These three beautiful volumes depicts three beloved Inspector Alan Grant stories, and are designed with creative representations of the texts. Each one also comes with an exclusive introduction from a revered author, so you can get some new material and learn more about your favourite books from this amazing author.
Here’s a brief synopsis of each book and an overview of why you should check out Penguin’s new version.
The Daughter Of Time
Recently named the number 1 best crime novel of all time by the British Crime Writer’s Association, Tey’s amazing Inspector Grant novel combines a traditional police procedural with a historical exposé to create a unique piece of fiction that would inspire countless other authors, most notably Colin Dexter and his award-winning novel The Wench Is Dead. The Daughter Of Time sees Grant languishing in a hospital bed after an accident. With nothing to do and no motivation to read or learn, the intrepid and usually deeply curious policeman is left with nothing to occupy his mind until a close friend arrives with images of faces to tempt him to uncover the truth behind old mysteries.
Grant is intrigued by an old portrait of Richard III and starts to dig a little deeper into the life and many scandals of the crippled king who supposedly murdered two of his own nephews in cold blood. As he explores further, Grant learns more about the case and the man. Although the case is as cold as they come, he’s determined to find out more, taking the reader on a unique and unforgettable journey through British history.
This latest edition of the beloved classic from Josephine Tey is introduced by Alexander McCall Smith, who explores the timely rerelease of the book following the recent discovery of the remains of Richard III’s remains under a car park in Leicester. The informative introduction and bold cover design make this a great addition to any collection or an ideal way to start your obsession with this wonderful author.
To Love And Be Wise
Another Inspector Grant novel, To Love And Be Wise is gripping from the beginning. Grant is picking up his actress friend from a literary party in London where he meets a mysterious, handsome young American stranger. The young man is a friend of a friend of the nephew of an associate of the hosts- yes it’s convoluted!
Invited down to the small country village where most of the party lives, the photographer is a firm favourite with the ladies from the off, upsetting many of the local men and some of the matriarchs who had their eyes set on better matches for young female relatives.
Quickly, the young American assimilates himself into life in the country, and goes with his friend to complete a book about the local river. Their journey is a resounding success until the American disappears. Propelled by the higher-ups and the influence of his actress friend, Inspector Grant finds himself enmeshed in an unusual case.
There’s no body, and no telling if a crime actually occurred. But as Grant digs deeper he finds that the young American photographer had many secrets, and his motives for visiting Trimmings, the country manor where he was staying, might not have been as innocent as they first appeared. There’s a chilling twist that transforms the novel from basic police procedural into a full-blown gripping crime drama.
Introduced by Kate Mosse, the acclaimed novelist not, as I initially thought, the 90s supermodel with her name spelt wrong, this new edition also boasts a bold cover design featuring a smashed camera. It’s a great option for anyone who’s looking for a cute copy of this phenomenal novel. `
The Franchise Affair
Perhaps one of the most famous of Tey’s crime fiction novels, The Franchise Affair is the third in this selection of Inspector Alan Grant novels, featuring a truly unique problem. The owners of a house in the country, previously a beautiful manor and now a little run-down, are accused of abducting a young girl and forcing her to work as a domestic slave.
The girl runs away and her adopted parents are contacted, with Inspector Grant bought in to review the case against the women, which mostly hinges on local prejudice and hearsay, but with a few strange details included. The girl seems to have some inside knowledge of the property that seems to indicate she’s been in the house, but some of the details don’t quite ring true.
Grant quickly enters into the world of village gossip, prejudice and rumour, which leads him to question the truth in this unusual case. The twist is inventive and comes as a surprise to the reader, so you’ll always be on the edge of your seat throughout this original Golden Age detective story.
With a beautiful new cover design featuring an old fashioned car, this new design of the novel is the least easy to link to the story than the others, although the car does link to the plot eventually, but it is still gorgeous. Tana French introduces the book, and explores the real life case that inspired the novel and how the author turned the tale into an iconic crime fiction caper.
Whether you’re already a fan of Tey’s bold prose, complex plots and creative characterisation, or are a Golden Age crime fiction fan searching for a new favourite, these three redesigned classics are the perfect choice for you. Penguin has chosen three of the best of this renowned author’s books to redesign in a bold and beautiful way, and these three books will soon be an important fixture on every crime fiction fan’s bookshelf.