Josephine Tey (1896–1952) was a Scottish writer of mystery novels. Five feature Scotland Yard Inspector Alan Grant, the rest a variety of Amateur Sleuths
Several of her novels have been adapted for film or television. A Shilling For Candles
was adapted (very loosely) as the Alfred Hitchcock
film Young and Innocent
Probably her most widely known novel is The Daughter of Time
, in which Inspector Grant, stuck in hospital with a broken leg, fends off boredom by re-investigating the historical case of the Princes in the Tower, concluding that Richard of Gloucester
wasn't the one who done it.
Works by Josephine Tey with their own trope pages include:
Other works by Josephine Tey provide examples of:
- Amateur Sleuth
- Beauty Equals Goodness: An overarching trope found in all her works, and based on her own strong belief in the truth of physiognomy.
- Blitz Evacuees: Betty Kane in The Franchise Affair
- Character Overlap: The lawyer Kevin Macdermott appears in both The Franchise Affair and Brat Farrar; The Franchise Affair also has Inspector Grant in a supporting role.
- Dead Person Impersonation: Brat Farrar has an interesting use of this trope, as it's about a young man who starts off as the malicious version, passing himself off as a member of a wealthy family who disappeared as a child, but then turns detective when he realizes that the boy he's pretending to be died and anyone not believing his charade is likely to be the murderer.
- Did You See That Too?: In Brat Farrar:
Astride the farther lion was a small boy clad in a leopard-skin rug with green baize edging, a seaside pail worn helmet-wise, and nothing else that was visible. A very long brass poker stood up lance-wise from its rest on his bare foot.
'It's all right,' Eleanor said. 'You did see it.'
'That comforts me quite a bit.'
- Doorstop Baby: The title character in Brat Farrar was left on the doorstep of an orphanage.
- Driven to Suicide: In The Singing Sands, the egocentric killer opts for a dramatic suicide and a long-winded suicide note to a Scotland Yard investigator, assuming that the murder has been a perfect murder that could not have been detected or proved and wanting to go out in a blaze of glory. Wrong on all counts, as it happened.
- Finally Found the Body: Brat Farrar revolves around the disappearance of Patrick Ashby, who left a suicide note but his body was not found. The body turns up near the end of the novel, many years later.
- Gut Feeling: Inspector Grant is a good instinctive judge of character.
- High-Class Glass: Great-Uncle Charles in Brat Farrar wears one, "in either eye, according to which hand Charles had free at the moment".
- Identical Stranger: In Brat Farrar, Brat's Dead Person Impersonation is inspired by the discovery that he bears a remarkable resemblance to Patrick Ashby. The orphan Brat discovers at the end of the novel that he's a lost relative, the son of the black sheep of the Ashby family.
- Identification by Dental Records: Brat Farrar this but eventually averts it. Brat doesn't have to deal with matching Patrick's dental history, as the dentist who could have recognized him died along with Patrick's parents, and his records were lost in a fire.
- Imaginary Love Triangle: In Brat Farrar, the protagonist's love interest has a romantically-inclined kid sister who tells him that she's going to marry somebody else — who turns out to be just an old friend, and already married.
- I'm Dying, Please Take My MacGuffin: In The Singing Sands, the MacGuffin is an unfinished sonnet, which the protagonist, who used to write sonnets in school, takes with him out of idle interest, then considers finishing as a gesture to the dead person; as he studies it, he realizes it is a code.
- The Killer Was Left-Handed: In The Man in the Queue, Inspector Grant spends a great deal of time deducing the handedness with which the killing blow was dealt, and then looking for someone who uses that hand, only to find out at the end that the killer is ambidextrous.
- Orphanage of Love: Mentioned in Brat Farrar:
It was a very good orphanage; a great deal happier than many a home he had seen in passing since. The children had loved it. They had wept when they left and had come back for visits; they had sent contributions to the funds; they had invited the staff to their marriages, and brought their subsequent children for the matron's approval. There was never a day when some old girl or boy was not cluttering up the front door.
- Present Day Past: Brat Farrar was published in 1949, and mentions British characters going on holiday to France eight years earlier — which, if the novel is also set in 1949, would be very bad timing.
- Psycho Lesbian: The killer in Miss Pym Disposes
- Romantic Two-Girl Friendship: Beau Nash and Mary Innes in Miss Pym Disposes
- Sibling Yin-Yang: Twin sisters Jane and Ruth in Brat Farrar
- Weather Report Narration: The opening of The Franchise Affair:
"It was four o'clock of a spring evening; and Robert Blair was thinking of going home."