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Creator / Josephine Tey

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Josephine Tey (real name Elizabeth MacKintosh, 25 July 1896 – 13 February 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 III 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. A Shilling for Candles and Brat Farrar are set in the same part of Kent, and share some family names if not individual characters.
  • 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.
  • Gut Feeling: Inspector Grant is a good instinctive judge of character.
  • 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.
  • Innocent Blue Eyes: Inverted in The Franchise Affair, in which Betty's eyes are a particular shade of blue that "proves" she's oversexed.
  • 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.
  • Mama Bear: In The Man in the Queue, the murderer finds out that her daughter's jealous ex-boyfriend is planning an If I Can't Have You… murder, and kills him before he gets the chance.
  • Non-Protagonist Resolver: Inspector Grant is an impressive cop, but on several occasions, he fails to solve a case on his own.
    • In The Man in the Queue, Grant arrests an innocent man, albeit for understandable reasons, and is reluctantly prepared to ignore his Gut Feeling that the suspect is telling the truth when the real culprit turns herself in and confesses.
    • In A Shilling for Candles, he only solves the case because of a magazine article where the author jokingly suggests both the killer and the right motive.
    • In The Franchise Affair, Grant is only a secondary character (and a Sympathetic Inspector Antagonist) but neither he nor the Crusading Lawyer for the innocent people Grant reluctantly arrests based on false evidence solves the case. Instead, a witness reads about it in the paper and comes forward to expose a lying accuser at the last minute.
  • Offscreen Breakup: Late in ''The Franchise Affair', the protagonist's cousin and law partner breaks up with his frequently mentioned, but never seen, fiancée due to an argument about how she and her father believe the villain's frame job.
  • Psycho Lesbian: The killer in Miss Pym Disposes
  • Weather Report Opening: The Franchise Affair starts with:
    "It was four o'clock of a spring evening; and Robert Blair was thinking of going home."