So my book of the month selection this go round is The Daughter of Time by Josephine Tey, who was one of the more celebrated mystery writers of the twentieth century. The book was first recommended to me a few years ago by my friend Peter Hitchens, and I just recently got around to reading it. The book is an exercise in historical revisionism (the good kind) under the guise of a detective story, kinda. It is a book that is certain to be enjoyed, savored, and relished by history geeks.
The setup is that one of Tey’s detective heroes, a Scotland Yard detective named Grant, is laid up in the hospital with nothing to stare at but the ceiling. He is bored to tears, and through a series of odd circumstances he gets sucked into an attempt to crack the ultimate cold case — the villainy of Richard III (the “my kingdom for a horse” guy). The established narrative is that he murdered his two nephews in order to secure the throne for himself, and Grant sets himself to prove that he did nothing of the kind, and that he was one of history’s nobler characters and not, as they say over in England, a skunk.
I will not complete the spoiler by telling you who the villain really was, but I am willing to tell you that it wasn’t Richard. A highly entertaining read, although it is a bit of a logical and historical crossword puzzle. Like I said, history geeks will love it.