It’s comforting to say that a particular book is an author’s best – particularly when few well-read people are likely to gainsay you. So, without hesitation, let’s say that The Franchise Affair is Josephine Tey’s best book – and that in a career studded with many literary triumphs. Interestingly, this much-loved crime novel doesn’t actually contain a murder – though Tey gets away with the omission swimmingly. However, other Tey books have great distinction – such as The Daughter of Time and Miss Pym Disposes. Continuing The Folio Society’s celebrated Josephine Tey collection, beautifully bound new editions have appeared, illustrated by award-winning artist Mark Smith with bindings in the series style. As well as brilliantly conveying a sense of time and place, Smith cleverly uses unusual angles, ominous shadows and body language to bring a hint of menace to these thrilling novels. In The Daughter of Time, Inspector Alan Grant is recuperating in hospital after an accident when he chances upon a portrait of Richard III amongst his bedside reading. Grant’s experience as a detective has given him an uncanny ability to spot a criminal from their looks and demeanour, and he is unconvinced that the noble, sensitive face looking back at him is that of a man capable of ordering the murder of his small nephews. Intrigued, Grant launches an investigation from his bedside, determined to prove Richard’s innocence or guilt. Historian Alison Weir looks at the impact the novel has had on the debate surrounding Richard III, noting that it reached a far greater audience than any history book, helping to form opinions and inspire research for decades. Tey drew on her own education and time as a teacher for Miss Pym Disposes. Bestselling author Lucy Pym is initially thrilled to be invited to lecture at Leys Physical Training college. The girls are eager to learn about psychology, her pet subject, and she finds herself inspired by their discipline, humour and determination. However, a tragic accident in the gymnasium reveals a darker side to the school, and unexpectedly Miss Pym finds she must draw on her psychological expertise to trace who, of all these wholesome girls, has violence in her mind.
The Folio Society editions of Josephine Tey’s The Daughter of Time and Miss Pym Disposes, illustrated by Mark Smith, are available exclusively from www.FolioSociety.com