Friday, June 14, 2013

Josephine Tey

Josephine Tey is one of the pseudonym's used by Scottish writer Elizabeth Mackintosh. While caring for her invalid father she took to writing. The name Josephine Tey comes from her mother's first name and her grandmother's surname. There is not much known about Tey, but that has just added to her mystique. Her most famous character is Inspector Alan Grant, whose solving of the murder of the Princes in the tower in The Daughter of Time led to a renewed interest in Richard III. In 1990 this book was chosen as the greatest mystery novel of all time.

Unlike her contemporaries, Tey never resorted to formulas, but "to tell different sorts of story, in different ways." Yet her success did lead to other authors having a fascination with her. Agatha Christie supposedly based her character Muriel Wills in Three Act Tragedy on Tey to skewer her. While, more lovingly, Nicola Upson is currently writing a series of mysteries were Josephine Tey is the detective, much in the vein of J.J. Murphy and Dorothy Parker and Joanna Challis and Daphne Du Maurier. This enduring love of Tey has made "her place in the pantheon of mystery writers... unassailable."

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