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Brat Farrar Paperback – 7 Mar 2002


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Product details

  • Paperback: 288 pages
  • Publisher: Arrow; New edition edition (7 Mar 2002)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0099429470
  • ISBN-13: 978-0099429470
  • Product Dimensions: 11 x 1.7 x 17.8 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (44 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 1,246,345 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Review

"Suspense is achieved by unexpected twists and extremely competent story-telling-credible and convincing." (Spectator)

Book Description

A classic mystery from the Golden Age of detective fiction

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

20 of 21 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on 20 Sep 1998
Format: Paperback
Brat Farrar has everything a mystery should: a carefully-constructed plot, well-hidden but available clues, and an ending that wraps everything up without resorting to deux ex machina. The build-up to the "creation" of Pat Ashby -- the character the protagonist assumes in order to inherit an English estate -- is so thoughtfully described and developed, it was later referred to by Mary Stewart as the basis for her own character's deception in "The Ivy Tree."
All of these lead to a good mystery; what makes it a great mystery is the plethora of believable characters. The reader is invited to be part of a charming English village and becomes the champion of Brat as he works his way through a complicated identical-twin relationship to solve the hidden-secrets mystery in the end.
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19 of 20 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on 7 Mar 2002
Format: Paperback
A curious kind of detective story, with no detective for start. It's a lot more psychological than some of Josephine Tey's other books. It tells the story of a scam to win an inheritance which turns into a murder mystery, all within the understated, distinctly stiff-upper-lip confines of a horse-mad English family. I got a bit tired of the horses to be honest, but the characters are fascinating and their emotional complications convincing. Definitely worth a read.
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19 of 20 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on 5 April 1999
Format: Paperback
One of greatest tragedies in the world of mysteries is that Josephine Tey wrote so few. I've loved this book ever since I was a girl and found it on the shelf of my parent's library.
The book is populated by a number of likeable, believable characters (even the unlikeable characters are believable). The reader is compelled to keep reading by the interesting plot that keeps reveals new aspects of the story without seeming at all contrived.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By Dolphin TOP 100 REVIEWER on 9 Aug 2012
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
The first thing I noticed about this author is her incredible talent for rendering conversations. In fact her narrative is so dialogue-driven that her protagonist often has spirited and convincing exchanges with his inner self. Although written before 1949, the writing has a timeless quality, a very modern tightness, and I found the style very "easy on the ears" and thoroughly enjoyable. This book is unusual in that it draws the reader inside the story and invites you to unlock the mystery. The plot's plausibility is heavily dependent on a couple of unique coincidences but, once you accept the premise, everything else follows. In fact, for me the precariousness of the situation adds tension and, although the ending was not a huge surprise, the way all the loose ends are tied up is very satisfying.

Josephine Tey has deftly created some very likeable but complex characters: Brat is at once tough and vulnerable, an opportunist with a conscience. Simon is charming and cast as the victim but full of contradictions. Aunt Bee is typical of a generation of war-time women who had to be strong and unselfish for the sake of others. Each of the main characters is believably human, annoying at times, but always engaging. This book is perfectly suited for all ages, there is no gore, bad language, gratuitous sex or unsettling content and the adult subjects are masterfully handled. And, finally, horse enthusiasts will be happy to find that the substantial equestrian content is accurate and realistic and Tey's undisguised love of horses comes entirely devoid of saccharine.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Officer Dibble VINE VOICE on 7 Jun 2009
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Before picking up this novel I never expected that I would read it in one sitting. It is tremendous. Already worthy of a re-read, worthy of extensive study that made me realise it should be used as a school set text on a par with novels such as 'A Kestrel for a Knave'.

The main premise is similar to 'The Return of Martin Guerre' or 'Sommersby' except the returning soul is the teenager Brat coming home to a farm in the idyllic Sussex Downs. His twin knows from the start that Brat is fake but they agree an unholy 'spiritual twinship' of silence for mutual protection as everyone else accepts Brat to their bosom.

The writing is sublime evoking dreamy, idyllic post-War rural England compared to the 'forest of chimney pots' in London. Ms Tey writes succinctly and with wit. She displays topicality and constructs convincing relationships. There are some underlying adult themes which would have been risque in the late 1940's and do make it a novel for teenagers and adults.

This book was the classic case of expecting so little and being unexpectedly overwhelmed by its sheer quality.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Schneehase VINE VOICE on 2 May 2013
Format: Paperback
One of my favourite ever books is 'The Franchise Affair' and if you like the way Josephine Tey writes or if you're considering dipping a toe into her water (as it were!), I'd highly recommend that one too. Both 'The Franchise Affair' and 'Brat Farrar' are detective stories with no detective and very cleverly written too. In 'Brat Farrar' the eponymous hero is hired by an ageing actor to impersonate the heir to an estate who went missing, presumed drowned, eight years before. The actor wants Brat to pay him some of the money he will inherit so that the actor can retire comfortably off.
The problems that Brat has to overcome seem formidable; a close family including a twin brother being one of the most difficult and a whole village and countryside full of people who had known the missing boy from a baby. Brat would have to convince them all that he is the missing boy and if he can convince them, he will cut his 'twin brother' out of the inheritance that he's been looking forward to all these years.
Tey takes a long time to build up the story; introducing all the characters, giving background and interesting 'side-stories' on them all, describing the estate Brat finds himself inheriting and the horse-breeding and riding business that goes with it.
I find it fascinating that the reader knows right from the start that the imposter is just that, an imposter and think that, in these cases, the fascination comes with seeing how long he or she can keep up the pretence and what happens when he or she is caught out finally.
However, this is one of the best of that genre; the characters are believeable and likeable and I really wanted Brat to succeed and be happy in his stolen life.
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