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44 of 45 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The Man in the Queue, written in 1929, is amazingly undated.
The "Man in the Queue", by Josephine Tey, commences on London's West Side, where "Didn't You Know?", the hit musical, is in the last week of its run. Its newly famous star, Ray Marcable, who is London's darling, is leaving for America to seek even greater fame and fortune there. The show has been sold out for weeks, but there is a huge line (the queue...
Published on 13 April 1998

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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Not Tey's Best Effort
Tey's "The Man in the Queue" was published in 1929, and was the novel which introduced us to her amiable Scotland Yard sleuth Inspector Alan Grant.When a man in a theatre queue is stabbed to death, all the evidence points towards one man, and before long, Grant is in hot pursuit of his fleeing quarry. There's just one problem; in spite of overwhelming evidence to...
Published 7 months ago by DavyG


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44 of 45 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The Man in the Queue, written in 1929, is amazingly undated., 13 April 1998
By A Customer
This review is from: Man in the Queue (Paperback)
The "Man in the Queue", by Josephine Tey, commences on London's West Side, where "Didn't You Know?", the hit musical, is in the last week of its run. Its newly famous star, Ray Marcable, who is London's darling, is leaving for America to seek even greater fame and fortune there. The show has been sold out for weeks, but there is a huge line (the queue of the title) outside, waiting for a chance to get same day only seats for the show. The people in line have been waiting several hours, on the whole good-naturedly, but there is considerable pushing and shoving and re-aligning as the line finally begins to move forward. When a middle-aged woman reaches the ticket booth, she indignantly turns to say something to the man who is pushing hard against her back and is horrified when he falls to the ground dead with a silver dagger sticking out of his back. No one can say when the dead man was stabbed, for the crush of the crowd has supported and carried him forward for some time
When his body is examined by the police, the young man is revealed to be carrying no identification, and has no tags or marks in his clothes. The only item of interest is a service revolver in his pocket, with fingerprints on it that prove not to be the victim's. Inspector Grant of Scotland Yard is assigned the case and the remainder of the book is an absorbing police procedural documenting the painstaking process of his quest to discover first the victim's identity and then his murderer. The search truly does become a quest for Grant, who is moved by something in the face of the victim and angered by the anonymity and callousness of his end.
Although The Man in the Queue was written almost 70 years ago, in 1929, it has aged amazingly well and will not be read as a quaint period piece, even though the war that many of the male characters fought in and the female ones nursed in is The Great War, WWI. One reason for the lack of datedness in the book is the fact that although Tey was writing in the Golden Age of British mysteries, her novels are driven more by the personalities and motivations of her characters than by the tricky kind of puzzles that depend on timetables and exotic poisons. What causes people to commit evil acts is more interesting to her than merely naming a villain. In fact, the subtext of The Man in the Queue is the question of whether there is a villain in the story at all.
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9 of 9 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Very clever crime novel, 14 Nov. 2011
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Damaskcat (UK) - See all my reviews
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This is one of the most intriguing crime stories I've read. Alan Grant - Scotland Yard detective - is asked to investigate the death of a man in a theatre queue. The man has no identification on him and makers' labels have been cut from all his clothes except his tie.

The corpse has a revolver in his coat pocket and has been stabbed in the back with a small knife or dagger which could have been used as a letter opener. The only thing Grant knows about the killer is that he is left handed and has a cut on his thumb from a sharp piece of metal on the handle of the knife. From these unpromising beginnings the police have to find the killer.

This story kept me guessing - just as it did the police - yet when you look back the clues are there to be seen. All the characters come to life and the descriptions of events and places are very evocative. I like the police characters in Josephine Tey's novels and in contrast to many modern crime novels they actually like and get on with one another. I thought the undercover activities of the two police officers were well done too and made me laugh.

If you want to read classic crime novels written in the style of the Golden Age of detective fiction then Josephine Tey's Alan Grant novels are as good as they get.
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9 of 9 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Was the end a disappointment?, 12 Oct. 2010
This review is from: The Man In The Queue (Paperback)
Josephine Tey stands out among crime writers by her use of very normal and everyday explanations for her mysteries. I know of no better mystery writer or book that reminds me that the easily-overlooked and every day solutions are the ones that explain 90% of real life mysteries. Well done Josephine Tey. A disappointment? No, a refreshing blast of real life.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Classic golden age crime novel, 19 Nov. 2011
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Roman Clodia (London) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: The Man In The Queue (Paperback)
I love Josephine Tey for her sharp eye, fine writing, good characterisation and twisty-turny plots. This book is the first of the Inspector Grant series and while it doesn't quite have the same engrossing, disorienting quality of The Franchise Affair, it's still a superior example of the classic crime novel.

A man is stabbed while waiting in a London theatre queue - and soon Inspector Grant is caught is a fine muddle of the theatre, bookmakers, London landladies, men's outfitters and a trip to the Scottish highlands.

It has to be said that some of the early clues turn out to be red herrings that are quietly dropped (the lack of laundry marks on the victim's clothing?), and there is an audacious use of coincidences at which Tey herself pokes fun.
But for a compelling, fun read that will keep you guessing to the end, this is perfect.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Not Tey's Best Effort, 23 Oct. 2014
This review is from: The Man In The Queue (Paperback)
Tey's "The Man in the Queue" was published in 1929, and was the novel which introduced us to her amiable Scotland Yard sleuth Inspector Alan Grant.When a man in a theatre queue is stabbed to death, all the evidence points towards one man, and before long, Grant is in hot pursuit of his fleeing quarry. There's just one problem; in spite of overwhelming evidence to the contrary, Grant just can't rid himself of the nagging feeling that somehow, the police have got it all wrong...
Although I've read and reread other Tey novels over the years, I've just finished reading "The Man in the Queue" for the first time. It's written in that style of British "Golden Age" detective fiction which I so enjoy. This is more a battle of wits between a determined sleuth and a wily foe than a plod through a succession of damaged characters, gruesome slayings, revolting autopsy descriptions and boring forensic detail which seem to be the stock in trade of so many modern detective novelists. So it's got loads of period charm, but like Wimsey and Poirot, has aged well, and doesn't seem dated.
Throw in an intriguing plot, a good chase, plenty of humour and some nicely drawn characters, and as far as I'm concerned I should have been on to a surefire winner with this novel, and for most of its length, I was. Unfortunately, it all goes wrong in the final act. What should have been a great finale falls flat on its face in a hopelessly rushed and contrived fashion, which left me feeling deflated and a bit cheated. If this had been my first encounter with Josephine Tey, it's likely that I wouldn't have bothered to renew the acquaintance, which would have been unfortunate to say the least.
All in all then, an entertaining read which ultimately, lets itself and the reader down somewhat.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Good discovery, 3 Mar. 2013
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Good, well worked out plot. Have never read this author before but will certainly read more of her now, looking forward to doing so.
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5 of 6 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Golden Age Detective Fiction, 2 Jun. 2011
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This review is from: The Man In The Queue (Paperback)
This classic crime novel was written in 1929and was Josephine Tey's first novel which introduced her detective Inspector Alan Grant. A nameless man is found stabbed to death in the queue before a popular London play. Though surrounded by people, no one manages to see the murder. Grant painstakingly identifies the body, then chases his suspect to the Highlands of Scotland and all around the town.

The book is a good example of the golden age of detective fiction. At times the pace might seem a bit pedestrian but the characters are well drawn and there is a good twist at the end. I don't think this is the best of Josephine Tey's novels but it is stylishly written and well worth a read.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A very good Josephine Tey story, 7 Dec. 2012
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This review is from: The Man In The Queue (Paperback)
The author, Josephine Tey is one of my absolute favourits in detective story writing. This is a very good story, if not Josephine Teys' best
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3.0 out of 5 stars A bit of a creaky plot., 5 Mar. 2015
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This review is from: The Man In The Queue (Paperback)
This novel was written in 1929 and it is easy to imagine it as portrayed in a crackly black and white film with stock characters and stilted dialogue. It is notable for its basic plot outline. A man is stabbed in a queue in front of lots of people and nobody sees who did it. That's enough to keep the pages turning. Eventually you will be perhaps a little disappointed with the way she does not keep that initial curiosity satisfied but if you have any interest in the genre and perhaps have a nostalgia for the days of DL Sayers, Agatha Christie, Ngaio Marsh etc then this will be an interesting read.
I found the autopsy hilarious. Nowadays we would expect a skilled pathologist to give accurate details about the facts of the cadaver and how he met his demise, but this one is asked whether the deceased was intelligent and he replies by looking at the face and long distinguished fingers that he was of "the lost cause type - he had practical enough qualities in his face, but his hands were a dreamer's". The "Silent Witness" team have a lot to learn. So more of a curiosity than a gem.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The Man in the Queue, 30 Mar. 2013
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Josephine Tey is a great find. I like her characters, her descriptions and all the reminders of days gone by - the suspense is great because one cannot cheat by looking at the end with a Kindle .... well, not without a lot of page turning.
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The Man In The Queue
The Man In The Queue by Josephine Tey (Paperback - 3 Feb. 2011)
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