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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Hitchcock filmed this book
A 1930s whodunit from an excellent author, it was filmed in 1937, shortly after publication, by Alfred Hitchcock. Is the film like the book? Hitchcock makes two minor characters his leads, relegates Joesphine Tey's main character, the police inspector, to a minor part and even reveals the murderer as different from the original. In effect he uses only the first couple of...
Published on 12 April 2010 by Perry

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18 of 21 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Fallen star, drowned at sea
"The last legacy of all read, 'To my brother Herbert, a shilling for candles.'"

- from the last will and testament of Christine Clay, herein

The unusual title comes from a still more unusual clause in the last will and testament of superstar actress Christine Clay - an enigmatic legacy to her estranged brother. Clay worked her way up from nothing,...
Published on 28 May 2006 by Michele L. Worley


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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Hitchcock filmed this book, 12 April 2010
By 
This review is from: A Shilling For Candles (Paperback)
A 1930s whodunit from an excellent author, it was filmed in 1937, shortly after publication, by Alfred Hitchcock. Is the film like the book? Hitchcock makes two minor characters his leads, relegates Joesphine Tey's main character, the police inspector, to a minor part and even reveals the murderer as different from the original. In effect he uses only the first couple of chapters and discards the rest. Young and Innocent (The Girl Was Young in the U.S.) is one of his best British films, introducing murder into the sunlit atmosphere of a pre-war seaside summer. Both book and film are equally enjoyable in their own way, and well worth the effort of tracking down.
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21 of 24 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Tey at Her Best, 6 Jun 2011
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This is Josephine Tey at her best. The action revolves around the disappearance of Leslie Searle a good looking young American photographer. Following a chance meeting at a party Searle is invited to stay in Salcott a village with an artists colony. He and Walter Whitmore a radio commentator set off on a canoe trip on the local river. Halfway through the trip Searle disappears without trace.

Inspector Alan Grant of Sctland Yard arrives to investigate. It is not unfamiliar territory for him as he has already met Searle briefly and Marta Hallard, an actress friend, has a house in the village. The theories surrounding Searle's disappearance are numerous. Did he drown accidentally, had he been murdered or kidnapped, or had he just disappeared of his own free will? Murder suspects are many. Grant eventually solves the case using considerable intuition as well as his detective skills. I enjoyed this book as much for the characters and setting as for the plot though the twist at the end is excellent. As always with Tey there is great elegance in the construction and writing of the novel.
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13 of 15 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Golden Age Detective Fiction, 28 Aug 2011
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This review is from: A Shilling For Candles (Kindle Edition)
A body found dead on a Kent beach turns out to be that of a famous actress Christine Clay. At first it is assumed to be a tragic accident or even suicide. However, a button twisted in her hair leads to suspicion of murder and Inspector Alan Grant of Scotland Yard is called in to investigate.

There are plenty of suspects including Robert Tisdall, a homeless young man, who had been staying with Christine at a cottage near the beach. He had recently squandered a fortune and taking pity on his situation Christine had offered him accommodation. However, when he is named as a beneficiary in her will, he goes to the top of Grant's suspect list. Other suspects include the victim's brother and her titled husband.

As ever with Tey there are plenty of interesting characters including an astrologer and the actress Marta Hallard who appears in other Tey books. A most delightful character is Erica Burgoyne the local Chief Constable's 17 year old daughter who plays a part in identifying the coat from which the button came.

The action moves at a good pace and there are many twists and turns. The identity of the murderer certainly surprised me and Tey is on top form with this mystery.
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18 of 21 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Fallen star, drowned at sea, 28 May 2006
By 
Michele L. Worley (Kingdom of the Mouse, United States) - See all my reviews
"The last legacy of all read, 'To my brother Herbert, a shilling for candles.'"

- from the last will and testament of Christine Clay, herein

The unusual title comes from a still more unusual clause in the last will and testament of superstar actress Christine Clay - an enigmatic legacy to her estranged brother. Clay worked her way up from nothing, with a mother who spoiled her brother rotten while having all kinds of excuses why Christine couldn't have proper schooling. Christine managed to escape to the life of the stage; her rise was so rapid that when she married a wealthy man with a title, she was considered to have made a catch, but within a couple of years *he* was thought of as 'Christine Clay's husband'. (Her background, gradually uncovered by police investigation, is enough to support a story in itself.) Now she has been found drowned at the lonely seaside place she was visiting incognito, and a youngster who seems like a stereotypical victim of circumstances is on the run, suspected of her murder for what seems like an inadequate motive. And given the brilliance of Christine Clay's shining star, why was she alone on holiday, with neither a court of hangers-on nor her husband?

Grant carries part of the story's action during his investigation, but Tey isn't shackled to a stylistic formula. Erica, the local Chief Constable's 16-year-old daughter, wades in where angels fear to tread, and generally assists Robin Tisdall, one of the chief suspects, to stay out of police custody while the police try to find out how Christine died. (This last provides an excuse for several mildly entertaining bit-part characters to appear, so I can live with it in the name of entertainment.)

A few too many plots getting in the way of the story, and could've used better editing to work as a book. I think it works better as a performance on the audio edition than it does on the page. As always when Stephen Thorne is the reader, the audio edition is performed well.

Elizabeth Mackintosh ("Josephine Tey" was a pseudonym) was primarily a playwright; she only produced 8 mystery novels altogether, 7 featuring Grant. Incidentally, she used yet another pseudonym, "Gordon Daviot", as both a playwright and for the original publication of many of her books. A SHILLING FOR CANDLES (1936) was Mackintosh's 2nd mystery novel, with an emphasis on 'novel' rather than 'who done it?' Tey isn't particularly interested in playing fair with the reader here, but I personally can live with that since the book works as a story. (I've taken off points for it, and for some issues with the story construction, but on the whole it's enjoyable, so the audio edition is worth having.)
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A Brilliant Mystery, 8 Dec 2011
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This review is from: To Love And Be Wise (Paperback)
Inspector Alan Grant meets American photographer Leslie Searle at a party his close friend, actress Marta Hallard, has invited him to, to celebrate the launch of her country neighbour's latest bestseller. Searle asks to be introduced to the author, and so it comes about that the good-looking young man is invited down to Salcott St Mary village, where author, actress and other notables live when not in London or other cosmopolitan places. The next time Grant comes across Searle's name is when he is called down to Salcott to investigate his disappearance.
Searle has been causing a few waves amongst the locals during his stay yet there are precious little clues as to his whereabouts, and as yet, no body. The river running through Salcott is notoriously greedy in giving up its victims. But even so, Grant's famous perception is prickling. It's too neat, somehow, this situation, too devoid of any clues or answers.
He will set himself to discover just what happened to Leslie Searle on that fateful night, and why, with his usual flair and quiet intelligence, plus the assistance of Sergeant Williams and the lovely, unassuming Marta at her Mill House.

'To Love And Be Wise' is another great mystery featuring Inspector Grant, with plenty of suspense, character play, very clever hidden clues and a great denouement, all delivered in Josephine Tey's wonderfully readable style. What a shame she didn't write more books before she left us!
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Satisfying mystery, 2 Oct 2011
By 
Damaskcat (UK) - See all my reviews
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My introduction to Josephine Tey's novels was through The Daughter Of Time way back in the 1960s. It is only recently that I've started reading her other novels and I am finding them to be every bit as good as that one. This novel includes Marta Hallard - an actress friend of Alan Grant, the Scotland Yard Detective Inspector who both featured in `The Daughter of Time'.

Leslie Searle, an American photographer, has made a trip to the UK to look up Walter Whitmore as a mutual friend of theirs has died. They become friends and agree to collaborate on a book about a canoe trip down a local river. But Leslie disappears immediately after a public disagreement with Walter and because of the proximity of the river he is feared drowned.

The local police are stumped and Grant is quickly called in to investigate. Right from the start he feels there is something he is missing. The plot is fascinating and presents readers with a great many red herrings as well as a substantial number of clues. The local community with its high proportion of people involved in the arts is well described though not always flattering language. I thought all the characters were well drawn - Liz, Walter's fiancée, Lavinia Fitch and author and Aunt to Walter Whitmore as well as Leslie Searle himself.

If you like your crime with well drawn characters and a complex plot and detectives who are something out of the ordinary then give Josephine Tey's novels a try. They can be read in any order but the first one featuring Alan Grant was The Man In The Queue
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Character and crime, 31 May 2011
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Damaskcat (UK) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Miss Pym Disposes (Kindle Edition)
I read this author's The Daughter of Time many years ago but have not read any of her other books. I thought it was about time I rectified this situation and chose Miss Pym Disposes to start with. It is a novel of character and the crime does not take place until relatively close to the end of the book. Lucy Pym - former school teacher - has written a bestselling book on psychology. Her old friend, Henrietta, now head of Leys Physical Training College, asks her to give a lecture to her students and stay for a few days.

Lucy originally intends to return home after the weekend but something keeps her there. The college interests her as do the students and staff. She watches the students practicing their gymnastics read for the end of term demonstration and is captivated. She agrees to stay until after the demonstration. Lucy is asked in invigilate at one of the final examinations and that is where the trouble starts.

The book is a study of character as much as a crime novel. Some modern readers may find the book slow and boring. But I found it interesting, raising as it does some profound questions about crime and punishment and the concealment of crime. The events of the last section of the book cause Lucy to question her own ability to read people's character from their faces and to question the nature of her own friendship with Henrietta.

The book is full of amusing comments and of Miss Pym's well developed sense of the ridiculous. I liked the characters of the students - Innes, brilliant in both theory and practice, Rouse - brilliant at physical activities but struggling with the theory, Nash - nicknamed Beau, rich and beautiful but not spoilt, the girl from Brazil - nicknamed the Nut Tart - who sees everyone for what they are but is liked by everyone including Lucy. A very enjoyable read.
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22 of 26 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Loose Change, 26 Aug 1998
By A Customer
This review is from: A Shilling for Candles (Paperback)
Tey is a brilliant writer of character studies, with her strength lying in her portrayals of younger women and girls. Unlike her later mysteries though, "Candles" has one of the weakest endings in the entire genre of mystery writing. Still, the characters are so brilliantly drawn, it is just plain fun to read about them. After the first five chapters, the mystery becomes immaterial though. For stronger mystery writing, Tey's 'Brat Farrar' or 'Daughter of Time' would be the ones to read. 'A Shilling for Candles' would come at the bottom of the Tey listing, I'm afraid.
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10 of 12 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Brilliant psychological detective story set in closed all-female community, 20 May 2008
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This review is from: Miss Pym Disposes (Paperback)
Fortyish Miss Pym has written a popular psychology book and is invited to lecture at a women's physical training college run by her old school friend. She stays for a couple of weeks as an honorary staff member and becomes involved in the lives of the students. Then an unpopular girl is found fatally injured... The "closed community" background makes this more of a novel than a mystery. One of Tey's best, and based on her experience in institutions and the theatre.
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9 of 11 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars An intelligent whodunit, 5 July 2011
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This review is from: Miss Pym Disposes (Paperback)
Josephine Tey is a wonderful writer. A sharp, clear and intelligent style.
She introduces Miss Pym in a few pages, but we feel we have always known her. Set in the 1940's, a middle aged and overlooked spinster becomes famous by writing a book.
She is invited by an old and much admired friend to lecture to the students at a college of physical training. She becomes involved in the life of the college and in a totally unexpected crime. She solves the mystery but there is a moral dilemma.
I was most struck by the way the students are treated- they are late teens early twenties, but are seen as children by their teachers.
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A Shilling For Candles
A Shilling For Candles by Josephine Tey
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