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The Franchise Affair Paperback – 6 Aug 2009

4.3 out of 5 stars 89 customer reviews

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Product details

  • Paperback: 288 pages
  • Publisher: Arrow; First Thus edition (6 Aug. 2009)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0099536838
  • ISBN-13: 978-0099536833
  • Product Dimensions: 12.9 x 1.9 x 19.7 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (89 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 61,933 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Product Description

Review

"First-rate mystery, ably plotted and beautifully written" (Los Angeles Times)

"Permanent classics in the detective field ... no superlatives are adequate" (New York Times)

"Josephine Tey has always been absolutely reliable in producing original and mysterious plots with interesting characters and unguessable endings" (The Spectator)

Book Description

A classic mystery from the Golden Age of detective fiction.

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Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Paperback
This is about as perfect an English mystery story that you can imagine. Elegantly written, intriguingly plotted and an immensely satisfying denouement. Robert Blair is a quiet, professional, country solicitor in a quiet, sleepy, English country town until a phone call from a lady in trouble turns his live upside down. The beauty is that it doesn't turn him upside down. He remains Robert the dependable solicitor throughout, just caught up with a serious crime and new passion which makes him take stock of his way of life. Each character is fully drawn, utterly believable and for the most part warm and engaging, with the exception of the criminals of course, who you don't want to like anyway.

Tey's skill shines through in her reflection of English society, in her passion for the study of faces and ultimately in her force of will which means that the mystery, rather than sub-plots or socially commentary, remains paramount at all times. Yet she doesn't need multiple murders or gratuitous volience or complicated plot swings to keep the reader's interest or to keep the plot moving. Scraps of evidence emerge not by chance but as the result of hard detective work and acute observation. An easy and engaging read, this is the perfect way to spend an enjoyable lazy afternoon.
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By A Customer on 7 Jan. 2005
Format: Paperback
I saw the film of The Franchise Affair years ago, but have only just tracked down the book. It is, as others have pointed out, an unusual detective story, not having to resort to multiple murders to grab the reader's attention. The pace is deceptively leisurely, very much reflecting the characterisation of the solicitor turned amateur sleuth at the centre of the novel, but I still found it highly compelling. I liked the way the little snatches of evidence appeared, sometimes in favour of the victim and sometimes in favour of the accused, which kept the whole thing very finely balanced. I also very much appreciated the fact that we, as readers, were kept utterly in the dark about the existence and testimony of the last witness; when the final revelations were made, it was as much of a surprise to me as to the assembled court-room. Tey writes extremely well, and I am now on the look-out for other books by her.
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Format: Paperback
I first read this as a teenager and was a little underwhelmed: I don't think I really appreciated the rarity of good writing then or the subtle nuances of character which Tey conveys so well. Re-reading it now, I loved this book. It is, undoubtedly, of its time: published in 1949 in conveys a slightly snobbish attitude to the `lower classes' who are either demonised (Betty Kane and her mother) or sentimentalised (Stanley). But leaving that aside, this is a really fun and intriguing mystery.

Robert Blair, a staid solicitor, is drawn into a case involving the odd Sharpe women, mother and daughter, who live alone in their house named The Franchise when they are accused of kidnapping and beating a young teenager. No-one quite believes the story until the girl is brought face-to-face with the Sharpes and reveals details about the house and the room where she was supposedly held that a stranger could not know. But Blair believes the Sharpes are innocent and sets out to prove his case - against all the odds.

Like other `golden age' mystery writers (Dorothy L. Sayer, Ngaio Marsh, Christie) Tey is as interested in her characters as she is in the mystery itself, and the Sharpes, especially, are wonderful creations. Our emotions are manipulated faultlessly as they are moved from being slightly sinister to being amusingly eccentric (old Mrs Sharpe, especially, grew hugely in my affections during this book), and yet there is still always a slight doubt: could their very eccentricity have led to their guilt? Highly recommended.
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Format: Audio Download
I must admit that I'm not a fan of a lot of "modern" detective fiction, with its damaged detectives, forensics and gory autopsy descriptions, computers, profilers and what not. I love to relax with the gentler images of bygone times, when an amateur sleuth would have to pit his wits against a cunning opponent following the discovery of a body in the library... Give me Wimsey and Poirot any day.
Not surprisingly then, this brilliant reading of Josephine Tey's classic late forties mystery was right up my street. The action centres around Robert Blair, a quiet country solicitor whose comfortable, complaisant existence is shaken when he is asked to give representation to an elderly woman and her daughter, who are accused of kidnap and abuse. As the notoriety of the case escalates, so do the stakes, and Blair must turn amateur detective to try and prove his clients' innocence.
Tey is one of the greats of British detective fiction, always providing well-rounded characters within a narrative framework of growing tension, laced with droll humour. Praise too for reader Carole Boyd for her terrific, enthusiastic interpretation of the work, which adds greatly to the listener's enjoyment. Some might now regard the likes of "The Franchise Affair" as old fashioned, even quaint, but to me, that's all part of its timeless charm. Eight cds worth of pure pleasure, which sadly come to an end much to quickly. A genuine treat.
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