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4.1 out of 5 stars
116
4.1 out of 5 stars
To Love and Be Wise
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on 22 November 2017
Josephine Tey is so famous that Nicola Upson has turned her into a character for her modern detective novels. However, although she is famous for several books, this one does little to enhance her reputation. It begins well enough, with an intriguing mystery involving the murder of a famous film star who is revealed to have had humble beginnings in England.

As others have mentioned, the racism in the book, with a Jewish character being presented as 'typical of his race', a 'Hebrew' etc etc is really shocking to the 21st century reader, and it comes as a real surprise to discover that this book was actually written after the second world war, when most writers would hesitate to describe Jews in this derogatory way. Tey's detective, Alan Grant, is a real forelock tugger, who admits he finds it much easier to interrogate the Jewish foreigner than the wealthy English aristocrat - a point of view that makes us despise him, while being aware that Tey meant him to be an attractive hero.

I quite enjoyed reading about the various suspects who come into the frame, and whose activities are later explained. Again, as with Alan Grant, the character of Erica Burgoyne who is 17 yet acts like a 7 year old doesn't do it for me, although I can tell Tey believed she was creating a winsome ingenue her readers would love. A modern reader is more likely to find her really annoying and not particularly believable.

Spoiler alert now!! The title refers to a bequest in the victim's will to a mysterious brother whom her friends had not known to have existed, and who emerges as a very sinister character. However, although the sections of the book involving him are well done, his character turns out to be very much a red herring to the main story. The revelation of the real culprit comes totally out of the blue. There are no clues, and Tey seems to break the who-dunnit code by making the murderer a very very minor character who has been only fleetingly mentioned. This provides a very unsatisfying conclusion and is the main weakness of the book. I did wonder if Tey changed her mind about whom to make guilty, or if someone advised her the obvious suspect was just 'too pat', as another character comments.
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on 29 July 2017
This first novel from Josephine Tey is set in the intense closed world of an English girl"s school in which Lucy Pym, popular psychologist gets involved in a death by misadventure. This is a charming and malevolent first outing for a soon to be famous author
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on 20 June 2015
Terrific story, of loss, and murder, with Alan Grant trying to sort out the murder. The title is a tease but is explained and so atmospheric. If you not read Tey before this is a good one, unless you want to go in order.......
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on 23 March 2014
I read this book many years ago and decided to revisit it. It is the gentle school of crime, no violence but an excellently plotted story with quirky characters and a twist in the tail. It stood up to re reading and I would recommend it as a fascinating read.
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on 2 November 2014
I like Josephine Tey' s books as the plots are good and well written. This book has a lot humour and good insights of people. I did not guess the culprit at all. This book will appeal to her fans.
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on 19 June 2015
This Josephine Tey has dated more than her other "detective" books, and I think the plot rather weak, but her style is impeccable and that makes it a good book to read if that is important to you.
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on 4 October 2017
I like to read and occasionally re-read the mystery novels of Josephine Tey. They are small treasures
and this is no exception. It may not be everyone's cup of tea but please try any Tey novel-- I hope you
enjoy it.
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on 4 September 2017
rambling story - not as good as daughter of time
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on 6 February 2013
It is such a shame that Josephine Tey wrote relatively few books. I have now read them all and feel quite bereft. The characters are so real that you miss them when the book is over and if the endings are usually fairly expected, that is not a minus point at all.
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on 20 November 2017
It took along time arrive, worth the wait.
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