24 Jan 2012



Inspector Alan Grant of Scotland Yard, recuperating from a broken leg, becomes fascinated with a contemporary portrait of Richard III that bears no resemblance to the Wicked Uncle of history. Could such a sensitive, noble face actually belong to one of the world's most heinous villains - a venomous hunchback who may have killed his brother's children to make his crown secure? Or could Richard have been the victim, turned into a monster by the usurpers of England's throne? Grant determines to find out once and for all, with the help of the British Museum and an American scholar, what kind of man Richard Plantagenet really was and who killed the Little Princes in the Tower.
..... Outer back cover.

FIRST SENTENCE (Chapter 1): Grant lay on his high white cot and stared at the ceiling.

MEMORABLE MOMENT (Page 102): "Forty million school books can't be wrong," Grant said.

KEEP IT OR NOT?: A reading group book, I won't be buying a copy.

What a brilliant idea - part historical novel, part  crime thriller/mystery, and part research project, this is a book that truly combines several genres.

Why then is it not too my liking?

Well, to be totally frank I don't think it worked particularly well on any of these levels. A big fan of historical fiction that involves real life characters, I do like to learn something from my novels and yet didn't do so reading this - oh, there were plenty of theories but ultimately no answers. Then again, perhaps I was expecting too much in expecting an answer as to did he (Richard) or didn't he, perhaps the whole point of the book was to take an alternative look at Richard III in which case it could be argued that the author succeeded

Too analytical for my liking, this reads more like a transcript of a court case than a novel and as such I'm looking forward to reading Alison Weir's  The Princes in the Tower which I'm led to believe is a more 'traditional' rendering of the story. Still, a brave effort by Tey, it fascinates me that an author should choose to write a book that sets out to challenge the commonly held belief as taught to many, many school children that Richard III did indeed play a part in the murder of his nephews.


Patti said...

That's too bad, it sounded like a great premise.

Suko said...

Thank you, again, for your honest review, Petty!

Kelly said...

I read this book some years ago and really don't remember that much about it other than the basic premise. I guess it must not have made a very big impression on me.

John McElveen said...

Sounded promising! I just read too very OLD Robin Cook books- and I'm on my way out to but a Bioharzard suits! Easy reads for the medical in me.


Melissa (Books and Things) said...

Aw... sorry this one didn't work for you. Just needed to push it more toward the lyrical than the analytical! Great review!

Betty Manousos@ Cut and Dry said...

sorry this one didn't work for you, but i really liked what i read in the 'memorable moment'. so very true!

a great review, as usual, tracy.

big hugs!

Nina said...

Sad, that you didn't like this book. Better luck next time! It did sound good with all those different genres, ah oh well. :)

Dorte H said...

I have read one or two of her modern mysteries. Perhaps she was better at writing those because I thought they were quite nice crime stories.