|23 March 2016|
What do you do when you find that a book you have not heard about at all is at the top (or nearabouts) in all of the lists of greatest detective / mystery books of all-time?
You read it, of course.
So I read Josephine Tey’s ‘The Daughter of Time’.
The protagonist, Alan Grant, Inspector of the Scotland Yard, has had a broken leg while trying to apprehend a criminal. While recuperating in hospital, he is bored with the same old people, the same old food, and the same old books. Fiction does not interest him, and the nurses are well-meaning but staid conversation companions.
Seeing his plight, his actress friend, Marta Hallard suggests he look at some portraits —Grant takes pride in being able to identify criminals by looking at their faces. This interest in faces, supposedly, allows him ‘both a private entertainment and a professional advantage’. Marta gets him a few portraits to look at, and one particular face interests him the most. It is the most ‘individual’ of faces, one of a person used to great responsibility and authority, yet that of a worrier, perhaps even a perfectionist.