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moonlightreader

Moonlight Reader

Lawyer, mother, avid reader. Game host extraordinaire! Partner in crime to Obsidian Black Plague! My bookish weaknesses include classics, fantasy, YA, and agreeing to read more books than is even remotely possible.

Currently reading

Capital Crimes: London Mysteries: A British Library Crime Classic (British Library Crime Classics)
Martin Edwards
Progress: 105/410 pages
Sherlock Holmes: The Definitive Collection
Arthur Conan Doyle, Stephen Fry

The Singing Sands by Josephine Tey

The Singing Sands - Josephine Tey

This is both the last of the Inspector Grant novels, and the last book published by Josephine Tey. It was published posthumously after her death of liver cancer - it was found in her papers as a completed novel.

 

It probably wasn't the best idea to start with the last book written by Ms. Tey. I have no idea if she knew that she was terminally ill at the time that she was writing it, but the ending is decidedly odd - abrupt and seemingly out of character for Inspector Grant.

 

The mystery itself was interesting, based around a slip of paper picked up by Inspector Grant after he comes upon a train conductor who has just found the body of a young man alone in a train compartment. On the scrap of paper there is a fragment of doggerel:

 

_The beasts that talk,

The streams that stand,

The stones that walk,

The singing sand,_ . . . .

 

_That guard the way To Paradise._

 

Which Grant finds that he is unable to wrest from his mind. Grant has gone on vacation to Scotland because he has developed panic attacks and claustrophobic and the doctor sent him away. He is at odds with himself - he wants to rest, but finds himself unable to get the young man "with the reckless eyebrows" out of his mind and decides to try to find the answer to the scrap of poetry. This leads him to the Hebrides, to a meeting with a different young man, and ultimately to the identification of the deceased and a return to London.

 

We spend most of the book trying to decide if this is even a murder, as Inspector Grants grapples with his claustrophobia and dithers over whether he even wants to remain part of Scotland Yard. I can't help but wonder if this grappling is related to Tey's own grappling with her own shortened life expectancy.

 

Anyway, long story short, I don't feel like I'm really able to form an opinion of Tey based only on this book. There are too few data points from which to draw conclusions. I am leaning toward reading Brat Farrar as part of Halloween bingo, as that seems to be widely acknowledged as some of her best work and I can get it for a relatively reasonable price. I just can't bear the thought of spending $11.99 for Daughter of Time.