Friday, December 22, 2017

Friday's Forgotten Books, December 22, 2017


Louise Penny is the author of the Armand Gamache mysteries, which began with the award-winning STILL LIFE. (from the archives)

The Franchise Affair by Josephine Tey


I'm not totally convinced she's been forgotten - I sure hope she hasn't.
But this is my small contribution to helping spread the word. For many
years my favorite Tey book was the remarkable, The Daughter of Time.
Infact, I was resistant to reading The Franchise Affair - perhaps out of a
misguided sense of fidelity to The Daughter of Time. I didn't want to be
seen playing footsy with another one of Tey's creations. Or, more likely,
it was the ridiculous title. The Franchise Affair? I ask you. It sounds
like love among the french fries, or groping in the donuts.

Instead, when I finally succumbed and read The Franchise Affair I was
treated to what I now believe is the best mystery of all time. My heart was
quite stolen.

There's no body, no murder in The Franchise Affair, though it is based on
the 18th century case of Elizabeth Canning. Like all of Josephine Tey's
books it's about appearances vs reality. Perceptions and manipulation.
Duality. What else drives a really great mystery? Not blood, not a body -
but what's eating away at the marrow. Our deepest selves, hidden, masked.
Then agonizingly revealed.

On the surface The Franchise Affair is about a fresh-faced young woman,
barely more than a girl, who accuses an elderly woman and her spinster
daughter of kidnapping and holding her in their dreary old home on the edge
of the village.

Like all of Tey's works this one is short, almost novella length. And
crystalline in its clarity. It is, in short, brilliant. Disturbing, witty,
insightful. And more horrific than any body count could ever achieve.

Josephine Tey - a pen-name for Elizabeth MacKintosh - wrote all 6 of her
mysteries between 1947 and 1952. Then she died, in her mid-50's. Almost
nothing is known of the woman. No photograph exists of her. Like her
books, she's a mystery. A real woman lurking behind a made-up one. But I
have happily given my heart to her.

Sergio Angelini, ZERO COOL, Michael Crichton
Yvette Banek, THE NOOSE, Philip MacDonald
Les Blatt, BURIED FOR PLEASURE, Edmund Crispin
Elgin Bleecker, MAIGRET'S CHRISTMAS, Georges Simenon
Brian Busby, THE MYSTERY OF THE MUFFLED MAN, Max Braithwaite
Martin Edwards, MISCHIEF, Charlotte Armstrong
Curt Evans, Marion Babson
Charles Gramlich, HAWK OF THE WILDERNESS, William L. Chester
Richard Horton, Carol Emshwiller
Jerry House, ROADS, Seabury Quinn
George Kelley, CRIME FOR CHRISTMAS. ed. Richard Dalby
Margot Kinberg, RED HERRING, Jonothan Cullinane
Rob Kitchin, A COLD RED SUNRISE, Stuary Kaminsky
Evan Lewis, DEAD SOLDIERS, Bill Crider
Steve Lewis, THE CLOCK STRIKES TWELVE, Patricia Wentworth
Barry Malzberg, ANATOMY OF A MURDERER, Peter Rabe
Todd Mason, An Assortment of Reviews 
J.F. Norris, THE CLOCK IN THE HATBOX, Anthony Gilbert
Juri Numellin, HEAD GAMES, Craig Macdonald and Kevin Singles
Matt Paust, THE CONSTANT GARDENER, John LeCarre
James Reasoner, THE CHRISTMAS KILL, Nick Carter
Kevin Tipple/Barry Ergang,, OUTRAGE AT BLANCO 
TomCat, CASE CLOSED, Gosha Aoyama
TracyK, ENVIOUS CASCA, Georgette Heyer

9 comments:

Todd Mason said...

Excellent! Though you got my guest (though Rabe wrote about a KILLER rather than a Latinate sort), but missed mine:

E PLURIBUS UNICORN, Theodore Sturgeon; NINE HORRORS AND A DREAM, Joseph Payne Brennan; (HORROR STORIES FROM) TALES TO BE TOLD IN THE DARK, ed. Basil Davenport

Yvette said...

Good morning, Patti - my entry is posted. Thanks.

Todd Mason said...

I son'r think I knew there is no known photo of "Tey"...a phantom in time.

Glad to see some further reviews of Bill's work. Thanks for putting it together while on holiday.

Charles Gramlich said...

Amazed that I actually got one of these up. Thanks for linking it.

J F Norris said...

Mine's up now:

The Clock in the Hatbox by Anthony Gilbert

Merry Christmas, Patti, and to everyone else out there in Internetland!

J F Norris said...

It's not true that there are no photographs of Josephine Tey. I have one and went to find the original URL to prove it to you and then saw that were over a dozen different photos of her! Including one taken with her sisters. If you want to learn more about her there is a biography that was recently published: A Life: Josephine Tey by Jennifer Morag Henderson.

Yvette said...

I've read every Josephine Tey book I believe. My favorite is and always will be THE DAUGHTER OF TIME though I also love BRAT FARRAR, A SHILLING FOR CANDLES and THE SINGING SANDS. Sad to say, THE FRANCHISE AFFAIR is not on my list of favorites. I never did really get into it and maybe it's just that I read it at the wrong time or maybe I was expecting something else. Anyway, I know I'm in the minority.

Margot Kinberg said...

I'm glad you liked the Tey as much as you did, Patti. She certainly did create some memorable stories. I agree with Yvette that The Daughter of Time is a standout, but a lot of her work is great.

Shay said...

I read The Franchise Affair when I was still young enough to feel bitterly disappointed when the heroine turned down the hero's proposal.

(Add another fan to the list for The Daughter of Time.