Daughter of Time (September 2011 Discussion)

Courtesy of Tower Books

 Josephine Tey


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. (courtesy of Simon & Schuster)


Josephine Tey (Wikipedia)

The Mystery of Josephine Tey(Richard III Society, American Branch)


The Daughter of Time (About.com)

The Daughter of Time (GoodReads)

The Daughter of Time (Writers News Weekly)

General Sites:

Portraits of Lucrezia Borgia, the Earl of Leicester, Louis XVII, and Richard III (Wikipedia)

Wars of the Roses (Wikipedia)

The Wars of the Roses (Dr. Wheeler, Carson-Newman College)

The Fate of Richard III’s Body (Legacies / BBC)

Is This the Lost Coffin of King Richard III (The One Show / BBC)

The Hair that Could Unlock the Riddle of the Princes in the Tower (Daily Mail /London)

Richard III & Anne Neville: a love story ?? (History Hoydens)

Truth, Fiction & The Daughter of Time (Sydney Studies in English) .pdf format

Richard III: Villain or Hero? (Sandra Worth)

Richard III: A Thoroughly Modern Man? (Sandra Worth)


Map of the Battles of the Wars of the Roses (Wars of the Roses)

England During the War of the Roses (Luminarium.org)

Ricardian Britain: A Guide to Sites Associated with Richard III (Richard III Society) .pdf format (slow loading)


House of Lancaster (Luminarium.org)

House of York (Luminarium.org)

The Houses of York and Lancaster (Richard III Society)

Important People (Wars of the Roses)

Richard III (Wikipedia)

Richard III (Luminarium.org)

Edward IV (Wikipedia)

Edward IV (Luminarium.org)

Elizabeth Woodville (Wikipedia)

Henry VII (Wikipedia)

Richard Neville, “The King Maker” (Wikipedia)

Anne Neville (Wikipedia)


War of the Roses Timeline (The Middle Ages)

The War of the Roses: A Brief Chronology of Events (Richard III Society)

1483: The Year of Three Kings (EdwardV1483.com)

Did He or Didn’t He: 

The Princes in the Tower (Wikipedia)

The Princes in the Tower (Notorious Murders / TruTV)

The Princes in the Tower (Alison Weir Website) articles are about half way down the page

Whodunit — The Suspects in the Case (Richard III Society, American Branch)

The Sources: Reliable or Not? (Monarchs of England)

Richard III’s Historians: Adverse and Favorable Views (Richard III Society, American Branch)

The Case Against Richard III (Monarchs of England)

The Case Against Henry VII (Monarchs of England)

The Case Against the Duke of Buckingham (Monarchs of England)

To Prove a Villain…The Real Richard III (Richard III Society)

Richard III (Shakespeare and History)

Richard III — A Vindication (History Files)

Chief Justice William H. Rehnquist finds King Richard III “Not Guilty” (Richard III Society, American Branch)

Trial of Richard III (C-Span) video

Not Guilty — Again! (Richard III Society, American Branch)

The Man in the Iron Mask:

The Man in the Iron Mask (Wikipedia)

Who Was the “Man in the Iron Mask”? (The Straight Dope)

Man in the Iron Mask: The Legend (Globusz Publishing)

Maschera di Ferro festival in Pinerolo, Italy (About.com)

Amy Robsart:

Amy Robsart (Wikipedia)

Did Robert Dudley Murder Amy Robsart? (The Elizabeth Files)

A Response to “Did Robert Dudley Murder Amy Robsart?” (The Elizabeth Files)

The Virgin Queen’s Fatal Affair: Revealed (The Elizabeth Files)

Amy Robsart’s Death: Accident? Or Suicide? (The History Files)

Amy Robsart’s Death: The Improbability of Murder (The History Files)

Louis XVII (The Dauphin):

Louis XVII (Wikipedia)

The Mystery of Louis XVII (PBS)

Scientists Crack Louis XVII Mystery (The Independent / London)

The Heart of King Louis XVII (Chromosomal Labs, Inc.) .pdf format

Heart of Louis XVII Gets Royal Funeral (China Daily)

Lucrezia Borgia:

Lucrezia Borgia (Wikipedia)

Killers From History : Lucrezia Borgia (TruTV)

Lucrezia Borgia, Passionate Poisoner or Virtuous Victim (Scandalous Women)

Lucrezia, the Infamous (St. George’s News)

Lucrezia Borgia: A New Assessment (CLIO History Journal)

National Gallery of Victoria’s Renaissance Mystery Woman Revealed (The Age / Australia)

Dissenters are emerging to dispute the NGV’s latest find (The Age / Australia)

The Borgias (Showtime)

The Boston Massacre:

Boston Massacre (Wikipedia)

Boston Massacre: Facts and Questions (About.com)

What Was the Boston Massacre (Boston Massacre Historical Society)

The Boston Massacre Trials (University of Missouri-Kansas City School of Law)

Boston Massacre: A Behind-the-Scenes Look at Paul Revere’s Most Famous Engraving (Archiving Early America)

Perkin Warbeck:

Perkin Warbeck  (Wikipedia)

The Great Pretender  (Channel 4, Great Britain)

Uncovering the Mystery of Perkin Warbeck (On the Tudor Trail)

Uncertain Past of Perkin Warbeck  (HistoryNet.com)

Casket Letters:

Mary, Queen of Scots  (Wikipedia)

Casket Letters  (Wikipedia)

The Casket Letters  (Classic Encyclopedia)

The Letters in the Casket  (Lady Hedgehog’s Web)

A Brief Critique of the Casket Letters (Lady Hedgehog’s Web)

The Murder of Lord Darnley (HistoryNet.com)

The Wigtown Martyrs:

Margaret Wilson, Wigtown Martyr (Wikipedia)

The Two Margarets: The Solway Martyrs (Excerpt from Trial and Triumph: Stories from Church History) (Google Books)

Notes on the Martyrs (Rootsweb)

The Covenanters (Sorbie Family)

Martyrs Stake Piece Emerges (Galloway Gazette)

Wigtown Martyrs (Undiscovered Scotland)

Russian Troops in England:

Passage of Russian Troops Through Great Britain (WWI Resource Centre)

A Rumoured Russian Invasion (Look and Learn)

Russian Troops in England (Oxford Journals)

Believe Russians Went Into Belgium (New York Times) .pdf format

Russian Troops as Propaganda (Cougar Scream / USS Washington) click on Propaganda


Tonypandy Riots (Wikipedia)

The Tonypandy Massacre (BBC)

Churchill and the Tonypandy Riots (Blaenavon Local History Society)

Churchill, Tonypandy and Black Friday (The Great Unrest)

Tonypandy Riots Left a Legacy of Bitterness (Wales Online)

Other Historical Mysteries and Myths:

Mysteries of History (U.S. News Online)

History Myths Debunked

Top Ten Historical Myths Debunked (About.com)

13 Myth-Busting Facts That Will Make You Rethink Everything You Know (Huffington Post)

Interesting History Myths (Interesting US History)

Other Books on Richard III and His Times:

Selected Ricardian Reading (Richard III Society, American Branch)

Medieval Fiction Reading List (Richard III Society, American Branch)

Medieval Mysteries (Reader’s Advice)

Bookshelf (Richard III Society of New South Wales)

Discussion Questions:

  1. The Daughter of Time has been referred to as an unconventional mystery. In what ways does it differ from more conventional whodunits? Why do you think it has retained its popularity and is considered to be one of the best mysteries ever written?

  1. Given that she was dealing with historical events and documents rather than a purely fictional murder plot, how good a job do you think Tey did in this novel with the issues of pacing and suspense that are typically central to our enjoyment of a classic murder mystery?

  1. Tey presents a large volume of historical and documentary evidence to the reader via Grant’s and Carradine’s discussions about their investigations. How well do you think she strikes the balance between, on the one hand, making her case about Richard’s role in the deaths of the Princes and, on the other, entertaining the reader with the story of solving the mystery? What are some of the ways she does this?

  1. Many people who have never read a scholarly work about Richard III and the fate of the Princes are familiar with the controversy from reading The Daughter of Time, which is even cited by professional historians for the thorough but concise case it presents. Did you find this book primarily a “good read” in the murder mystery tradition, or more of a history book?

  1. Is the way Grant is drawn into this mystery believable?

  1. Grant makes some assertions about female psychology that would seem stereotypical today: “Mary Stuart was six feet tall. Nearly all out-size women are sexually cold. Ask any doctor.” How fully realized or stereotypical are the book’s contemporary female characters: The Midget, The Amazon, Mrs. Tinker, Matron, and Marta? Do you think the portrayals of female characters “date” the book?

  1. What do we learn about Grant as a character from his reactions in the opening chapter to the various books his friends have brought by, and to the historical figures he discusses with his friend Marta?

  1. How well developed as literary characters were the key historical figures in the story—Richard himself, his brothers Edward IV and Clarence, Elizabeth Woodville, Thomas More, etc.—in comparison with Tey’s contemporary characters such as Grant and Carradine?

  1. Grant infers a great deal from his first sight of Richard’s portrait: “Someone used to great responsibility…too conscientious…the look one sees on the face of a crippled child,” and so forth. In light of the initial, subjective impressions he forms from looking at the portrait, how well do you think Grant maintains an investigator’s objectivity in going about his investigation of Richard’s guilt or innocence?

  1. Would Grant’s manner of investigation meet with success today? A contemporary detective might look for DNA evidence—unknown in either Richard’s or Grant’s time—in connection with the skeletons found in the Tower. Based on the information presented in this book, what unanswered questions about the fate of the Princes do you think DNA evidence might and might not resolve? How difficult would it be to investigate a murder that was done decades or centuries ago?

  1. The deaths of the Princes in the Tower may be the ultimate “cold case file.” Inspector Grant sets out to disregard popularly accepted versions of the story and start from ‘scratch,’ a sort of ‘just the facts, ma’am’ approach. How do you think the mid-20th century Grant’s investigation resembles or differs from the approach a 21st-century detective—fictional or otherwise— might take to a “cold” homicide case?

  1. Does one get a better understanding of Tudor England from reading The Daughter of Time?

  1. By the end of the book, Grant and Carradine come to a particular set of conclusions. Do you think those conclusions are justified based on the evidence that’s been presented to them—and to readers—in the course of the book?

  1. How does the popular image of Richard differ from what Grant uncovers and finally believes is the truth? Do you agree or disagree with Grant’s conclusions?

  1. Does the investigation convince you that Richard has been wronged by historians? Why or why not?

  1. From a historian’s perspective, do you think Tey has “played fair” with the historical information?

  1. Given what you have learned from the novel, why do discrepancies, such as those described, exist in history books?

  1. “Truth is the daughter of time, not of authority” is a quote from Brecht’s play Life of Galileo — What do you think this means and how does it apply to The Daughter of Time?

Other books by Tey: 
The Man in the Queue
A Shilling for CandlesMiss Pym Disposes,  Franchise AffairBrat Farrar,  To Love and Be Wise,  The Singing SandsThe Expensive HaloKif: An Unvarnished History,  The Privateer.

Recommendations (NoveList & other sources): The Black Cat by Martha Grimes, The Beekeeper’s Apprentice by Laurie R. King, Irish Lace  by Andrew Greeley, And Then There Were None by Agatha Christie, The Flanders Panel by Arturo Perez-Reverte, The Midsummer Crown by Kate Sedley, Murders of Richard III by Elizabeth Peters.

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