Contribution

(Masterpieces of Fiction, Detective and Mystery Edition)

Although Alan Grant is a recurring character in Josephine Tey’s detective novels, he is not always the main character. As in To Love and Be Wise (1950), he may be introduced at the beginning of a novel but not figure prominently until a crime has been committed. In The Franchise Affair (1948), he plays only a minor role. Tey is exceptional in not following the conventional plots of mystery and detective stories. She is more interested in human character. Grant is important insofar as he comes into contact with murder victims and suspects, but usually the human scene is fully described before Grant appears. Consequently, Tey’s novels never seem driven by a mere “ whodunit” psychology. She is interested, rather, in human psychology as it is revealed in the commission of a crime, a disappearance, or a case of imposture. Often readers who do not like the conventions of detective stories like Tey because her novels seem organic; that is, they grow out of what is revealed about the characters. If Tey writes mysteries, it is because human character is a mystery.