If Patrick really had committed suicide, who was this mysterious young man claiming to be him and calling himself Brat Farrar? It was eight years ...Show synopsisIf Patrick really had committed suicide, who was this mysterious young man claiming to be him and calling himself Brat Farrar? It was eight years since Patrick had vanished leaving his pitiful note. Now it seemed he had returned - just in time to claim the family inheritance.Hide synopsis
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This re-telling of an old tale (the reappearance after a long time of someone given up for dead) is none the worse for that. It keeps one guessing almost to the end as to whether or not Brat Farrar could just possibly be the real Patrick, and in the end justice is accomplished in an totally unexpected way.
As usual Josephine Tey's observation and exploration of character is superb. Each person in the family is clearly drawn, not just the main characters.
Josephine Tey helped create the murder-mystery genre, was one of its greatest writers and, most importantly, she showed that a mystery may treat any topic in any context. For example, her "Daughters of Time" involves a detective recovering in a hospital who proves the innocence of King Richard III whom Shakespeare condemned for the murder of his two nephews.
Brat Farrar is, arguably, her best book. It is a psychological thriller in which nearly every character comes fully to life as a real person. The action is rather slow (except for a few pages near the end) and some of the "surprises" are not very surprising, but one's interest in the interplay between Brat and his "victims" is a never ending source of delight.
Josephine Tey does an excellent job with a slow-paced, extremely enjoyable story about a rogue (of sorts) who turns out to be a good guy. I loved the characters and felt as if I knew them after just a few chapters. And the Ashby home was so warm and welcoming that I wanted to move there myself! I also fell in love with the soft English countryside so lovingly described by the author. I'm not a horse lover, but I gained a great appreciation of them and those who do love them as I read the story. The murder isn't presented immediately, but comes upon you in the course of the story, just as it does for our rogue. It's so exciting how he first deduces who did the crime, then sets out to prove it. I can't say much more without spoiling the plot for you, but it's definitely a must read!
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