Read The Man in the Queue by Josephine Tey Online


Outside a London theatre a throng of people wait expectantly for the last performance of a popular musical. But as  the doors open at last, something spoils all thought of entertainment: a man in the queue is found murdered by the deadly thrust of a stiletto ......

Title : The Man in the Queue
Author :
Rating :
ISBN : 9780099576341
Format Type : Paperback
Number of Pages : 247 Pages
Status : Available For Download
Last checked : 21 Minutes ago!

The Man in the Queue Reviews

  • BillKerwin
    2019-05-08 05:48

    This first mystery by Josephine Tey, a genius of the genre, reveals some of Tey the genius to any reader determined to look for it, but it also discloses much of Tey the novice writer too.It begins well, with a magnificent set piece. A festive atmosphere envelops the line of people waiting for tickets to the musical comedy hit Didn't You Know?, and we watch as this London crowd (accosted by attendant buskers) push against each other, move forward, and eventually reach the box office where “the man in the queue” falls dead. He has been stabbed, but no one can say precisely when, for he has been held upright for minutes, buoyed by the press and movement of the crowd. Inspector Grant, of course, eventually discovers who the murderer is, but not before a few false leads, a chase among the trout streams of rural Scotland, and a final surprising revelation.The genius of Tey reveals itself not only in the first chapter summarized above, but in the exciting chase scene and the many sharp characterizations. The best passage, though, a tour de force of deliberate detail and subtle psychology, is Grant's exploration of how leading lady Ray Marcable--quietly, mercilessly, with consummate artistry--destroys every available opportunity for her unfortunate leading man to shine.The novice writer Tey reveals herself most clearly in the uninspiring nature of her plot: slow at times, frantic at others, with some parts seemingly out of order (the chase is much too early, for example), and a singularly abrupt resolution which appears almost as an afterthought. Some of this, I think, is the result of her genius-to-be playing games with the cliches of an established genre, but part of it is inexperience too.The novice also reveals herself in overwritten passages which are too clever by half. For example, consider this gobbet from the second chapter, when Grant is summoned by Superintendent Barker:“Tell inspector Grant I want to see him,” he said to the minion, who was doing his best to look obsequious in the great man's presence, but was frustrated in his good intention by an incipient embonpoint which compelled him to lean back a little in order to preserve his balance, and by the angle of his nose which was the apotheosis of impudence.”I think this means that Barker's subordinate wants to look deferential, but when he attempts a bow his fat belly almost tips him over, and he is forced to lean back, leaving his nose arrogantly up in the air. Whatever it means, it is overwritten and unnecessary--particularly as the "minion" never appears again. The first quarter of the book has more than its share of such passages (although none of the others is quite as bad as this one).Don't worry, though. This sort of fine writing declines steadily as the book progresses and Tey's genius takes command. By the end, her writing has become crisp and elegant, worthy of the lesser passages of her masterpiece, The Daughter of Time.

  • Jaline
    2019-04-23 03:46

    This book is the first one Josephine Tey wrote in her Inspector Alan Grant series. First published in 1929, it is a product of its time in some ways, and in other ways, it is timeless.This book takes place in England (mostly London) and in Scotland. The writing is fine although at first I was conscious of words wearing strange apparel. For example, if I recall, one gentleman was labelled as plenitudinous instead of simply calling him ‘stout’. There were a few other examples where older expressions were used instead of their more modern replacements and although context helped, at first I felt it got in the way of a jump start into the novel.Having said that, it didn’t take long to begin reading from the perspective of time and place that the novel was written in. I liked the character of Inspector Grant a lot. He is very good at finding the facts in a case, but he also listened to his instincts. (His chief called it a ‘flair’ when Inspector Grant sensed that something was not quite lining up. I had never come across that usage of the word as a substitute for intuition, but it made me smile.)As the title suggests, there is a man murdered in the queue for one of the last showings of a popular London play. There were several witnesses but it was difficult to pinpoint who the actual culprit might be. People weren’t really paying attention as they were mostly focused on being able to move far enough through the queue to obtain one of the “standing room only” spots. Eventually, Inspector Grant was able to target his man and there were several chases and misleading clues and/or near misses in the process of apprehending the murderer. And that is not all. Sometimes it’s more complicated than one person murdering another.I don’t want to spoil the reading experience for anyone so will not divulge any more of the plot. I will say that I enjoyed this book a lot, and I have a feeling that the further I go into the series, the more intriguing it will become.What amazes me the most from these older mystery series is how engaging they are – without DNA, without cell phones, without computers and all our other modern gadgets and forensics, somehow these early detectives manage to solve the crimes and justice prevails. I loved it!

  • Kim
    2019-05-08 10:53

    For some reason the only novels by Josephine Tey that I have read previously are The Daughter of Time and The Franchise Affair, both in my long-distant teenage past. I loved the former of these books and liked the latter, but until now I had not felt inspired to seek out Tey's other works.I'm glad that I finally did, for there's a lot to love about this example of British Golden Age detective fiction. Tey writes beautifully. Her prose is intelligent, lucid and witty and she deals equally well with dialogue and description. The novel has a great sense of style. I particularly love the opening chapter, which is marvellously evocative of time and place. I also love the description of the Scottish Highlands, which Tey renders with a light touch and considerable humour. However the text does demonstrate some weaknesses. For example, a first person narrator appears from time to time: apparently the authorial voice, because it is not otherwise identified. The effect is somewhat jarring, but the irregular appearance of the narrator may simply be the result of Tey's inexperience, as this was her first novel. Tey's detective, Scotland Yard inspector Alan Grant, lacks the indiosyncrasies of his fictional comptemporaries, Hercule Poirot and Lord Peter Wimsey. He can't be immediately visualised from the text. However, it would be wrong to say that Grant is a dull character, for he has considerable charm and intelligence. That said, one of the surprises in this novel is that Grant does not actually solve the crime. The resolution is brought about through something of a deus ex machina, although hints to the resolution are there in the text. I was at first inclined to think this a weakness, but have since decided that, while unusual, it is a strength of Tey's ability to plot. It is the reality, after all. Crimes are solved sometimes through hard work, sometimes through the brilliance of the detective and sometimes through luck. There's room in crime fiction to explore all of these possibilities. The casual racism of pre-World War II crime fiction is evident in this novel, with a confronting repetition of the term "dago" to describe the suspected criminal. However, the confounding of the detective's assumptions and prejudices in the resolution of the crime makes the use of the term ultimately less offensive than it might otherwise be. Overall, this was a worthwhile read for fans of Golden Age British crime fiction. Probably a 3-1/2 star read.

  • Susan
    2019-05-05 05:55

    This is the first Josephine Tey mystery, featuring Inspector Alan Grant. The novel begins on a March evening in London, where there are long queues outside the many theatres, including the Woffington; currently playing the long running show, “Didn’t You Know?” This is coming to the end of a long run and so the crowds are intense, with a patient crowd inching forward and hoping to get to see the beautiful Ray Marcable. As the doors open though, a man in the queue is murdered and Inspector Grant is called in to investigate.This is a good example of a Golden Age mystery. Grant is intelligent, thoughtful and committed to finding the right person. We are taken from London restaurants to race tracks and even the Scottish countryside on the investigation. Who is the unknown victim in the queue and why was he killed?Although I really enjoy mysteries from this era, I found I had mixed feelings about this novel. I liked the sense of place and time (aside from the rather uncomfortable terms used for anyone not British) and Grant was a good lead, even if I found him rather dry and without any defined personality in this book. However, it was the first novel featuring him and, as such, was an interesting introduction. The plot started well, but the ending was weak. As such, this was something of a disappointment, as it felt rushed and not quite in character with the rest of the novel, although I am glad I gave this first in the series a try.

  • Susan
    2019-05-20 10:57

    This is the first Josephine Tey mystery, featuring Inspector Alan Grant. The novel begins on a March evening in London, where there are long queues outside the many theatres, including the Woffington; currently playing the long running show, “Didn’t You Know?” This is coming to the end of a long run and so the crowds are intense, with a patient crowd inching forward and hoping to get to see the beautiful Ray Marcable. As the doors open though, a man in the queue is murdered and Inspector Grant is called in to investigate.This is a good example of a Golden Age mystery. Grant is intelligent, thoughtful and committed to finding the right person. We are taken from London restaurants to race tracks and even the Scottish countryside on the investigation. Who is the unknown victim in the queue and why was he killed? Although I really enjoy mysteries from this era, I found I had mixed feelings about this novel. I liked the sense of place and time (aside from the rather uncomfortable terms used for anyone not British) and Grant was a good lead, even if I found him rather dry and without any defined personality in this book. However, it was the first novel featuring him and, as such, was an interesting introduction. The plot started well, but the ending was weak. As such, this was something of a disappointment, as it felt rushed and not quite in character with the rest of the novel. However, I am glad I gave this first in the series a try and would rate this as 3.5.

  • Roman Clodia
    2019-05-03 08:52

    I love Josephine Tey for her sharp eye, fine writing, good characterisation and twisty-turny plots. This book is the first of the Inspector Grant series and while it doesn't quite have the same engrossing, disorienting quality as The Franchise Affair, it's still a superior example of the classic crime novel.A man is stabbed while waiting in a London theatre queue - and soon Inspector Grant is caught is a fine muddle of the theatre, bookmakers, London landladies, men's outfitters and a trip to the Scottish highlands.It has to be said that the continued use of the term 'Dago' is uncomfortable, and there is an audacious use of coincidences at which Tey herself seems to be poking fun. The solution, too, comes out of nowhere - but this is still a compelling, light read written with more style and panache than is sometimes the case in Golden Age crime.

  • Tracey
    2019-04-28 06:53

    After a long absence, Alan Grant returns to my life. (Which is a different way of saying "I haven't read this in a long time".) It's obvious that Josephine Tey didn't originally intend to write mystery novels: not to in any way belittle mystery novels, which I love, but there is an intelligent uniqueness to her story and her writing that is a pure joy, an approach to the task which is fresh and unique. Alan Grant is … lovely. A friend noted in her recent review of a different edition that she was made a bit uneasy by the oft-repeated word "dago". I decided to read this on the spur of the moment, and a little ways in remembered that part of the discussion that followed her review, and was a little surprised that I had not encountered the epithet. Before long, Alan Grant dubs the mysterious suspect "the Levantine" – and a minute later I started wondering if that was where "dago" used to be; I questioned it because it didn't seem to mean the same thing. By the time I finished the book and realized that "dago" had never appeared, it was clear that at some point a more politically correct edit had taken place. Unfortunately the edit was more politically than typographically correct – there were a number of spelling errors. It also wasn't terribly correct topographically, as the Levant consists of "The countries bordering on the eastern Mediterranean Sea from Turkey to Egypt", which I think would be a much different sort of complexion than the descriptions of our lad imply. It's a lovely, gorgeously written story, this, and I'm glad that the casual racism of another time has been erased (though I'm interested in the mechanics of that). It isn't so much a Whodunnit, in which the reader can follow along and figure out who the killer is – I'm fairly sure that's impossible, as the story is written. But it is a terrific Howdunnit, as well as a terrific Howsolvdit – a portrait of a very good and unique detective doggedly following up any thread to find answers to who had the opportunity (and means, and motive) to stab The Man in the Queue. It's a psychological study, in a way – how people (or at least 1920's Londoners) can be standing in line in front of or behind or nearby someone who is murdered, and never see a thing; the mindset of a very intelligent detective relentlessly hunting his suspect, and how that changes when the suspect becomes a man to him; the mindset of the hunted man, whose friend is dead, whether he was the one who killed him or not. I can't think of another detective – perhaps not even another fictional character – quite like Alan Grant. He is thoughtful, insightful, brilliant, and could have been anything – and has chosen to take his "flair" into the field of homicide investigation. It's not quite fair to the poor killers (which is as it should be). His thought processes are clearly illustrated, and it's a pleasure to follow them. It's also a pleasure that, while he's clearly more intelligent than his colleagues, they aren't idiots – the police are uniformly (pardon the pun) depicted as sharp and hard-working. Nice for a change. (Reading "Ray Marcable" did not make an impact for a chapter or so, and then I let it sound in my head – and groaned. She wouldn't … Oh. She would. But surely the British Theatah wouldn't / didn't…? I mean, that's just awful.)

  • Melissa McShane
    2019-05-01 03:56

    How could I have guessed that the author of The Daughter of Time, one of my favorite authors ever, could have written such a lumpy first novel? I mean, Tey's a great stylist, she writes description so well that you hardly mind that it's pages and pages of the stuff. And even in this novel, Alan Grant is a vibrant and interesting character, even if he does love fishing. But it's unfortunate that Tey chose to make such broad characterizations of cultural and national groups. The murder (the stabbing of a man in the press of a theater queue) could not have been committed by an Englishman; Englishmen slit throats from behind; it must have been a Levantine, because those foreigners are so shifty. American gangsters are fond of organization, but the Englishman is an individualist. In later novels, Grant's tendency to draw conclusions about people from their appearances becomes more refined and less authoritative. Given that his conclusions about the murderer were completely wrong, it's possible Tey meant to show how ridiculous such characterizations are, but I would think that would mean that, at some point before the end, Grant might have thought "geez, that sure was boneheaded of me."The mystery itself. Well. I think it was obvious that Grant's singleminded pursuit of his suspect meant that he was missing something, but the revelation of the real killer...(view spoiler)[Please. We go through 7/8ths of the novel discovering, tracking, and apprehending someone whose alibi is nonexistent but compelling, and then at the last second a completely different person walks in and confesses? Way to undercut the whole story. (hide spoiler)]I'm glad I read Tey's other novels first. This one was disappointing and I doubt I'd have bothered with the rest if I'd gotten to this one first.

  • Sharon Barrow Wilfong
    2019-05-16 03:50

    I read this book over the weekend. I have never read anything by Tey before and after reading this first novel of hers, consider her a gem of a find.People are crowding each other in a line outside a theater to see a final performance of the wonderful Ray Marcable's "Swan" performance before she sails off to America. A fat woman (her description, now we would say a "woman of size") is trying to pay for her ticket while she is being pushed by the man and the crowd behind her. She turns around to tell the man to back off (or she does, I don't remember) but the man sinks to his knees and keels over. In his back is a thin dagger. How did a man get to be murdered in a crowded line with no one noticing?That is the job of Detective Grant of the Scotland Yard to find out. Giving nothing away I will give my subjective reaction to reading this story.It was one of the best mysteries I've read. Tey is not like other mystery writers. She follows no formula. I was surprised at the different paths the story line took. Following a sluggish, beginning, the plot quickened its pace and maintained it through out. I was surprised and delighted at the solution and conclusion.What I liked best about the story was the humanness of all the characters. No one was a propped up cardboard figure, which I sadly must accuse Rex Stout and sometimes my beloved Dorothy Sayers of doing.Both Sayers and Stout have created heroes that are so much smarter than everyone else that they appear to possess an omniscient glow about them. Both Wimsey and Wolfe are forever befuddling and befooling (I made that word up) everyone else and especially the police.And here I must shake a stern finger at both of them. They make the police out to be little more than idiots and even buffoons. This is neither fair nor believable.I understand that maybe underdogs who have been bullied by police, detectives, lawyers, and powerful rich guys enjoy reading them dance to Wolfe and Archie's tune, but it is also a little one-dimensional.The same is true for Lord Wimsey. Like Wolfe, he apparently has the entire mystery solved from the get go but just needs to play along until he gets irrefutable proof in order to convict the guilty party. I generalize, but it's basically true.Probably that is why I liked Gaudy Night so much. We saw a tenderer, vulnerable side to Wimsey.Tey's Inspector Grant is very smart and so are his fellow detectives but they are not know-alls. They struggle and are often wrong. That was an endearing attribute of Grant in Man in the Queu. He thinks he has things solved, then he doesn't. Then he does; no, he doesn't. Now he does! Rats, not yet, after all!But he or the other police are still human and smart and likeable characters. Tey created people I would want to get to know. I doubt Lord Wimsey would look twice at me. Wolfe would simply eat me alive.All the characters are pretty nice people and hospitable and very believable. I eagerly look forward to further Tey mysteries.

  • Leonie
    2019-04-20 07:41

    Not too bad. I liked the resolution. Tey is still Tey, ie the only Golden Age mystery writer whose racism, classism and sexism I bother really taking issue with, because she really is that much worse than her contemporaries. People decide what personalities other people have based on their face and their race; it's a crass, naïve philosophy and hard to have patience with at the best of times. The detective's thoughts at the end say an awful lot about Tey. He thinks about the murder victim, and tries to decide whether (view spoiler)[he was crazy, and decides he wasn't. Bearing in mind the murder victim was killed because he was planning to murder the woman he had a crush on who wouldn't marry him. Then the detective thinks about the murderer, who was the mother of the woman who was going to be killed. Was she sane? He hardly thought so, but who knew what the professionals would decide. So, someone who wants to kill a woman because he can't have her is sane. Someone who wants to kill a man to save her daughter's life is crazy. Very, very interesting, Tey. And at the end we're asked teasingly whether there's a villain in the story. I strongly suspect the villain we're meant to think of is the woman the murder victim was going to kill. If she'd been nicer, she'd have appreciated that nice young man, you see, and none of this trouble would have happened. (hide spoiler)]

  • Eleanor
    2019-05-10 05:56

    A reread after many years. This was Tey’s first mystery and it shows. Not bad, but not as good as later ones.

  • Jane
    2019-04-20 08:34

    A wonderful opening pulled me straight into the 1920s. And straight into London’s theatreland.It was beautifully written and it was clear that Josephine Tey, already a successful playwright, knew and loved the world she was writing about. And that she understood the importance of the big picture, of the small things, and of the psychology of her characters.And in the very first chapter there was the crime. Such an elegant, clever scenario:” ‘Chap fainted,’ said someone. No one moved for a moment or two. Minding one’s own business in a crowd today is as much an instinct of self-preservation as a chameleon’s versatility. Perhaps someone would claim the chap. But no one did; and so a man with more social instinct or more self-importance than the rest moved forward to help the collapsed one. He was about to bend over the limp heap when he stopped as if stung and recoiled hastily. A woman shrieked three times horribly; and the pushing, heaving queue froze suddenly to immobility.In the clear white light of the naked electric in the roof, a man’s body, left alone by the instinctive withdrawal of the others, lay revealed in every detail. And rising slant-wise from the grey tweed of his coat was a little silver thing that winked wickedly in the baleful light.It was the handle of a dagger.”An audacious murder, in the middle of a queue of people, all pressing forward, eager to see the final performance of popular musical.The investigation fell to Inspector Alan Grant of Scotland Yard. A detective without the gimmicks, or idiosyncracies of many of his contemporaries, but with a great deal of intelligence and charm, I soon suspected that his creator was a little in love with him … quite understandably …There was little physical evidence, little witness evidence, but a careful, methodical investigation began, and in time the dead man was identified, his life examined, and suspects identified.Often the story was quiet, but it was always engaging.The characters were so well drawn, and they always offered me a question to ponder.There were some great moments and some lovely diversions: a trip to the Highlands of Scotland in pursuit of a fleeing suspect stood out for me.And the writing was wonderful. Josephine Tey wrote such lovely prose, balancing rich descriptions and perfectly observed dialogue, with intelligence and wit always threaded through.Elements of the modern police procedural can be seen, but this is very much a book of its time. The language, the world it describes tie it to the 1920s, and references to the Great War emphasise its lasting impact on a generation.I was caught up in that world, and with Inspector Grant and his investigation.The resolution owed as much to luck – or maybe policeman’s instinct – as solid police work.I didn’t mind that, but it did confirm my feeling that this was a good book rather that a great book.And certainly more than good enough to make sure that I will read my way through the rest of the series …

  • Nikki
    2019-05-15 09:58

    I expected to like this a lot. Golden Age crime fiction, I'm pretty sure my mother mentioned liking it, etc, etc. But I couldn't get past the endless racism, and the general feeling that Josephine Tey would be a men's rights activist now. I mean, a woman on the stage overshadows her male co-stars, and yet the whole tone is not, wow, her skill and grace and so on, but that she is secretly a conniving bitch. The whole story serves to hammer home that she's a woman who only cares about herself -- with very little actual evidence, which is funny coming from a detective story. Someone else summarised it really well, and I can only quote (warning, spoilers):So, someone who wants to kill a woman because he can't have her is sane. Someone who wants to kill a man to save her daughter's life is crazy. Very, very interesting, Tey. And at the end we're asked teasingly whether there's a villain in the story. I strongly suspect the villain we're meant to think of is the woman the murder victim was going to kill. If she'd been nicer, she'd have appreciated that nice young man, you see, and none of this trouble would have happened. (From Leonie's review on Goodreads)The description and so on can be as clever as it likes, but I couldn't stand one more slighting reference to "the Dago", or commentary about the "un-English crime", or any of that. And the mystery itself... it's obvious from the length of the book that the inspector is after the wrong man. It's obvious from the way the man and the people around him act, too. The only excuse for going along with the thin, motiveless explanation Grant dredges up is if you've got a prejudice to begin with and you're going to stick to your theory no matter what -- no matter how Tey makes a song and dance about Grant being bothered by the case. The reason Grant is wrong, well, at least you can't blame him there. There's virtually no clue, and nothing tied specifically to any suspect other than the red herring one. You can't guess it directly from the information given -- not a hope. I sound really scathing, but that's in part because I hoped I'd really enjoy this. I read it pretty much in one go: the narration is pretty compulsive, and the narrative voice is an interesting choice too. But the pretty sentences didn't save it from how bothered I was with the outdated stuff (reliance on reading people's faces, reliance on "national characters", etc). Now I've gone looking at reviews, I can see other people who didn't think much of this one did like her later work, so I might still be along for the ride there if I can get it from the library.Originally posted here.

  • Elizabeth (Alaska)
    2019-05-10 06:38

    A classic of detective fiction that I overlooked in the multitude of good titles that come my way. I'm so glad that has been rectified. From the first page I knew I would like it, as the writing is more complex than so many of the genre. It isn't all so pompous as this, but I certainly enjoyed my introduction to Josephine Tey. Long ago a lordly official had come down the pit queue and, with a gesture of his outstretched arm that seemed to guillotine hope, had said, "All after here standing room only." Having thus, with a mere contraction of his deltoid muscle, separated the sheep from the goats, he retired in Olympian state to the front of the theatre, where beyond the glass doors there was warmth and shelter.Inspector Alan Grant is certainly not pompous. He is far from the seemingly omniscient detective we see in other novels. He makes mistakes. He misjudges witnesses' character. Still, he has a talent for directing the work. The man in the queue, the murdered man, left no clue to his identity, yet by Grant directing staff appropriately, his identity was learned and the mystery pursued.This is an excellent example of the Golden Age mysteries. I like the period and will most certainly read more of this short series. It may not be up to the 4-stars I'm giving it - my top rating for the genre - but as it will lead me to more happy reading, I'm happy to rate it thusly.

  • Arwen56
    2019-05-06 08:59

    Dal punto di vista della scrittura, non c’è proprio da lamentarsi. E’ indubbiamente scritto bene. Alcune rapide osservazioni riescono a delineare benissimo i personaggi e a definirli in maniera efficace, persino quelli minori. Tuttavia, come “romanzo giallo” è un po’ carente di ritmo e il finale non mi è piaciuto per nulla. A dire il vero, non ho neanche ben capito la dinamica dell’omicidio e se possa davvero essere andata come viene narrato. Nonostante la ressa della coda, mi sembra un po’ improbabile. Comunque, in generale è più che decoroso.Non conoscevo l’autrice, ma ho scoperto che ha diversi estimatori e che i suoi romanzi successivi (questo è il primo) vengono giudicati di livello nettamente superiore. Qui soffre un po’, si dice, di inesperienza. Se mi capita, farò un altro tentativo con lei, perché il tenore generale è stato di mio gradimento, nonostante i difetti.

  • Laura
    2019-05-14 07:01

    Free download at Project Gutenberg AustraliaI just realized this is the first book of the Inspector Alan Grant series. As the previous book I've read this week, A Schilling for Candles, the plot is captivating and the investigation work follows the masters of the mystery genre. There is one more book of this series to be read,To Love and Be Wise.5* The Daughter of Time4* The Franchise Affair3* The Singing Sands4* Brat Farrar4* A Shilling for Candles4* The Man in the QueueTBR To Love and Be WiseTBR Miss Pym Disposes

  • Elizabeth (Miss Eliza)
    2019-05-02 06:38

    *Special Content only on my blog, Strange and Random Happenstance during Golden Summer (May-September 2013).Inspector Alan Grant has been given the infamous Queue case. A man with no identification was stabbed in a busy queue outside the Woffington Theatre as fans waited to see the final hurrah of Ray Marcable in the smash hit Didn't You Know? With just a knife and a handful of witnesses that didn't see anything, Inspector Grant is able to quickly build a case against the mysterious man he nicknames the Levantine, because of his swarthy appearance and the passionate and daring way the crime was committed. Yet what if all this evidence pointing at the unknown Levantine is just circumstantial? What if, while Grant builds a solid case against this one man, the killer walks free? Because even after hunting down the apparent killer through London and the Highlands, Grant still thinks that maybe, just maybe, there is a different interpretation of the evidence that he hasn't quite yet grasped. Dear lord, Josephine Tey sure loved to avoid paragraph breaks, sheesh. Sometimes there would be pages upon pages of just dense, heavy text that I would slog through. This is easily the most overly written book I have read in recent memory which caused my experience with the book to be a very labored one. The writing style lent nothing to the story, unless a lead weight around your neck is a plus with books. Now, I'm not slamming writers who others might consider as overly written, like Erin Morgenstern and The Night Circus... but there's overwritten and then there's a rich tapestry of words that are evocative and make a world vibrant and alive. This is not Josephine Tey. I have a feeling that to Robert Barnard, the Tey scholar and writer I've never heard of that wrote this book's introduction which has more paragraph breaks then the book's first chapter, that "them be fighting words." Because apparently, to denigrate Tey is outre, but to pile on the harsh criticism to Agatha Christie is perfectly acceptable. Now I've only read one Tey and many Christie... but if this book is a testament to Tey, then we are through.The aspect of this book that just baffled me is that it was a given that people in a queue would ignore each other and not be able to even slightly identify those around them after several hours in each others company. Is this a British thing that I just don't get despite my desire to be as British as can be while still being in Wisconsin? Because, let's put it this way; I have spent many an hour in a queue. I don't think I could even add it up, nor would I want to, because, let's put it this way, if I did, it would probably depress me to learn how much of my life has been spent waiting. From queues at conventions waiting for entrance and autographs, to queues at book signings, to just lining up for a movie, I have been in every kind of queue you could imagine, and you know what? In every instance I have talked to the people around me. I wasn't in an insular little bubble ignoring everyone and just playing on my phone, oh no. A chance comment from someone near me would spark a conversation, in fact the most recent that I remember clearly was when I went to see The Hobbit. The friend I was with, well, the conversation was lacking, so I took to talking to the picture of Martin Freeman on the movie poster, and I was lambasting him for the crap fest his tv show The Robinsons was, the people behind us spoke up saying how much they agreed on this fact and we got to talking about Martin Freeman and his mostly genius career (The Robinsons excluded).At first I was thinking that maybe the people in this book's queue just didn't have anything in common... like one does at a convention or book signing, but then I thought, uh, no. These people are Ray Marcable fanatics (yes, I did audibly groan at her name)... of course they have a common link. So unless someone can come out and offer me 100% proof that Britain is not at all like America in it's queues then I'm calling Josephine Tey out as saying the crux of her book plays false. J'accuse!Though the superfluous writing combined with an illogical premise isn't what made this book fail me in every way, it's the fact that it was boring. Alan Grant bored me to tears. He just toddles through life looking nothing like a police officer and always being complimented on this. He sits in tubs and at fancy restaurants where he is fawned over while he pushes the case to the back of his mind, because not thinking about it too much helps him solve it. He goes to the race track, he goes fishing, he goes and resigns and we never hear from him again, I wish! As for the rest of the characters... no one is really painted in a bad light. They're all just people going about their lives. Boring dull people with boring dull lives. If you think about it, if there was a murder and you were accused, I'd bet only a handful of us would have an alibi, because, let's face it, our lives are rather dull and unvaried and go along as they always have. Therefore, by extension, in Tey's book, while no one really has an alibi, they are just as dull as we are on the whole. Who wants to read about people like us? A good book is an escape, not a dulled mirror of our day to day lives. Give me something to whet my appetite, make me want to read late into the night, not hope to misplace the book and never find it again.

  • Abbey
    2019-05-01 04:42

    1929, #1 Inspector Alan Grant, London and Scotland; also published as "Killer in the Crowd".The Man In the Queue gets himself murdered, and the chase is on! Her weakest novel, but still very good stuff. Cosy police procedural, three-and-one-half stars.Playwright Elizabeth Mackintosh's first novel, originally published under the "Gordon Daviot" name in 1929 and later as "Josephine Tey", is a true 1920s' thriller, based on the police procedural format, very similar in style and tone to Philip McDonald's then extremely popular mysteries. With the likeable Inspector Grant at the helm it works pretty well, due to a strong plot that has mostly been well-worked out (not many loose ends) and quite smoothly, if s mite stodgily, written. A dead man with stab wounds, a gun (but very few personal belongings otherwise), and no identification is found in the midst of a long theater line just before the box-office opens for a popular play. We follow the somewhat famous Inspector Grant as he works his way through this convoluted case, as he tries to identify first the murdered man, and then his killer, all the while dealing with huge publicity and political maneuvering in the police force. The threads are many, and tightly interwoven, and Ms. Tey's writing is smooth, if rather slow-going. The ending is the only weak thing about this now-classic story, as it resorts to an extremely theatrical bit. It looks as though Ms. Tey has written herself into a corner and has had to resort to a then-often-used cliche (already a cliche by the late 1920s!) for a supposedly shocking finish. Up to the last chapter the plot is a good one, however, as the characters are extremely likeable and very well-drawn, and the police setting fairly decently done - if a bit sketchily. And the pacing isn't bad either.This was Ms. Tey's first novel, and it does show a bit, but only in comparison with her later works, which improve enormously one by one; she becomes, IMO, one of the very best at the "psychological mystery" by the mid-1940s. As a novel representative of the 1920s popular style, her first mystery is a fairly strong one, with beautiful descriptive passages (if a mite florid at times). Ms. Tey didn't produce a lot of novels but what she did publish was extremely good stuff. Although this is her least interesting novel for my taste, it's still a very good read, and very entertaining - at least until the stage-y ending, but that doesn't occur until the last few pages. Recommended, as are all Miss Tey's works.

  • Orinoco Womble (tidy bag and all)
    2019-04-28 08:59

    Published in 1929, there's a definite "Maigret" vibe to the first Inspector Grant novel--and coming from me that's a compliment. Like Maigret, Grant is stolid and silent but very aware of everything that goes on around him--visible as well as hunches, le flair as they say in French. ("Flair" means "sense of smell" like a good hunting dog.) Well Grant has it in spades--the ability to smell out facts as well as the English idea of "flair" meaning style. However, some of his deductions had me grinning. Yes, I know, it's a period piece--as in written in that period just before the crash. And yes, I know it reflects ideas many of the British readership of the time held and would accept without blinking. But.A man is stabbed in a theatre queue ("waiting in line" for our American friends) and "the very femininity of it proclaimed the Levant, or at the very least one used to Levantine habits of life...the picturesqueness of the thing was Levantine." (italics mine). First time I've ever heard a murder called "picturesque." You're trying to tell me that in the 20s no London lowlife carried a shiv? In a country where guns were hard to get?"The foreigner's rat-like preference of the sewers to the open...both were more likely to hide than to run." Meaning the killer probably hasn't left London; and yeah, rats, foreigners--what's the difference? In Grant's world, Englishmen don't use knives or attack a man from behind. "His gorge rose at the contemplation of a mind capable of conceiving the crime. " And this is a guy who made it to the CID in the city of London? What a sheltered life he must have led--he hasn't even read much Dickens, apparently. Leaving London to pursue the chase to Scotland doesn't stop the platitudes. The Girl has "all a red-haired person's shrewdness and capability." Perhaps his mental orthodoxy is what leads to Grant getting hold of the wrong end of so many sticks in this investigation.That said, Tey is a good exponent of the writer's craft. It's an engaging read, not the facile contrived un-plot usually found in today's "period cosies." She respects the reader's intelligence when it comes to the puzzle--it's all show and very little tell until the totally unexpected ending. I could have done without the final lines in which the author breaks the fourth wall, but apart from that it was a cracking good read for what started out as a perfectly foul couple of days.

  • Ruthiella
    2019-05-05 02:52

    The Man in the Queue is not only the first Inspector Grant mystery by Tey but her first book, in fact. In it , Tey breaks one of the cardinal rules of classic crime fiction: “No accident must ever help the detective, nor must he ever have an unaccountable intuition which proves to be right”. Inspector Grant uses his intuition quite a bit to solve his cases in my experience, in particular in this title.In the line for a popular musical in its last week’s run, a man is mortally stabbed. Of course, given the crush of people pushing in the line, intent mainly on getting the best position possible, no one saw a thing. I am just going to state that plotting is not Tey’s strong point and leave it at that. What I did like about The Man in the Queue was the undercover aspects of it. None of it admissible I assume, but I did get a kick out of police sergeants posing as peddlers to get dirt from gossipy maids and Grant’s fishing expedition where he wasn’t actually angling for trout but for his suspect in the Scottish Highlands.

  • Katrina
    2019-05-10 08:38

    What an intriguing, engrossing mystery. It had a bit of a slow start, and I have to drop a star for the hero - Grant - who is the least interesting character in this oddly elaborate tale. I suppose that's part of the point, to create a bit of a blank slate who can adapt to his circumstances and shine the spotlight where needed. The cast of characters is otherwise full of quirky, hilarious, off-beat Dickensian personalities. They're delightful to meet, and some of my favorite parts of the book happened in brief one-off exchanges with characters who are unlikely to appear in future Inspector Grant novels.This means, among other effects, that my sympathies transferred rather quickly to the criminal the inspector spent most of the book doggedly hunting down. Grant, too, was rather more of a misogynist than I would have expected from the pen of such a clever female author. He frequently makes assumptions based on ideas of widespread female hysteria and is completely baffled when women defy his expectations. Again - this must be an intentional choice in developing his character, since so much of the story was focused on setting up a traditional detective story and then neatly turning all the assumptions on their head.It's a brilliant story, in a lot of ways, and perhaps four stars is selling it a little too short. I suppose I'm mostly concerned that Grant won't be an interesting enough personality to carry the other books once the initial shine has worn off (although I do intend to give them a try). This one, though, is worth a longer, spoiler-filled analysis - with a particular focus on how one defines "heroes" and "villains" - that I may indulge in at some point.On the purely literary level, this was a beautifully written love letter to England (while being slyly critical of it in many respects). The descriptions - largely of landscape and shifting weather - made me long to go back. It's the type of book that made me fall in love with the country as I was growing up, and it pulls up such fond memories from my too-brief periods traveling through Scotland and England. I'm glad, as a lover of both excellent mystery writing and of the country as a whole, to have this book on my shelf.

  • Mmyoung
    2019-04-21 07:34

    Although an “interesting” first mystery novel -- and a very promising one -- this book has a number of flaws. It is unclear what “type” of mystery novel Tey (Elizabeth Mackintosh) was attempting to write. Was it a police procedural? An action adventure? A discourse on the realities of justice? Insightful examination of the moral and intellectual quandaries of a detective? All these different types of mystery novels seemed to have been wedged together into one and unfortunately, the seams do show. At different times in the book the writer functions as a disinterested observer of life, as the omniscient recorder of the thoughts of all the characters and as a disembodied “I” who knows and interacts with the detective. Tey’s writing shows great promise and even with the technical difficulties mentioned above this is certainly a book that would be enjoyed by most fans of the British murders mysteries written in the 1920s.Spoilers ahead.The last few lines of the book ask the reader to consider the question of who has been the villain. The person we finally come to realize did the murder? Most people would argue no. The person who was murdered? One could make a good argument that that was the case. Or are we to think of the person whose actions motivated the behaviour of the murderer? It is perhaps only in retrospect and after years of public education that readers are likely to realize that the core story of this novel is that of a man who continues to feel ownership of a woman who has long since left him behind. One might even say that he becomes a stalker. Certainly at the time this was first published there would have been many who would have felt far more sympathy for the man whose disappointment in love leads him to suicide than for the woman who rejected him. Indeed the writer, and the major characters, do not seem to be excessively concerned that this man was willing to kill a woman rather than “lose" her. When once one realizes that this is a story about a woman lashing out to protect another woman from a man who is willing to commit murder-suicide then the story changes from one of cozy murder into a frightening glimpse of how little things have really changed in the last 100 years.

  • C.
    2019-05-04 03:57

    “The Man In The Queue” is Josephine Tey's first novel with this pseudonym and her famous series' début. Though her catalogue is short, this Scotswoman unfortunately dead at only 52, Elizabeth Mackintosh is renowned among the leading authors of mystery. She has true skill. She is a lady of letters, adept at fashioning a labyrinthine plot out of bare bones. Three stars are modest, which take several factors into consideration. My enjoyment and admiration rank highly among them.Police fiction does not thrill me. It would have to be exceptional to obtain five stars. That is personal taste of course. I look forward to Elizabeth's other novels. I was unconvinced by the eventual motive. Taking care to write no details: how improbable to pursue anybody stupidly and to consider killing or dying because someone we fancy does not feel likewise! I do not buy into class notions either, among family; for example a parent not feeling she belongs with upper crust offspring. However those things are minor. I might have bestowed four stars, if not for a character who suddenly reveals all at the end. A tip is reasonable but not the solution to the case.The traits I admire are many. After the first few chapters, I eagerly jogged along as Alan and his team strove to derive strong clues from next to nothing: a dead man without identification and only a few things in his pockets. I like that Alan was imperfect and slapped his forehead over things he could have checked. By the time he headed for Inverness, a place I have been, I was hooked and his undercover adventures there were most certainly exciting! I adore everyone he met and the quality of story Elizabeth created. She clearly loved music. I savoured her beautifully-chosen symphonic adjectives!

  • Margaret
    2019-05-13 05:55

    Rating could be closer to 2.5.Josephine Tey was my mother's favorite writer. Among the few possessions she left me were her beat-up paperbacks of all Tey's books. (She'd given the rest of her books to the library at her retirement home.) Up till now I'd only read Brat Farrar. Now I'm in the mood to read the rest of them.But this was so odd. Some of it was very good. Some of it was confusing. The 2-pages paragraphs bothered me. The resolution was so strange. (view spoiler)[How does a brooch with the intertwined initials "MR" work just as well as "RM?"(hide spoiler)]. I did like Inspector Grant's fallibility.

  • meeners
    2019-05-05 03:53

    apparently this was her first novel, and it shows. josephine tey is always best when she forgets about the actual crime and lets her characters get on with their lives, which are always more interesting than the crime itself. but in this novel she starts with a sensational premise (man murdered in a queue, in a kind of reverse locked room mystery) and then is forever stuck trying to make it work. the sleuthing is tedious, the logic is flimsy, the typically tey character interactions that might have made it work are here almost entirely absent, and the ending is rushed and unfulfilling. what a disappointment.

  • Daniel Clark
    2019-04-21 09:58

    The mystery was all there, but the ending wasn't executed like I expected. I liked the setup and I was able to keep track of characters and follow the train of thought of Inspector Grant. The best part was the notion that an inspector has to believe he really has the guilty party, because if there is any doubt the moral foundation fails. The big fault I would say was the big reveal at the end. It was satisfying in that it tied up the loose ends, but it was unsatisfying in the way it was revealed--he didn't have to work for it. Overall, a good little murder mystery. BTW rating: PG for themes

  • Sarah
    2019-05-18 07:34

    Well, they say you shouldn't judge a book by its cover... I'd have to add "or by its author's reputation or by its Goodreads score!"An unknown man is stabbed in the queue of a theatre show's last night. Inspector Alan Grant struggles all through the book to find out the who and the why.This is apparently Josephine Tey's first novel, so I might just be able to forgive her for the dreadfully contrived ending and the disappointment I felt. But I certainly cannot recommend it.

  • Barbara
    2019-04-24 03:46

    Well, I raced through this book to find out who did it and why. I really enjoyed it and the solution was fairly unexpected, though not a complete surprise. I liked the style of the writing and the descriptions of the Scottish countryside. Easy to see that Tey (real name Elizabeth MacKintosh) was an Inverness lady. AND someone who knew her way around theatres. I'll be reading more Inspector Grant books.

  • Susanna - Censored by GoodReads
    2019-05-20 03:59

    Very much a period piece. Including frequent use of the term "dago."Probably about 2.5 stars.

  • Leah
    2019-05-02 06:01

    I was expecting this to be another one of Tey's hard-to-define detective novels - unique settings, out-of-the-way crimes, a dash of flair in both the situation and its resolution - and what I got instead was a really, really good procedural, written in 1929.This is not, NOT, a whodunnit. This is a procedural. It is thorough, methodical, cleanly-paced and driven. Inspector Grant is clever but not infallible, experienced rather than gifted. He is dry, and determined, and a good Inspector. He thinks through his decisions, and only occasionally gets them wrong. He is perhaps a little more like your favourite Golden Age detective only in that his life is not falling to pieces around him while he plods cleverly after his criminals: he has had the good sense not to marry, and he has a comfortable inheritance that does for his daily life more than adequately. But all our favourite heroes are not police inspectors; they are amateurs, and Grant has the benefit of both a solid grounding in police work and a professional staff to back up his inspired detection. I haven't read enough Maigret to be sure, but perhaps there's a crossover here?This is an excellent book. If pressed, I might call it a procedural-whodunnit hybrid, because there are some about-turns that the whodunnit reader can see signalled a mile off, but which don't strictly conform to procedural rules. Either way, I really enjoyed it and I am glad to have discovered such an early example of a genre I normally associate with a much later era.