Sunday, November 7, 2021

The Franchise Affair by Josephine Tey

Followers (or frequent visitors) of my blog should have known by now that Agatha Christie is one of my favorite authors. For some time I've been searching for her contemporaries in crime/detective fiction, who is as good as (or even better than, though I doubt there'll ever be!) Christie. I've tried Dorothy L. Sayers - quite good, but lacks the human nature aspect. Then I saw a beautiful Folio Society edition of Josephine Tey's book in my boss' shelf, and I couldn't resist to borrow it. So, this is it!

🔹️ The Franchise Affair is about two eccentric women from Milford - mother and daughter - who are accused of kidnapping a young girl to force her to work as housemaid.

🔹️ Marion Sharpe (the daughter) called a local lawyer called Robert Blair to assist her in an interview with Scotland Yard. A 15 y.o. girl called Betty Cane told the police a rather fantastic story about how two women from The Franchise (the Sharpes' house) had given her a lift, wanted to hire her as a maid - which she refused - and imprisoned her in the attic and beat her. She gave a detailed information about Marion and her mother, the car, the house - which is surprisingly quite accurate

🔹️ So, this is not a usual whodunit story, but rather to decide which party is a liar.

🔹️ Though quite reluctant at first, Robert vigorously defended Marion and her mother - and in the process, fell in love with Marion! To prove that Betty Kane lied (Robert trusted the Sharpes from the first), Robert must find witnesses who saw/ knew where Betty was during the period when she said she's abducted.

🔹️ If you expect a fast-paced crime story, this one isn't for you. The investigation runs quite slowly, along with our introduction to each character. And since Robert is a lawyer, of course there's a few court scenes. Add a bit of romance into it, and voila... you get the gist of the book.

🔹️ Was I impressed by the book? Not really, I was just curious how Betty did it (oh yes, half through the book you won't doubt about her credibility). And since you'd be sure that in the end the Sharpes will win, the only curiosity left is how they will achieve it and how Betty will react (will it be a sweet revenge?) Not very impressive, huh?

🔹️ Disappointed as I was with this book, I still want to try another from Josephine Tey: Brat Farrar. I heard good things about it. If it's failed, then I'll drop her from my list altogether.

🔹️ Which author do you think is comparable to Christie? Any recommendations? Some say Ngaio Marsh is one of the best, though not as good as Christie. Do you think she worth a try? Or should I just stick to Christie only?

Rating: 3,5 / 5

I think picking this title for Folio Society collection is wasting money. My boss should have bought Christie's The Murder of Roger Ackroyd - not only it comes with great story, the pictures look fabulous too. This one's is meh...

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