Brat Farrar by Josephine Tey

Back to Penguin classic crime and this book by the Scottish author Josephine Tey was first published in 1949.

The Ashby family had lost their parents in an accident at an early age and their Aunt Bee has taken over the care of the children and the running of the family estate and the riding stables business until the eldest son reaches the age of 21. The family consists of two sets of twins, the eldest being Patrick, but he hadn’t been able to stand life without his parents and had commited suicide at the age of 13 leaving Simon to inherit everything. Patrick’s body was never found although a suicide note was. The twin girls Ruth and Jane are younger. Eight years on Simon is just about to celebrate his 21st birthday and rule the roost.

Alec Lodings, a not very successful actor and distant connection of the family has a different idea though and when he meets Brat Farrar in a pub and absent-mindedly mistakes him for the dead Patrick he persuades the Ashby look-alike to pretend that he is Patrick and go back to Clare, the family home to claim the inheritance, for a consideration of course.

I did enjoy this book in the end but to begin with I had a horrible feeling between my shoulder blades. Somehow the thought of an interloper rolling up and snatching everything away from the rightful owner and deceiving everyone was chilling to me. However as the story unfolded I lost that feeling. I think that if you read quite a lot of vintage crime books then you might find the storyline a bit predictable but not annoyingly so.

2 thoughts on “Brat Farrar by Josephine Tey

  1. Ooh yes, I remember this one! I discovered it via Mary Stewart’s The Ivy Tree, and I ended up liking Stewart’s take better than the original.

    • Niranjana,

      Thanks for the info. I didn’t realise that Mary Stewart had written a version of it. I’ll get around to The Ivy Tree sometime because I’m trying to work my way through everything by both authors. I may be some time!

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