Penguin have a treat in store for fans of British ‘Golden Age’ crime novels. On 22nd September they are publishing new editions of three novels by a woman who many people feel deserves to be up there with Allingham, Christie, Marsh and Sayers in the Pantheon of female crime fiction giants.
Elizabeth Mackintosh was born in Inverness on 25th July 1896. When she left college, her day job was what we now call PE teacher at various schools in England and Scotland, but she returned to Inverness in 1923 to care for her invalid parents. Writing as Gordon Daviot, she published her first novel, Kif: An Unvarnished History, in 1929, but her work had appeared in periodicals and magazines before this.
She is best known today for her crime novels featuring Inspector Alan Grant. The first of these, originally called Killer in the Crowd, but later retitled The Man In the Queue, appeared in 1929, still under the Gordon Daviot pen-name. For the following five she adopted the name of her great-great grandmother. The books are:
A Shilling for Candles (1936)
The Franchise Affair (1948)
To Love and Be Wise (1950)
The Daughter of Time (1951)
The Singing Sands (1952)
THE FRANCHISE AFFAIR
The ‘Franchise’ in question is the country home of Marion Sharpe and her mother. When the apparently mild mannered pair are accused of kidnap and abuse by a local war orphan, Betty Kane, Inspector Alan Grant and local solicitor Robert Blair are called in to get to the bottom of the story.
TO LOVE AND BE WISE
Once again, we are in that most favoured setting of mystery writers of the time, a peaceful and sleepy English village. Salcott St Mary has a celebrated and rather exotic resident, the young and gifted Hollywood photographer, Leslie Searle. When Searle disappears without trace, Alan Grant has to discover if the disappearance is voluntary, or the result of something much more sinister.
THE DAUGHTER OF TIME
Tey’s most celebrated novel and probably one of the greatest crime novels of all time, has a delightfully simple but clever plot. Alan Grant is laid up in bed, recovering from a broken leg and bored out of his mind. While looking at the celebrated portrait of Richard III, Grant struggles to see the evil fiend of Shakespeare’s imagining. With the help of the British Museum and an eager American researcher, Grant sets out to solve one of history’s greatest unanswered questions – who killed Edward and Richard, the Princes in The Tower?
These three novels with introductions by Tana French, Kate Mosse and Alexander McCall Smith, will be available on 22nd September, and nearer the time I will be running a give-away competition to win all three books .