To Love and Be Wise by Josephine Tey (♦♦♦♦½)
Inspector Alan Grant Mystery Book 4
Scotland Yard Inspector Alan Grant is invited to a party to celebrate the launch of the latest book by writer Lavinia Fitch. At the door, Grant meets a dashing young man looking to be introduced to Miss Fitch's nephew. Grant handles the introduction. The man name is Leslie Searle, a renowned American photographer to movie stars. Lavinia is so taken with Searle, that she invites him to spend the weekend in her company, her sister's, her nephew's, and her nephew's fiancée's at her country home in Salcott Saint Mary, a community of artists by the river Rushmere. Within days, nobody knows of Searle's whereabouts for he has vanished without a trace. Is Searle's disappearance the result of accidental drowning, murder, or something entirely altogether?
When I read The Daughter of Time earlier this year, I forgot to thank Dorothy @ The Nature of Things for introducing me to Josephine Tey. I found that novel short and so endearing that I promised myself to read another of Tey's books as soon as I had a chance.
I love mysteries, but oftentimes they lean heavily towards the creepy and grotesque, thus I have found myself avoiding that genre as years go by. To Love and Be Wise is not that kind of mystery. It is a police procedural with a unique and refreshing twist, as engrossing as The Daughter of Time, though of a different variety.
It seems that authentic characters—by that I mean characters that think and speak as one does in real life—, wit, and perceptive commentary of human nature (courtesy of theater actress Martha Hallard and Sergeant Williams) are the trademarks of the Inspector Alan Grant series.
It is great to read an author who imparted a fresh spin into a genre that I thought was populated by the bizarre and grisly. Josephine Tey's Alan Grant mysteries are breezy and as literary as anything in the genre can be.