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The Franchise Affair (1948)

de Josephine Tey

Outros autores: Veja a seção outros autores.

Séries: Alan Grant (3)

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2,157837,504 (3.89)287
Marion Sharpe and her mother seem an unlikely duo to be found on the wrong side of the law. Quiet and ordinary, they have led a peaceful and unremarkable life at their country home, The Franchise. Unremarkable that is, until the police turn up with a demure young woman on their doorstep. Not only does Betty Kane accuse them of kidnap and abuse, she can back up her claim with a detailed description of the attic room in which she was kept, right down to the crack in its round window. But there's something about Betty Kane's story that doesn't quite add up. Inspector Alan Grant of Scotland Yard is stumped. And it takes Robert Blair, local solicitor turned amateur detective, to solve the mystery that lies at the heart of The Franchise Affair ...… (mais)
Adicionado recentemente porChelleve, hisgirlfriday, wellsemp, MaryEileen, dresdon, Valerie.Powell, jcm790
Bibliotecas HistóricasEdward Estlin Cummings
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Mostrando 1-5 de 83 (seguinte | mostrar todas)
A young woman comes forward with a story of kidnapping and servitude, and an accusation directed at a mother and daughter occupying a property with a name in the community. The way it all shakes out is thrilling, humane, and comic! Nice to read a mystery without a murder at the center sometimes. I dug this even more than The Daughter of Time, the only other Tey I've read. Definitely seems like checking out more would be worthwhile. ( )
  Amateria66 | May 24, 2024 |
'The Franchise Affair' is now my favourite Josephine Tey novel. I loved the writing, the originality of the story and the deep insights into characters who all came to feel real to me.

The story is deeply embedded in the culture of rural England as it was a few years after the end of World War II, yet the novel felt modern and fresh.

The quality of the prose pulled me into the story from the first page. Tey effortlessly captured the character of a small English Market Town that has recently been through some hard times but whose inhabitants have never doubted that they would muddle through somehow.

The story is told mostly through the eyes of Robert Blair, a respected local solicitor leading a long-established firm. He is a nice but habitually dull man who is content, in his forties to have an unchallenging, unchanging professional life. He has never married. His household is maintained by his aunt. His life is one of pleasant, unvarying routine. He is a man who blends so well with his environment that he seems to embody the decent but complacent, slightly stagnant spirit of the town. Then, an unexpected phone call at the end of an ordinary day drops him down the rabbit hole that will become known to the public as The Franchise Affair. What follows disrupts his routine and robs him of his equilibrium. It tests his values and requires him to choose a side and take a risk.

Despite what is implied by the publisher's synopsis, 'The Franchise Affair' is not a thriller or a detective story. It is a beautifully written, civilised, empathetic account of the consequences of vicious lies aimed at the vulnerable.

It isn't a novel where the main challenge is to decide whether or not the alleged kidnapping happened but rather one that asks the reader to consider what a decent man should do when faced with uncertainty, doubt and risk.

'The Franchise Affair' is, nevertheless, a lively book. There are dramatic courtroom scenes. There are instances of violence and vandalism prompted by hate and malice arising from the charged atmosphere around the accusations made against the two women who live at The Franchise. There are vitriolic letters in the gutter press that closely resemble the hate spewed out by keyboard warriors on social media today. Hate, it seems, is immutable. There are also instances of kindness and protection prompted by people whose values insist on decent behaviour. values that req people should be treated decently.

I became completely engaged with the people in the book. I was more concerned with them and what they were going through than with whether or not the kidnapping had happened or even whether or not the women would be found guilty. The plot kept my interest but the people captured my emotions.

I recommend the audiobook version of 'The Franchise Affair'. Carole Boyd's narration perfectly captured the tone of the prose and helped bring the characters to life. ( )
  MikeFinnFiction | Apr 27, 2024 |
This is one of Tey’s stand-alone novels, though it is set in the same “world” as the Inspector Grant books. Grant himself makes a cursory appearance at the beginning and the end of the book for a few pages, and is referred to by the protagonist on occasion.

The main story revolves around a middle-aged, quiet, and complaisent lawyer (Robert Blair) in the small town of Milford, and what happens when he answers a telephone call just as he is about to leave the office. The call is from Marion Sharpe and she and her mother are about to be interviewed by the police regarding the kidnapping and vicious beating of a teenaged girl. Her declarations of innocence and request for aid touch Robert Blair in a way he does not understand. Instead of going home, he goes to their home, called The Franchise, to be present at the questioning.

Betty Kane, a demure, quiet, and endearing seventeen-year-old war orphan, is the accuser. She went missing for a month then showed up at home beaten and badly bruised, wearing just a smock. She not only accuses the Sharpes of kidnapping her and beating her with a dog whip, but when put to describe details of her attic prison, describes the house in exacting detail, right down to the crack she made in the attic window while trying to escape.

Even though criminal work is not what Blair’s firm does, he nevertheless is drawn in by Marion’s open and sincere puzzlement at the accusation and why all the circumstantial facts point clearly to the truth in Betty Kane’s story. He becomes her active champion and an amateur detective, instigating and conducting exhaustive investigations, and brings in a friend and noted litigator for a consultation.

The house itself is a minor character in the book. It is far enough out of town that there are no houses or other amenities anywhere nearby. It has a “fallen on evil times” look and is downright ugly. This lends the house a certain mystery and makes it and its owners the subject of active gossip in town. No neighbours also means no witnesses. Quickly the town and the press have made up their mind about the guilt of the quiet and insular Sharpes.

Betty is “not the sort you would notice”, and yet she has “appeal”. Her dark blue eyes, her pale skin, her mousey hair, and level gaze, Blair noted, conveyed sincerity, honesty, and innocence. After due course, the police are ready to arrest the Sharpes, and Blair intercedes on their behalf, hoping to buy time until the trial.

In addition to the smooth, tight writing, Tey is also very good at showing that not everything can necessarily have a happy ending and justice comes in many forms.

As I have noted about her books previously, Tey uses local (to England) references in her writing to convey a sense of place and/or deeper meaning to the sentiments being expressed. In most cases, the reader can easily skip it with no damage to the flow and understanding of the plot. In the case of this book, however, there were a sufficiently large number, that they had me going to the internet to look up what was meant or implied by the word or phrase.

I should be clear. The book would have read just as well if I had not done so. Knowing the information only deepened my own understanding of the era, not anything key to the developing plot.

A very good, satisfying read. ( )
  Dorothy2012 | Apr 22, 2024 |
Nominally an Inspector Grant book (number 3 in the 6 book series) this is less about Grant - who barely makes an appearance - and more about Robert Blair, a wills and probate solicitor in a small town. At the beginning of the book, he is becoming aware that he is in a rut and whilst tradition is nice and steady, there is perhaps, something more missing, but he doesnt know what. He is almost out the door when his phone goes. Marion Sharpe is in need of help. She, along with her mother, has been accused of kidnapping and holding a young girl hostage in their decrepit and lonely house. The girl's testimony is both specific and vague enough to be almost impossible to disprove, and a lack of proof that they didnt do it is likewise almost impossible to prove.
Blair agrees to provde legal support as best he can, despite not being a criminal lawyer, and as he gets involved with Marion and the case, finds he wants to continue giving both legal and emotional support. He does everything to help the women out, instigating investigations and doing the checks that the police seem unwilling or constrained not to take forward. Initially the police are not willing to press charges on the basis there is nothing more than one person's word against another. However, the national press get involved and soon whip the reading public's emotions into a frenzy, making the police reinvestigate the issue, and the women’s case makes its’ way into the assizes.
Considering how old this book is (first published in 1948) it’s both interesting and sad how little things have changed – especially around the press, and the general reading public, who takes things on the face of it. As expected the case appears for one day on the front page, they present a judgement on the Sharpes verses the innocent-looking 15 year old Betty, and the letters page (today’s Comment section) is inundated until late the following week with hysteria – which leads to some windows being smashed at The Franchise. However, it has almost died down when another gutter publication (previous heroes including a left wing killer being persecuted by his government who – shock – want to lock him up for being a “patriot” for killing people). Sadly things have not changed much as of today, only the vehicle.
The dénouement comes late in the story and is much of luck as anything. It leads to a showdown in court with the testimony of Betty being pulled apart and the façade of her innocence being shown to be false to all who were willing it to be true.
  nordie | Oct 14, 2023 |
This book just might make you fall in love with lawyers. Robert Blair is such a well-developed and likable (a lawyer no less) character, as is his Irish lawyer friend, Macdermott, who contributes to the concept of getting justice for Blair's clients. I didn't think that I would like any of Tey's books better than the audiobook of The Singing Sands, yet this one, also skillfully read by Karen Cass, tops it because of Tey's excellent psychological portrayal of the story's protagonist and secondary characters. Anyone who opts for the audiobooks (The Josephine Tey Collection-61 hours of listening to 8 of Tey's works read by Karen Cass) is in for a treat! I highly recommend. ( )
  PaperDollLady | Sep 8, 2023 |
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Nome do autorFunçãoTipo de autorObra?Status
Tey, Josephineautor principaltodas as ediçõesconfirmado
Allié, ManfredTradutorautor secundárioalgumas ediçõesconfirmado
Barnard, RobertIntroduçãoautor secundárioalgumas ediçõesconfirmado
Boyd, CaroleNarradorautor secundárioalgumas ediçõesconfirmado
Fraser, AntoniaIntroduçãoautor secundárioalgumas ediçõesconfirmado
French, TanaIntroduçãoautor secundárioalgumas ediçõesconfirmado
Hogarth, PaulIlustradorautor secundárioalgumas ediçõesconfirmado
Neuhaus, VolkerTradutorautor secundárioalgumas ediçõesconfirmado
Westrup, Jadwiga P.Tradutorautor secundárioalgumas ediçõesconfirmado
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It was four o'clock of a spring evening; and Robert Blair was thinking of going home.
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Marion Sharpe and her mother seem an unlikely duo to be found on the wrong side of the law. Quiet and ordinary, they have led a peaceful and unremarkable life at their country home, The Franchise. Unremarkable that is, until the police turn up with a demure young woman on their doorstep. Not only does Betty Kane accuse them of kidnap and abuse, she can back up her claim with a detailed description of the attic room in which she was kept, right down to the crack in its round window. But there's something about Betty Kane's story that doesn't quite add up. Inspector Alan Grant of Scotland Yard is stumped. And it takes Robert Blair, local solicitor turned amateur detective, to solve the mystery that lies at the heart of The Franchise Affair ...

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