The Daughter of Time Laura Perch Ms. Heilmeier Honors World History 13 October 2012 Tey, Josephine. The Daughter of Time. New York: Touchstone, 1951. Alan Grant is a policeman in England who falls through a trap door and breaks his leg. As Grant recovers from his injury, his life becomes confined to a hospital bed, and he lies in boredom day after day. Grant desires for mental challenge, so his friend Marta, an actress who visits him often, suggests he solve an old mystery.
Marta brings him various photos of people concerned in mysteries from the past, and Grant is not satisfied until he falls upon the portrait of Richard III of England, who transfixes him. Richard III is accused of killing his nephews, the sons of Edward IV. Grant looks deeply at the features of Richard III in his portrait who does not appear to be a murderer at all. He becomes convinced that Richard is not the one who killed his nephews and decides to investigate the case.
In the novel, Josephine Tey convinces the reader that Richard III did not kill his nephews, and she proposes that humans are not to always accept exactly what they are taught. Throughout The Daughter of Time, it not only becomes clear to the characters in the novel, but also to the reader, that Richard III did not murder his two nephews. As Grant begins to investigate, he asks every human who comes to visit him what they think when they see the face of Richard III. All give him an answer, no answers are the same, but none of the responses are that Richard III’s face looks like the face of a murderer (32).
When he asks them what they know of King Richard III of England they reply the same, that he is the man who murdered his brother’s children. Grant researches through history textbooks that all claim the man is a murderer. Grant remains unconvinced. He comes upon a novel about Richard III written by Sir Thomas More. Sir Thomas More is known as the most respected and trustworthy person in all of history, and no one dares to contradict him. Grant reads his novel, which states that Sir James Tyrrel murdered the boys for Richard III by suffocating them with pillows as they slept in the tower.
More also states that Richard poisoned his wife in an attempt to marry his niece who is the heir to the throne. More says Richard III would have attempted to marry his niece for the same reason he killed his nephews, to secure his position as ruler (46). Grant questions his thoughts when he reads Thomas More’s account of the event, but he comes to a realization; Thomas More was five years old when the murder occurred, and eight years old when Richard III died. Grant is disgusted; everything in that historical account is hearsay (80). Grant begins to research the case of Richard III even more.
It seems as if up until the moment of the death of Edward IV, Richard III is entirely devoted to him, so there is a only a very small chance that he had suddenly changed overnight (85). Marta is friends with a boy named Brent Carradine, who is a young student with an interest in history. She sends Brent to help Grant on his mystery. Carradine concludes that Sir Thomas More receives his account on Richard III from a man named John Morton, who is Henry VII’s Archbishop and Richard III’s biggest enemy, bringing up the question of the reliability of More’s information (97).
Edward IV takes a bribe from the King of France to make peace, which Morton favors. Richard highly dislikes the deal that his brother makes, and angers Morton in his outspoken comments (99). Grant and Carradine continue to research and make more discoveries. Henry VII brings a Bill of Attainder against Richard in front of Parliament twenty years after the said time of the murder. It accuses him of tyranny and cruelty but does not even mention the murder. The lack of mentioning the murder leads to the conclusion that the boys are not actually missing (101).
Even if Richard got rid of the two nephews, there are still the boy’s five sisters between him and the throne (105). As Grant continues to look for facts, he begins to call historical myths and false history Tonypandy, after the widely depicted Tonypandy Riot or the Boston Massacre. Brent researches and discovers how kind Richard is to his brother Edward, when Edward he died he holds an elaborate funeral for him. Edward also appoints Richard guardian of his boys and Protector of the Kingdom in case of any trouble. It is clear that Richard is not a murderous man (115).
An act called Titulus Regius is created, declaring Edward’s children illegitimate and giving the title of the crown to Richard. But, as soon as Henry VII takes the throne, he repeals the act without even reading it, proving he has some concern over the place of Edward and his children (127). Eleanor Butler is the wife of Edward IV. Even after the princes were ”murdered” she allows her daughters to attend parties at the Palace under the rule of Richard III. Eleanor also writes to her other son in France asking him to come home to make peace with Richard (147).
Any normal mother does not have positive relations with a man who ”killed” her sons. Richard is rumored to have married the boy’s oldest sister, Elizabeth, during the time, but Richard goes to great lengths to stop that rumor. If he tries that much to stop a marriage rumor, he would go to much greater lengths to stop a murder rumor if it exists. To Brent and Grant it becomes very clear that Henry VII has many facts against Richard and it is very possible that he is the convicted murderer. When Henry VII takes the throne, he forces the boy’s mother to live the rest of her life in a nunnery (189).
Although Henry has no right whatsoever to the throne, he is very aware of all other heirs to the throne and attempts to get rid of them or keeps them on close arrest (189). Brent and Grant do not end the case, but they go deeply into it and cause many others to think around them. They prove that not all history books are correct, and that not everything heard is to be believed. Richard’s portrait is not the face of a murderer, but the face of a man who suffered greatly. Josephine Tey is partially bias throughout the novel.
She clearly believes that Richard was not the murderer of his two nephews and she continually supports her thesis. She does disprove arguments that go against her own thesis though. She clearly states the ideas of Thomas More and typical history books that give the other side of the story and in many ways the main character does consider them. When Grant uses facts in his reasoning, he contradicts the mystery. She allows Grant to reason from many sources and it becomes clear that he seems to be more correct. Tey presents evidence from all points of view, but is biased in the fact that she sticks with her own theory.
Tey succeeds in proving her thesis in several ways, but in some ways she fails. She clearly provides evidence in support and backs up all of the evidence. All of her evidence is clear, concise and relevant to the topic. She also clearly points the reader towards her solution. It seems as if she leaves some unanswered questions though. Not all aspects of the story are explained, leaving the reader to learn them on their own. She does not come to a full solution at the end. It is still not clearly proven that Richard is not the murderer of his nephews, he just has many facts in his favor.
She did clearly prove that humans need to be skeptical of what they hear though, based on the experiences of the characters in the novel. Overall, the reader does understand the thesis, or at least understand the main idea of it, even though Tey should explain it in a more concise manner. Overall, the novel contains some good aspects and some bad. It is clearly well organized; all events are happening in chronological order and are used to support the main idea. The writing is intelligent and very well thought out. Many aspects of the book are difficult to follow, with the reader not being familiar with all the facts.
Many references to other aspects in history occur, though they are not explained clearly. The novel does not hold the interest of the reader as well as it should, and the large amount of information leads to parts becoming very boring and long. The overall idea of the novel is very creative, and the thoughts that it portrays really cause the reader to think about history in the 1500’s. The novel not only informs, but entertains the reader. Not every aspect of the novel is enjoyable, but it leaves the reader with a sense of satisfaction that is not something received from all novels.