The Daughter of Time

Josephine Tey

Penguin 1954

The Princes in the Tower

Alison Weir

Pimlico 1993
A book review by Danny Yee © 1994
Josephine Tey's Daughter of Time is an engaging and cleverly constructed work of detective history. A policeman recovering in hospital takes up the case of Richard III to pass his time, and together with some assistants tries to ferret out the truth behind the disappearance of the princes in the tower. The result is an entertaining novel which should appeal to both to fans of detective fiction and those interested in that period of English history. Tey is solidly in the revisionist camp: it was Henry VII who killed the princes rather than Richard III. I first read Daughter of Time at an impressionable age, and for many years this was the only view I had of the affair. I had always wondered, however, how balanced Tey's account was, so when I saw The Princes in the Tower in the bookshop I couldn't resist the opportunity to get a second opinion.

Alison Weir's Princes in the Tower is popular history at its best, and as readable as any novel. It is, however, 'real' history, in this case a referenced chronological narrative backed up by a bibliography, and is considerably more convincing than Tey's novel. All the available primary sources are drawn on to provide a detailed account of the events between the death of Edward IV in 1483 and the battle of Bosworth field in 1485, along with a briefer outline of their background and aftermath. The forensic evidence from the 1934 exhumation of the two children dug up in 1674 is also described. The conclusion reached is that Richard was the culprit after all, and the evidence seems fairly unshakeable to me.

April 1994

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%T The Daughter of Time
%A Tey, Josephine
%I Penguin
%D 1954
%O paperback
%G ISBN 0140009906
%P 191pp

%T The Princes in the Tower
%A Weir, Alison
%I Pimlico
%D 1993
%O paperback, bibliography, index
%G ISBN 0712657096
%P xv,287pp,8pp b&w illus.