Alan Grant, Scotland Yard Inspector is feeling bored while confined in hospital with a broken leg. Marta Halland, an actress friend of his, suggests he should amuse himself by researching a historical mystery. She brings him some pictures of historical characters, aware of Grants interest in human faces. he becomes intrigued by a portrait of King Richard III. He prides himself on being able to read a persons character from his appearance, and King Richard seems to him a gentle and kind and wise man. Why is everyone so sure that he was a cruel murderer?
With the help of other friends and acquaintances, Grant investigates Richard's life and the case of the Princes in the Tower, testing out his theories on the doctor and nurses who attend to him. Grant spends the weeks pondering historical information and documents with the help of Brent Carradine, a likable young American researcher working at the British Museum. Using his detectives logic, he comes to the conclusion that the claim of Richard being a murderer is a fabrication of Tudor propaganda, as is the popular image of the King as a monstrous hunchback.
This is very clever, the mystery is solved by research using contemporary documents available to Grant working on the case 400 years after the event.
It never falters , potentially it could with the entire novel being set in one room in a hospital, but the flow of information is so constant and interesting you get to the end of the book without realizing. It is very easy to understand that this is rated one of the best mystery stories.
The bad news is Tey only wrote seven novels before her premature death and there is only one remaining for me to read.