A Shilling for Candles

Josephine Tey

Inspector Grant returns...

Beneath the sea cliffs of the south coast, suicides are a sad but common fact. Yet even the hardened coastguard knows something is unusually wrong when the beautiful young film actress Christine Clay is found dead on the beach one morning. Suspicion fixes on Robert Tisdall, a destitute young man she had met on her way to Kent and impulsively invited to join her. Tisdall goes on the run, and receives unexpected assistance from Erica Burgoyne, the daughter of the local chief constable.

Inspector Grant is on the case and his probe produces several other suspects, including a songwriter rumoured to be Christine's lover, who was in Kent on the morning in question and is known to have lied about his movements, and Christine's estranged brother, whom she cut off in her will with nothing but "a shilling for candles".

The novel inspired the 1937 Alfred Hitchcock film Young and Innocent.

  • Classification : Classic Crime & Adventure/Thrillers
  • Pub Date : JUN 20, 2023
  • Imprint : YELLOWBACK
  • Page Extent : 236
  • Binding : PB
  • ISBN : 9789357311311
  • Price : INR 399

Josephine Tey

Josephine Tey (real name Elizabeth Mackintosh, and also used the pen name Gordon Daviot; 18961952), novelist and playwright, was born in Inverness on 25 July 1896. She had two younger sisters, Jane Ellis (known as Jean) and Mary Henrietta (known as Etta and later on as Moire).

Josephine Tey was the pseudonym under which 'Beth' Mackintosh published mystery novels and used her second pseudonym, Gordon Daviot, for plays.

Tey was fiercely private and avoided the press, shunned photographers, and never granted interviews. For this reason, and the fact that she kept a small tight circle of friends, very little biographical detail is available on her.

Her mystery novels are classics of their kind, deftly constructed with strong characterization and a meticulous prose style. Six of them feature as their main character the slightly built, dapper Inspector Alan Grant, a gentleman police officer 'not coarse like a bobby' (The Man in the Queue, 118) and with independent means 'to smooth and embroider life' (ibid, 35). Interestingly, Inspector Grant was one of the first Scotland Yard Detectives as opposed to the private detective or the gifted amateur to be introduced into the mystery writing genre, making his debut in 1929. (

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