An old Proverb states that “Truth is the Daughter of Time,” and it is a search for truth that is the premise for this novel. We find Alan Grant, Scotland Yard detective recuperating in an extended hospital stay from a freak accident. When the book opens, he has been inactive for a period of time, and is B O R E D. Marta, an actress friend, brings photos of faces to distract him, for studying faces and having a knack of determining whether a face is that of a “good guy” or a “bad guy” is his prime talent, earning him a reputation at the Yard. He becomes fascinated by a portrait of Richard the Third, the “unscrupulous murderer of the Little Princes”–or not!
Carradine, Marta’s “wooly lamb,” called this because of his ungainly tall and curly-haired blonde looks, becomes Grant’s researcher and is soon caught up in the legwork Grant cannot do himself. Together they uncover Tudor cover ups and despair at the unreliability of traditionally “accepted” untruths and “facts.” The New York times calls this novel “one of the permanent classics in the detective field.” Here is Grant’s first entry as he pursues the mystery involved in the “case”:
“CASE: Disappearance of 2 boys (Edward, Prince of Wales;Richard, Duke of York) from the Tower of London, 1485 or thereabouts.”
Unlikely as it may seem at first glance, the book is a lively read, definitely intellectually stimulating, and even humorous at times. I thoroughly enjoyed this deliberate, yet fast-moving read.