Review of The Man in the Queue, by Josephine Tey

The Man in the Queue

by Josephine Tey
Read by Stephen Thorne

Chivers Audio Books, 2000. First published in 1929. Complete and Unabridged. 6 cassettes.
Starred Review

After listening to Josephine Tey’s The Daughter of Time, I’m on a Josephine Tey binge. It turns out that this one, The Man in the Queue, was the first one she wrote, while The Daughter of Time was the last.

The Man in the Queue, naturally enough, is not about a historical mystery like Daughter of Time. However, it’s a good classic whodunit. The detective, Alan Grant of Scotland Yard, is the same one who solves the mystery in the later book. Already we see his “flare,” his sense of people, knowing who’s telling the truth.

The mystery is intriguing. There’s a large queue to get into one of the last nights of a play in London. When the queue starts moving, and gets up to the front of the line, a man falls over on his face, and it turns out that he is dead, stabbed in the back.

The man has no identification on him, but he has a revolver in his pocket. No one comes forward to identify him. So Grant must not only figure out who killed him; he must also figure out who the man is and why he was in the queue with a revolver in his pocket. No one in the queue with him noticed anything, not even if someone had left the queue. They all claim to have never seen the dead man before in their lives.

The only trouble with my Josephine Tey binge is that these audiobooks always make me feel like I’ve gotten to my destination much too quickly, and I want to sit for awhile in the car and hear more.

The book is not politically correct — the main suspect is called “The Dago” for most of the book. But it’s fun to have discovered a classic mystery author of the same style as Agatha Christie, but whose books are all new to me.

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Source: This review is based on a library book from the Fairfax County Public Library.

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