A Shilling for Candles

Josephine Tey

Illustrated by Mark Smith

Introduced by Laurie R. King

A thrilling classic of golden-age crime, in series with The Singing Sands, Miss Pym Disposes and The Daughter of Time.

CA$69.95
CA$69.95
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When the body of a famous film actress is found beneath chalk cliffs on the south coast of England, it is initially thought to be a tragic suicide; the area is notorious for such incidents. However, it soon becomes clear that darker motives were afoot, and potential suspects in the death of Christine Clay stack up at a rapid pace. As the case grows murkier, the man who spent the last week of Clay’s life living with her in a remote cottage goes on the run, and Inspector Alan Grant must race to uncover the truth.

‘All around him hung the bright air, empty as yet of larks. In all the sunlit world no sound except for the screaming of some seagulls on a distant beach’

Production Details

Bound in blocked buckram

Set in Dante with Station No. 5 display

256 pages

Frontispiece and 6 colour illustrations

Plain slipcase

9˝ x 5¾˝

Breaking the rules

In her introduction, American crime writer Laurie R. King discusses Tey’s willingness to break the rules of golden-age crime, her cheerful disregard of genre expectations and above all her exquisite prose, as sharp and as sly as a knife between the ribs. Nothing is to be taken for granted in Tey’s novels: her intricate plots are elevated beyond the simple whodunnit by a layer of psychological depth, and every character is capable of hiding secrets.

In A Shilling for Candles, Tey, a famously private person, turns a shrewd eye onto the destructive nature of celebrity. The author’s sympathy for the victim – hounded by the public even beyond death – is conveyed with her characteristic insight and wit. Noting the author’s double life as a playwright, King observes: ‘Tey’s novels are as concentrated as a play: slim in size, broad in emotion, and more thought-provoking than a sprawling epic.’

‘If this is your first time as a guest of Josephine Tey’s imagination, I guarantee it won’t be your last’

  1. Val McDermid

Produced in series with The Singing Sands, this edition features illustrations by Mark Smith, who won an award for his work on the previous volume. His spare, kinetic images capture both the period of the novel and the uneasy tension that runs through the story: a man sprints down a beach to a grisly discovery, while shadows linger menacingly in doorways.

About Josephine Tey

Josephine Tey was the pen-name of Elizabeth MacKintosh, playwright and author of some of the finest detective novels from the Golden Age of crime fiction. She was born in Inverness in 1896, and taught physical education for a number of years before the success of her first book, The Man in the Queue, in 1929. The book introduced her detective protagonist Inspector Grant of Scotland Yard, who would appear in a further five novels: A Shilling for Candles (1936), The Franchise Affair (1948), To Love and Be Wise (1950), The Daughter of Time (1951) and The Singing Sands (1952). Her standalone mysteries include Miss Pym Disposes (1946) and Brat Farrar (1949). Tey also wrote for the theatre, under the pseudonym Gordon Daviot, and had a notable success with Richard of Bordeaux in 1932, starring John Gielgud in the title role. She died in 1952, leaving her entire estate to the National Trust.

About Laurie R. King

Laurie R. King is an American detective fiction writer, best known for her detective fiction, in particular the Mary Russell/Sherlock Holmes series. She has won or been nominated for a number of prizes, including the First Novel Edgar Award from the Mystery Writers of America and the CWA John Creasey (New Blood) Dagger from Britain’s Crime Writers’ Association for her first novel A Grave Talent (1993), and the Nero Award for A Monstrous Regiment of Women (1996). Her books appear regularly on the best-seller lists and The Beekeeper’s Apprentice (1994) was named one of the 20th century’s best crime novels by America’s Independent Mystery Booksellers Association.

About Mark Smith

Mark Smith’s work has been recognised by all the major industry award panels, including Communication Arts, SPD, the V&A Illustration Awards and the UK Association of Illustrators. He has also achieved repeated recognition for his work on the Folio Society series of Josephine Tey novels from 3x3 magazine, New York Society of Illustrators, Los Angeles Society of Illustrators, and the American Illustration annual. As well as books, Smith’s work has appeared in numerous publications, including the New Yorker, the New York Times, the Guardian, the Financial Times and GQ among others.

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