To Love and Be Wise

Josephine Tey

Illustrated by Mark Smith

Inspector Alan Grant tracks down a missing member of the Hollywood elite in the latest page-turning mystery from Josephine Tey. To Love and Be Wise features atmospheric illustrations by Mark Smith.


‘Now you see it, now you don’t. The old conjurer’s trick of the distracted attention. Ever seen a lady sawn in half, Williams? … There’s a strong aroma of sawn lady about this.’ The incomparable Inspector Alan Grant returns in the latest addition to our enormously popular Josephine Tey series. As well as all the usual delights of Tey’s writing and the Inspector himself, To Love and Be Wise also features one of the most cunning and surprising twists of any of Tey’s novels – making it an absolute must-read for any Golden Age crime aficionado. Mark Smith continues his excellent work on the series, providing seven colour illustrations and an exquisitely stylish binding design.

Production Details

Bound in blocked buckram

Set in Dante with Station No. 5 display

248 pages

Frontispiece and 6 colour illustrations

Plain slipcase

9˝ x 5¾˝

A new case for Inspector Grant

Leslie Searle is the best young photographer of his age, with the cream of Hollywood beating down his door to have their images captured by his talented eye. When he turns up in the tiny English village of Salcott St Mary, he creates something of a sensation: the village is already a haunt of writers, actors and other artistic types, but he soon becomes its most intriguing attraction. Walter Whitmore, a radio star, can’t help noticing that the handsome and charming Leslie Searle has caught the eye of his dear, good-hearted fiancée Liz, and famous playwright Toby Tullis – accustomed to being the biggest fish in this particular pond – finds himself brutally snubbed. It seems that wherever Searle goes he ignites jealousies and passions.

And then one night he vanishes from a narrow stretch of countryside, leaving no word, a lot of questions, and a single shoe floating in the river. Has he left? Is it a practical joke? Or has the picturesque village of Salcott St Mary become the scene of something distinctly unphotogenic?

A unique detective from a singular writer

Crime writer Val McDermid has described Josephine Tey as ‘the most interesting’ of the queens of Golden Age crime, and with this unusual thriller it’s easy to see why. She takes the familiar ‘village populated with eccentrics’ setting and gives it a delicious twist, while the foundations of Tey’s brilliance – her dry wit and psychological depth – are in particular abundance here, as each resident of Salcott St Mary gradually reveals a complex inner life.

Her hero, too, is an unusual one. The Golden Age of crime was largely populated with gifted amateur detectives, outsiders with singular perspectives, yet Inspector Alan Grant is a police officer, with a police officer’s training. He is fallible and experiences self-doubt; he is clever, yet naturally charming. Of all the classic sleuths still beloved by their readers, Grant feels the most modern, and much of Tey’s own character is evident in him: her humour, her independence, and her ability to capture a character – or a ne’er-do-well – with a few astute observations.

Capturing the sunny and the sinister

In Mark Smith’s precise, attractive illustrations, no part of the image is wasted, whether it’s the sunny yellow flowers lining a country lane that hint at spring, or the pattern on a carpet or blouse that places the story in its era. Smith also makes clever use of shadows and dramatic angles to heighten the sense of mystery and drama, prompting questions that linger – just as much as Tey’s addictive prose. Produced in series with A Shilling for Candles, Miss Pym Disposes, The Singing Sands and The Daughter of Time, this is an essential edition for any fan of elegant Golden Age crime.

A theatrical background

Tey had a great love for the theatre, and wrote several plays under the pseudonym Gordon Daviot. Her affection for the theatrical community shines through in To Love and Be Wise, and her portraits of familiar artistic figures are both funny and painfully well observed: the egotistical playwright, the temperamental dancer, the easily distracted author of romance novels. Tey reportedly based Salcott St Mary on Finchingfield, the small Essex village where Sir John Gielgud bought a house following the enormous success of Richard of Bordeaux, the play Tey wrote for him and which shot him to stardom.

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 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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