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Brat Farrar [Paperback]

Josephine Tey
4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (17 customer reviews)
List Price: CDN$ 19.99
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Book Description

Sept. 2 1997
In this tale of mystery and suspense, a stranger enters the inner sanctum of the Ashby family posing as Patrick Ashby, the heir to the family's sizable fortune. The stranger, Brat Farrar, has been carefully coached on Patrick's mannerism's, appearance, and every significant detail of Patrick's early life, up to his thirteenth year when he disappeared and was thought to have drowned himself. It seems as if Brat is going to pull off this most incredible deception until old secrets emerge that jeopardize the imposter's plan and his life.

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Brat Farrar + Crossing to Safety + Marjorie Morningstar
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Brat Farrar has been carefully coached to assume the identity of Patrick Ashby, heir to the Ashby fortune who disappeared when he was 13. Just when it seems that Brat will pull off the deception, he discovers the truth about Patrick's disappearance, a dark secret that threatens to tear apart the family and jeopardize Brat's carefully laid plans. Called "the best of its kind" by the New Yorker, Josephine Tey's classic is a tale of unrelenting suspense and tension.


“Josephine Tey enjoys a category to herself, as a virtuoso in the spurious . . . the nature of the deception on this occasion is too good to give away.”
New Statesman --This text refers to an alternate Paperback edition.

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Aunt Bee," said Jane, breathing heavily into her soup, "was Noah a cleverer back-room boy than Ulysses, or was Ulysses a cleverer back-room boy than Noah?" Read the first page
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Customer Reviews

Most helpful customer reviews
4.0 out of 5 stars A moral dilemma July 24 2002
Eight years after young Patrick Ashby's disappearance and presumed suicide, a young man presents himself to the Ashby family lawyers as the long-lost heir--just in time to reclaim the family estate from his slightly younger twin brother Simon on their approaching 21st birthday. He knows intimate details of Patrick's childhood and passes all of the tests devised by the lawyers to reveal an imposter. (The family's dental records in London were apparently destroyed during the war.) Could it be? Has the prodigal son returned home? In a word, no.
That's not a spoiler, mind you. You'll learn as much on the back-cover blurb, and chapter 3 reveals the imposter in no uncertain terms as Brat Farrar, a foundling who grew up in an orphanage and spent much of his teen years exploring the American West. By the end of chapter 4, it doesn't take a whole lot of pondering to figure out 90% of what's really going on. It's just a matter of following along to see how it all plays out.
I know that sounds boring, but it's rather an enjoyable read. You can look at it as being slow-moving, or as having a leisurely pace. If you take the latter attitude, I think you'll have a better appreciation of the manner in which Tey examines Brat's moral struggles and unfolds the layers of mystery surrounding the Ashby family.
**Adapted from a Skullduggery review**
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When foundling drifter Brat Farrar is offered the proposition to pose as the aristocratic Ashby family's long-missing heir (whom he strongly resembles), he finds it impossible to resist. What he did not reckon on was the growing attraction to his own "sister" and the veiled enmity of the younger twin "brother," whom he has displaced as the master of the Ashby estate. The author expertly draws the characters so that we always favor the likable Brat, despite his fraudulent part in the scheme. When it becomes obvious that his life is in danger and that there is something decidedly suspicious about the death of the real Patrick Ashby, the suspense builds unrelentingly, keeping the reader's eyes riveted to the book.
In addition to the suspense and the excellent characterizations, there is the extremely interesting background of English horse breeding and racing, which the Ashby fortunes are currently built upon.P>Yes, you can see some of the incidents coming ahead of time, but that's the way it is in real life. The author is honest with the reader in letting us know what is developing as the hero himself discovers it. Overall, this is a great read, an excellent novel of suspense.
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5.0 out of 5 stars A true classic. Dec 26 2000
By A Customer
Brat Farrar has been on my "Must Read" list for so long that I was almost hesitant to pick it up for fear it wouldn't live up to expectations. I shouldn't have worried. This is the kind of book you either read in one sitting or can't wait to get back to once you put it down. Tey weaves a wonderful web of characters and suspicion, turning the reader to face new possibilities in the plot like Brat might turn one of his horses. Brat is - without a doubt - an Ashby; all anyone has to do is look at him to know that. But is he the long-dead Patrick, heir to the Latchetts Estate? Arguing (delightfully) against his own better nature, Brat decides to pass himself off as the eldest son of the family only to suffer waves of guilt over his deception. Each member of the family and his or her reaction to Brat is so clearly drawn it's easy to see them jump off the page, especially Simon, Patrick's slightly younger twin who has just seen his inheritance handed to someone who may be an imposter. Tey mixes in clever little side stories which add flavor to the mystery not to mention a few clues before bringing it all to an almost perfect close. A few loose threads at the end are the only down note. What I enjoyed mostly was that unlike some other Tey mysteries which seem dated, this one has stood the test of time.
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4.0 out of 5 stars Predictably good. Aug. 30 2001
The best evidence of the fine writing in this novel is a back cover blurb that gives away much of the plot, yet in no way diminishes the pleasure of reading the book.
Basically the story follows Brat Farrar, who successfully assumes the identity of long presumed dead Patrick Ashby to inherit a fortune. What sets the book apart is the development of Brat's character. His feeling and motivation is examined sympathetically, and in many ways that is what drives the novel.
There are a number of minor shortcomings to the book. In contrast to the wonderful development of Bee and Brat, the character of Simon is drawn fairly shallowly. He seems to be a bit of a stock villain and his motivations are never examined. Also, the ending was a little to pat. It doesn't seem likely that the scenario could be wrapped up as cleanly and quickly as indicated in the book. But apart from those quibbles it was, all in, an excellent book.
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By A Customer
I was recommended this book by a favorite teacher in high school, and it has remained my favorite mystery novel and one of my all-time favorite books in the decades since. Unfortunately, it's so good that it has little competition, even among Josephine Tey's all-too-few other books. For one thing, Brat is that rare hero that one both loves and identifies with; you can feel what he's feeling, and you can feel what the other characters feel toward him, with an unusual poignancy. There is also the charm of his adopted family (with one exception) and estate, which needs him as much as he needs it. If a few of the characters and situations are a bit too convenient - the attractive "sister," the villain's lack of conscience, not to mention the revelation of the "why" of Brat's family resemblance! - the compensations are in the richness of the setting and characters, and in the book's wonderful heart.
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Most recent customer reviews
3.0 out of 5 stars Josephine Tey: Brat Farrar,
It is a very strange book by Josephine Tey. It is as usual entertaining, and moreover, the perpetrator turns out to be a nice and deserving person, but the main premise is not... Read more
Published 6 months ago by Hana
5.0 out of 5 stars Kazam! A winner!
Josephine Tey excels at the twisted plot, the kind of story in which the unreal seems so real that not only are readers puzzled by the meaning of Truth, but even the characters in... Read more
Published on June 20 2003 by Peggy Vincent
5.0 out of 5 stars Wonderful Book!
This book is a true mystery classic, and it is written as only Tey can write them. I had seen a movie made from this story before I read the book. Read more
Published on June 18 2003 by S. Schwartz
5.0 out of 5 stars brat farrar
ditto to the positive book reviews sent in. I love the (self-recorded) video of the TV show, but it is wearing out and I really would like to buy a commercial tape. Hans Neuberg
Published on Dec 26 2001
2.0 out of 5 stars disappointing
I picked this book at the bookstore to while time away, and I'm very glad I didn't buy it. the outline of the plot was appealing but in the end it was mediocre. Read more
Published on Aug. 27 2001
5.0 out of 5 stars ISO Brat Farrar
I first met Brat Farrar in the 1980's on the PBS Mystery! television show. I was completely hooked by Josephine Tey's superbly suspensful story set in the beautiful English... Read more
Published on May 21 2001
5.0 out of 5 stars Tight, taut and suspenseful
Brat Farrar agrees, against his better judgment, to assume the identity of a dead English boy and take his place as master of a small estate. Read more
Published on Nov. 21 2000 by Carol S.
5.0 out of 5 stars One of my favorite books EVER
One of greatest tragedies in the world of mysteries is that Josephine Tey wrote so few. I've loved this book ever since I was a girl and found it on the shelf of my parent's... Read more
Published on April 5 1999
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