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Brat Farrar [Paperback]

Josephine Tey
4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (17 customer reviews)
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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 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
3.0 out of 5 stars Josephine Tey: Brat Farrar, March 21 2014
By Hana
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 clear and as a result, it loses all sense.
What was the law in Britain about primogeniture in the case of twins when the book was written? As we know, there was a discussion on the topic even recently, when the Duchess of Cambridge was expecting.
So, the public, i.e. the ordinary reader in England, did not, and still does not, have common knowledge what is the law. If we assume that the first born inherits, the book still leaves us at a loss, because we don't know whether Patrick was first born, or not. If there is a reason for Simon's jealousy why did he hate his brother? This a condition very rare among twins. On the contrary they usually consider their other twin as a part of oneself.
No book can be great, or even good, if it is missing an inner logic.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Kazam! A winner! June 20 2003
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 the story seem a little confused. This was made into an excellent movie, but the book weaves an even tighter and spookier plot. Brat Farrar agrees to assume the ID of a dead boy and step in as master of a British estate. Then he begins to believe his own tale as things that should be foreign to him somehow feel oddly familiar. Fully developed side-characters and tight, tense plot make for a wide-eyed, suspensful read set against the irresistible backdrop of post-war English country life with all the usual quirky and eccentric inhabitants of the genre.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Wonderful Book! June 18 2003
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. Although the movie was very true to the original manuscript, the book is much, much better. Like all of Tey's stories, this book is not a simple murder mystery. The plot is ingenious. Even though the reader is partly in the secret from early on in the story, the suspense is developed and maintained until the very end. The reader comes to sympathize with Brat early on in the story, and we wonder how he's going to get out of the web of lies and deceit he has made. I enjoyed the country "horsey" setting, and the family is pure delight. Ms. Tey was a wonderful author!
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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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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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5.0 out of 5 stars brat farrar Dec 27 2001
By A Customer
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
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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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Most recent customer reviews
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 A first-rate mystery of impersonation and deception.
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... Read more
Published on Aug. 4 2001 by Leonard L. Wilson
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 A true classic.
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. Read more
Published on Dec 27 2000
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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