Saturday, March 5, 2011
The Franchise Affair
Lassitude and golf weighed heavily on Mr. Blair's mind when on an afternoon in April, difficult to distinguish from thousands of others, the phone rang a minute after tea and the last post, and the Franchise affair began.
The facts of the case in Josephine Tey's The Franchise Affair (1949) turn out to be as sensational as they are seductively credible. Robert Blair finds himself coming to the defense of two women whom the villagers quickly brand as witches. Are they guilty of the charges that are laid against them?
My dear readers, trying to work out whether they are or they are not quickly becomes the most compelling aspect of the novel.
Inspector Grant makes a small cameo appearance, but in actuality the investigation of the alleged crimes in the Franchise affair is up to Robert Blair. If Miss Lemon found anything wanting in this near-perfect mystery, it is that in the end, coincidence rather than the labour of the little grey cells put paid the mysteries of the Franchise affair. But it is a small criticism of what is an otherwise highly enjoyable whodunit.