Saturday, March 12, 2022

The Man in the Queue - Classic Mystery Review

Goodreads: The Man in the Queue by Josephine Tey

Rating: Not For Me
Source:   Library

Description:  Inspector Alan Grant searches for the identity of a man killed in the line at a theater and for the identity of the killer—whom no one saw.

A long line had formed for the standing-room-only section of the Woffington Theatre. London’s favorite musical comedy of the past two years was finishing its run at the end of the week. Suddenly, the line began to move, forming a wedge before the open doors as hopeful theatergoers nudged their way forward. But one man, his head sunk down upon his chest, slowly sank to his knees and then, still more slowly, keeled over on his face. Thinking he had fainted, a spectator moved to help, but recoiled in horror from what lay before him: the man in the queue had a small silver dagger neatly plunged into his back. With the wit and guile that have made Inspector Grant a favorite of mystery fans, the inspector sets about discovering just how a murder occurred among so many witnesses, none of whom saw a thing.

Genre: Mystery - Classic

Why I Picked This Book:  I'm trying to read more classic mystery and Tey is an author that I have read very few books from.

My Impression:  The premise in this one is absolutely fantastic.  A man dies in a tightly packed queue.  Even though a crowd of people is all around the victim no one one knows what happened.  It's up to Inspector Grant to figure out who the victim was and who would want him dead.  

While the premise was interesting the rest of the book fell a bit flat.  I was not impressed with Grant as an investigator.  He has neither the detail oriented brilliance of Hercule Poirot, the ability to get people to talk of Miss Silver, or the original and flexible mind of Lord Peter Wimsey.  Early on Tey describes him as plodding but I'm not sure I would even call him that.  Other then rare moments of clarity he spends most of his time jumping to conclusions and hanging onto them for dear life despite information that seems to prove his conclusion is wrong.  As well this may be the most dated classic I've ever read.  The primary suspect is referred to in a derogatory slur towards people of Italian descent throughout the entire book and his looking Italian seems to be all the proof that anyone needs that he could have committed murder.  This got old pretty quickly and definitely dampened my enjoyment of the read.  

The mystery reveal itself wasn't jaw-dropping or interesting enough to redeem this book.  I have enjoyed a later book involving Inspector Grant and am hoping the series improves as it goes along.

Would I Read More of this Series/Author?  I will but not based off of this book.

Would I Recommend this Book? No.  I have enjoyed Daughter of Time by this author but this one just didn't feel worth it.


  1. Sorry this one didn't work for you. That premise sure is interesting.

  2. Aww, too bad it was a thumbs down! The skill and personal background of the detective, investigator, what have you, is the most important part of the mystery. You (usually) are seeing the story through their eyes. Hope you next read makes up for it.

  3. Bummer. I look forward to your thoughts on some of his other work though.

  4. Well there are so many books out there to read if one doesn't hold us, moving on is the best way to go. At least you have sampled it right through.

  5. Aww that's too bad about this one! Sometimes books are dated like that and it's just like ugh no.

  6. Katherine - weird somehow you fell off my blog roll since last week. I have no idea why and somehow your blog looks different now as well?? It looks like your followers have disappeared too. Maybe a crazy blogger glitch today.

  7. Too bad this was a miss! I can see why it was problematic.