Saturday, September 30, 2023

A Shilling for Candles - Classic Mystery Review

Goodreads:  A Shilling for Candles by Josephine Tey

Rating: Liked It! (3.5 Stars)
Source:  Publisher

Description:  When a woman's body washes up on an isolated stretch of beach on the southern coast of England, Scotland Yard's Inspector Alan Grant is on the case. But the inquiry into her death turns into a nightmare of false leads and baffling clues. Was there anyone who didn't want lovely screen actress Christine Clay dead?

Genre: Mystery - Classic

Why I Picked This Book:  I really want to read more classic mysteries and Josephine Tey is an author that has been on my list.

My Impression:  This was kind of the make or break book with Josephine Tey.  I've read and enjoyed Daughter of Time several times and I liked Brat Farrar okay but disliked the first Alan Grant book, The Man in the Queue.   I disliked The Man in the Queue enough to never read her books again but I decided to give her one more chance.  And I'm so glad I did!  

This was a fun mystery involving a movie star with a mysterious past, a psychic who made the right prediction at the right time, and a ne'er hanger on who managed to waste his entire fortune on his own.  Finding out the whos and whats was a fun dive into gossip and I also enjoyed that Grant had to do some self-reflection based off his early actions in the investigation.  There are some fun characters and I especially enjoyed Erica and Marta.  

This is a mystery written in the 1930s and there are some outdated stereotypes but thankfully this doesn't propel the entire investigation like it does in the first Grant book.  Otherwise the book has a fresh fun feel and was an enjoyable light read.  If you are wanting to read the Alan Grant series I highly recommend skipping the first book entirely and starting with this one.  

Would I Read More of this Series/Author? This book definitely has me wanting to read more from her.  Tey is not an autobuy for me but I am looking forward to reading more and hopeful that her other books are more like this one.

Would I Recommend this Book? If you like classic mysteries I do recommend this book specifically though I would be cautious about other books from her.  


  1. This is good to know! I do want to read more classic mysteries.

  2. Interesting when you give an author a second chance and it works out, she must have been such getting going in the firs tone.

  3. I am glad you enjoyed this one. There are some authors whose books are hit and miss for me too. I'm glad you gave Tey another chance.