Reading progress update: I've read 48 out of 426 pages.

Josephine Tey: A Life - Jennifer Morag Henderson

So far, this book is fascinating. Henderson does not just give us the family history, but also provides a full picture of life in Inverness at the beginning of the 20th century, and does not shy away from criticising some of the "romanticised" versions of life in the north of Scotland at that time:

"The education given at the IRA [= Inverness Royal Academy] was rigorous and to a high standard and there is evidence throughout all of Beth’s later writing of this excellent academic grounding, from her thorough knowledge of history and religious education to her use of French and her wide-ranging and open-minded interest in a variety of subjects. When she is interested in a topic, she explores it thoroughly, reading up on its background and asking for help from those who know more. In The Singing Sands when Grant wants to know more about the Hebrides, he immediately goes to a library, where he peruses a selection of books and asks the librarian for advice. In The Daughter of Time, Grant sifts through historical evidence using both primary and secondary sources, and is able to argue from cause to effect, rather than repeating a series of facts. Girls like Beth MacKintosh and Mairi MacDonald expected this sort of education – questioning, rigorous and encouraging private study – as standard, and the image of the ill-educated Highland girl – or the exception fighting against the rule – shown in some contemporary early twentieth-century literature (e.g. by Lewis Grassic Gibbon) is just plain wrong. It was a stereotype Beth MacKintosh would fight in both her private life and in her writing. The popular idea that in the 1900s girls maybe learnt a bit of drawing, French and music was simply not true in Scotland."