In 2013, the dramatic discovery of Richard III’s remains under a Leicester car park was widely reported, with a documentary following the entire process broadcast on Channel 4. The documentary had to set the scene by doing what Tey achieved in The Daughter of Time: show the average viewer just why a group of people (the Richard III Society) cared so much about a dead king’s reputation that they were willing to put enormous time, effort and money into the seemingly impossible task of finding his body. The Richard III Society exists to promote the revisionist ideas about Richard which Tey puts across so forcefully. They more generally aim to promote balanced historical research, rather than allowing history to be written by the victors, an admirable aim which even the least Ricardian can understand.
The Richard III Society has been around since the 1920s. Josephine Tey was never a member, though, as The Daughter of Time shows, she was of course aware that other historians shared her view of Richard. Tey’s 1951 novel brought the views of the Society to a more general audience and increased their popularity so much that the Richard III Society website still dedicates a special section to Tey’s life and work for all enthusiasts who come to their society by that route. After Josephine Tey’s death she left the copyright to all her novels to the National Trust, who then had to field many queries about The Daughter of Time and its authenticity.
Coincidentally, the person who took those queries, volunteer Isolde Wigram, was also the secretary and a prime mover in the revival of the Richard III Society, and so was well able to answer any question on the topic, and took great joy and pride in doing so. Since the 2013 discovery of Richard III’s body, Josephine Tey’s novel has attracted attention again. The novel has never been out of print, and is a constant fixture on bookshop shelves and in lists of the best-ever crime novels, and, in 1990, was voted the number one crime novel of all time by the UK Crime Writers’ Association.
On a different note, I have about 45 pages left in the book. The sensible voice in my head is telling me to finish this tomorrow and get a good night's sleep.
The other voices tell me that sleep is overrated when there is such a book to be finished.