***Group Read: Brat Farrar (Spoilers)

Diskutera75 Books Challenge for 2010

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***Group Read: Brat Farrar (Spoilers)

Denna diskussion är för närvarande "vilande"—det sista inlägget är mer än 90 dagar gammalt. Du kan återstarta det genom att svara på inlägget.

1catherinestead
Redigerat: jan 14, 2010, 4:53pm

This is the main discussion thread for the group read of Josephine Tey's Brat Farrar, beginning (probably) on March 15. There's also a spoiler-free thread here.

2avatiakh
mar 17, 2010, 11:59pm

Just pushing this thread up for the group read. I'm a couple of chapters in.

3MusicMom41
mar 18, 2010, 12:45am

I'm on Chapter 11 and will read a while longer before I go to bed. I'm enjoying it--I think I know the answer to the main mystery but I'm not positive!

4elkiedee
mar 18, 2010, 7:14am

I'm on Chapter 10. I only ever know the answer to mysteries if I flick forward to discover them, which I do occasionally because I'm strange like that.

5elkiedee
mar 18, 2010, 7:15am

And I think we've agreed that we will start discussing properly on 22 March, as a lot of people for different reasons found that suited us better than 15 March.

6ludmillalotaria
mar 18, 2010, 9:17am

I finished last night. I'll come back for the discussion kickoff next week.

7Soupdragon
mar 18, 2010, 11:02am

I have finished and enjoyed it with some reservations. Am looking forward to the discussion next week.

8mstrust
mar 18, 2010, 2:09pm

I'm on Chapter 17. Looking forward to the discussion.

9catherinestead
mar 22, 2010, 7:46am

I posted a short review.

I liked the way Tey let the reader know right from the beginning that Brat was an imposter. When I started reading, I couldn't work out why she'd done that: it seemed to take all the mystery out of the story. Later on I could really appreciate the twist on the is-he-or-isn't-he theme and the way Tey used it to let Brat investigate what happened to Patrick.

10BookAngel_a
Redigerat: mar 22, 2010, 7:55am

This is my review from a few weeks ago:

"Well, I was intending to read this for the group read but...I couldn't wait. I made the mistake of starting early and it was just too good to stop!

This book was fabulous. It's exactly the kind of book I like - cozy, nothing graphic, lots of mystery and a fair amount of tension/suspense.

From the moment Brat Farrar comes into the narrative I was smitten. I found him fascinating. I don't want to say much about this book because it would be easy to spoil it. Let's just say that Brat Farrar is an 'orphan' who happens to look a lot like a boy who committed suicide eight years ago. Much of the book is devoted to finding out who he really is, or isn't. But it's SOOOO much more than that!

If your reading tastes are similar to mine, you will love this book! It's definitely my new favorite Josephine Tey."

Caty, I'm embarrassed to admit this, but I actually wasn't sure at first if Brat really WAS an imposter - we were shown that he was, but he seemed to 'fit' so well and look the part so well I was convinced he had to be an Ashby (I didn't think about the possibility of a cousin yet). But when Elinor picked him up at the station and he admired her arms, I knew he was definitely an imposter...
But my doubts actually made the book more irresistible - I HAD to find out if he was or not...

I did think the last few chapters weren't as brilliant as the rest of the story, but it was still great.

11ludmillalotaria
mar 22, 2010, 12:55pm

I picked this up because I had read how Tey's novel influenced Mary Stewart's "The Ivy Tree", which is another novel of impersonation and an old favorite of mine. It was interesting to discover how they were similar and different in their treatment of impersonation and identity (horses are important in both, too). I think it is better to go into Tey's novel knowing nothing about it. Since I had read a bit about it, I had guessed some things but was also probably a little too on guard looking for red herrings. I enjoyed it, though, as Brat is a sympathetic character, and I think Tey's approach to character is subtle in a way that draws you in and makes you care about what happens to him.

Did I miss the part that tells us how old the sister, Eleanor, is? I don't remember reading it and was curious what the age gap was between her and her brothers.

12mstrust
mar 22, 2010, 1:49pm

I wasn't sure about her age either. Old enough to be teaching children but young enough to still be cared for by an aunt.
I went through the whole book assuming that it took place in England, but now I remember that there is a County Clare in Ireland. Was this an Irish setting?
I enjoyed the book, especially seeing how Brat reacted to having a family for the first time. I kept hoping that the book wouldn't end with him being alone again.

13catherinestead
Redigerat: mar 22, 2010, 2:02pm

I had in mind that the age gap was small - a year or two - but I can't remember whether I read that or just assumed it. And I think the setting was the south coast of England - Sussex? - but again I can't remember whether I read it or assumed it. Definitely England, though.

14Soupdragon
Redigerat: mar 23, 2010, 7:34am

Well I did enjoy this book but not completely wholeheartedly!

On the plus side, I I loved Brat and thought it was clever how he managed to win our sympathies despite the circumstances we meet him in.

As a "mystery", I found the book weak. This may be something to do with its era. The crime novels I usually read are modern, very complicated with multiple red herrings and often endings which you are unlikely to work out yourself because the author suddenly introduces new information. Brat Farrar was the complete reverse. The "revelation" regarding Simon was obvious from the beginning and it didn't take me long to work out the Walter thing as he is conveniently mentioned on page ten for no other possible purpose at all. I kept thinking these were red herrings and there would be a twist (maybe Aunt Bee would turn out to be the mother!) but everything seemed to pan out inevitably. I was also unconvinced by the ending and how keen everyone was on accepting Brat into the family despite the circumstances. Well I can understand Eleanor, but not the others!

I did like the characterisation on the whole though the family's utter belief in their innate superiority put me off them a bit!

Oh and regarding #12, The Clare thing combined with the horses made me suddenly wonder if we were supposed to be in Ireland but I read on and it was definitely England!

edited for typos

15flissp
mar 23, 2010, 8:58am

I'm pretty sure that Eleanor is 19. I can't remember why I think that it's an age gap of a year, but I've a feeling that it does mention it somewhere near the start.

...and yes, the book is set in a fictional village, somewhere on the South coast of the UK. That said, there is a real village in Suffolk called Clare, but it's too far from the Sea to be the same place...

This was a re-read for me and, having loved it at the time I first read it (aged about 15 - which made it quite strange to read now at twice the age, as a lot of the central characters are younger, instead of older than me now), I was worried that it wouldn't live up to my memories.

Well, I didn't really notice how dated it was the first time (I think at that age, most of my reading was written in a similar period, or earlier) - there's a definite class structure and stiff-upper-lip attitude that I don't think exists to that extent any more. However, even knowing how the story spans out, I still loved reading it again.

I suppose that, as a mystery story, it isn't that hard to fathom - you know pretty much how things will span out from your very first introduction to Simon, but, in my opinion, this isn't really the excitement of the story - after all, you know from the get-go half the answer to the real mystery - that Brat isn't, in fact, Patrick. Again, the fact that Brat turns out to be a cousin is not really a surprise either - although, to my mind, this is one of the weakest parts of the ending. For me, the excitement of the story is watching the relationship between Simon and Brat - I think that Josephine Tey is very good at conveying the confusion - that neither of them can figure out what is going on.

#11 ludmillalotaria - that's interesting, I didn't realise that The Ivy Tree was so influenced by Brat Farrar - although I have to say, as I was re-reading it this time, I kept thinking exactly that - just how similar the two are...

16billiejean
mar 23, 2010, 10:30am

I just finished the book, and I have to say that I loved it. Someone on LT, I can't recall who, recommended this book to me a long time ago. I just never got around to reading it. I liked the impostor story told from his angle, which is unusual. I used to read mysteries all the time, but haven't read too many lately, so I did not catch the mention of Walter on page 10. Although the ending was not quite as good as the rest of the story, I did like the ending, too. I was fond of Brat and wanted things to turn out ok for him.

What a great choice for a group read!
--BJ

17DeltaQueen50
mar 23, 2010, 1:29pm

This was my first Josephine Tey and I have to say Brat Farrar has certainly encouraged me to keep reading her. I enjoyed the book, found it a light and easy read. I liked the fact that we knew (or thought we did) what was going on, and I was surprised that Brat became the hero I wanted to root for, even knowing he was a fraud. The mystery was pretty straightforward and the resolution was perhaps a little too pat, but overall I rate this book a 4 star read.

18mstrust
mar 23, 2010, 3:19pm

I did think that somewhere along the way Loding would get what he deserved, but instead he seems to have gotten away with his part of the crime. Well, maybe receiving just the one payment for his efforts was his punishment.

I confess that when it was discovered that Brat was a cousin and Eleanor wanted to marry him, I went, "Eeeewww."

19catherinestead
Redigerat: mar 23, 2010, 4:09pm

#18 I'd have quite liked to see some comeuppance for Loding, but I can understand Brat not saying who put him up to it. It goes with the idealism and misguided nobility that made him ferret out who killed Patrick all by himself. And I suppose it's all part of the stiff-upper-lip, mustn't-cause-a-scandal, hush-it-all-up resolution that fits with characters.

The cousin thing didn't bother me. And given that Brat is the son of 'Cousin Walter' they must be at least second cousins anyway. The fact that he's the spitting image of her brother is slightly more eeuwww-inducing, to my mind.

20avatiakh
mar 23, 2010, 7:49pm

I just finished reading it and found it throughly enjoyable. It is dated and I could guess at the resolution, but loved the characters anyway and the 'play' between Simon and Brat. I adored little Tony and the whole horse thing.
Thanks to flissp for recommending it after I finished Tey's The Franchise Affair. I have a couple more of her books to read now.

21billiejean
mar 24, 2010, 12:51am

Yeah, I thought little Tony was a great character!
--BJ

22Soupdragon
Redigerat: mar 24, 2010, 5:01am

#15 and 20,
Yes, you're right. The relationship between Simon and Brat was another great part of the book and we wouldn't have appreciated that if we hadn't known what we knew! I think maybe my reservations were based on false expectations. It was the first Tey I'd read and I was expecting more in the way of red herrings and surprise revelations. I did enjoy the book though and have ordered the Franchise Affair to read next.

23ludmillalotaria
mar 24, 2010, 9:49am

I agree that what makes the story more compelling is the tension between Simon and Brat, trying to figure out each other's motives, and wondering when (not if) one of them will strike. I rather liked how the relationship between Bea and Brat developed. It certainly helped highlight Brat's vulnerability of never really belonging until Bea came into his life. I also thought Eleanor's reaction at the end was a little off. Given how she reacted when she and Brat realized their attraction, I don't think she would have gotten over it that easily once she realized he was a cousin and not a brother, but her character isn't as developed as Brat or Simon or even Bea.

Did anyone have any fleeting thoughts about someone (maybe Nancy or Bea) putting Loding up to the scheme to begin with? I have to confess that it occurred to me, but it was never shown whether anyone else but Loding ever saw Brat (that I could discern).

24tloeffler
mar 26, 2010, 3:50pm

Chiming in late (again): I also liked this book very much. At one point, I wondered if Brat might really be Patrick somehow, or perhaps there had been triplets. I was pleased with the cousin solution. I know it seems a little "eeww" to us, but I think second/third cousin marriages at that time were more common (look at all the royalty intermarriages), and I was glad that Eleanor & Brat could have an opportunity to "get together." I loved The Daughter of Time, and I really liked Brat Farrar. The only copy I could get from the library was a three-banger with The Franchise Affair and Miss Pym Disposes, so I guess I'll renew the book and read those also!

25tloeffler
mar 26, 2010, 3:52pm

Oops, forgot to mention: Simon's reaction when he first met Brat made me wonder if maybe he had been responsible for Patrick's death. So that didn't end up being a surprise. And I couldn't see anyone putting Loding up to the scheme. He seemed slimy enough to do it all by himself.

26elkiedee
mar 27, 2010, 8:17pm

I enjoyed the book but not as much as I enjoyed The Franchise Affair. I've also read The Daughter of Time which I loved and The Man in the Queue which I found a bit boring.

It became obvious that Simon had been responsible for Patrick's death way before the "revelation".

I didn't think there was anyone else behind Loding. I don't think the book mentions whether or not Brat continued to pay Loding - obviously he didn't need to keep his real identity secret at the end of the book.

27Apolline
Redigerat: mar 30, 2010, 1:39pm

A bit late for the discussion, but just finished the book today. Since it was not easily available here in Norway, I had to order it on the net, and due to weather problems (the airport and mountain roads/passes got closed for several days because of snow, making the mail late) I did not receive the book until the 22nd. I've been avoiding this thread until today.

I quite agree with you on the main mystery part, I also figured Simon had something to do with it, but I did not fully understand his reaction when he met Brat the first time. I did not pick up on the Walter lead either, maybe I would make a lousy detective.

All in all I really enjoyed this book, and am very glad I discovered Josephine Tey as an author. I had never heard of her before, and will definitely read more of her books. The style reminds me in many ways of Agatha Christie (maybe because of the time period), though her stories usually had a more intriguing mystery (but this assumption is solely based on one book by Tey, so I might be wrong). This sort of "cozy mystery" is a nice break from what I think have become the Scandinavian crime/mystery style. I guess most of you have heard about you have heard about Stieg Larsson's books (which I haven't read, but seen the movies), the Scandinavian style is pretty much the same. There are often a lot of violence, there is often a subplot with organized crime and brutal murders. The violence and brutality is often described down to every little detail, it almost never just implied (though I like the mystery, I don't always like to read in detail about the violence, maybe that's just me). The plot is almost always set in modern times, and the detective is almost always divorced, have an alcohol problem or spend too little time with his/her family and always feel guilty about it. Maybe I just like the British style better, in my opinion they are very good at the mystery genre.

Well, thanks for making me read this book, and since it is Easter and Easter is the high season for crime/mystery books here in Norway, I'm off to read Agatha Christie:)

28tloeffler
mar 30, 2010, 2:19pm

I'm very curious--why is Easter the high season for crime/mystery books in Norway? (and sorry if you've already explained this on another thread--I'm hopelessly behind!)

29rainpebble
Redigerat: apr 7, 2010, 1:47am

I enjoyed this read tremendously and it was so nice to have a cozy little mystery for an afternoon delight.
And I knew from that first meeting between Brat & Simon that something was off with Simon but I just could not put my finger on it. He was just a bit too smug. I thought I should feel bad for him as he was losing his inheritance but just could not make myself do that.
I enjoyed the characters in this book. I didn't come to care about all of them but I enjoyed them. I enjoyed the setting very, very much.
My copy of the book states that Josephine Tey belonged to the "Golden Age of British crime writing"; 1920-1950 and gives her huge kudos for her non-formulaic works; stating that when you picked up a Tey you never knew what to expect; that they were always so different. Reading Brat Farrar has convinced me to find that out for myself.
Another great G/R from the 75 Book gig!~!
Thanx guys,
belva