On the suggestion of a friend who said, “I can eat her books like jelly donuts,” I brought home two Josephine Tey novels from the library and another is on its way from Amazon. I chose Brat Farrar for my first week of 52 books in 52 weeks. I knew mysteries would be a great way to hold my attention and get me back into reading a book from cover to cover; and would also most likely be a quick read. And this story proved to be so. I enjoyed reading it from the very beginning. I was pulled instantly into the lives of these characters.
Brat Farrar grew up in an orphanage where he had been left on the doorstep as an infant. After leaving the home at around age 13, he set off for adventures in England, as well as America. By coincidence — or was it providence? —- upon his return to England, he meets a man that is startled by his resemblance to someone else. Together they plot to deceive a family and their attorneys, as well as their friends and neighbors, by Brat posing as a twin that disappeared, and believed to have committed suicide, eight years before. Brat is at first reluctant to play this part, but when he does agree to it and meets the family, he finds himself very drawn to them all — except for the living twin, who is not very accepting of this returned prodigal.
One of my favorite lines from the book has nothing really to do with the main plot, but I love these little observances that witty authors add to their stories. Brat is visiting church with the family for the first time and the author tells us that “Brat…listened to the Rector’s unemphatic voice providing the inhabitants of Clare with their weekly ration of the abstract.” The Rector is actually a very good man who helps Brat in the resolution of this very sticky situation that he has gotten himself into; but I did find this observation of church ritual quite aptly put and it made me chuckle.
What really happened eight years ago is revealed at the end, as one might suspect of a mystery. Another mystery is resolved as to why the family is also drawn to this impostor. All’s well that ends well, and after not knowing who he was or where he belongs, Brat Farrar eventually does find home.