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review 2020-03-05 16:03
Bringing up the rear of the Teyfest
Miss Pym Disposes - Josephine Tey

I've been really busy, so this slender book took me a much longer time to read than I expected. And not because it wasn't good, because it was good. Quite good.


This is my fourth Tey - I've already read Brat Farrar, The Franchise Affair & The Singing Sands. What a sadness it is that she died so young. I'm directly in the middle of her oevre - I've read four and have four left to read. 


Miss Pym is not my favorite of the bunch - that honor goes to Brat Farrar. But there hasn't been a Tey that I disliked, although I was least impressed by The Singing Sands. I'm going to have to give that one another chance, though, now that I've warmed to Tey so much more. 


I really liked this one. The setting at the school was delightful, and the characters of the Seniors were drawn with perspicacity laced with generosity. Like Tigus, I loved Nut Tart. Tey captured that moment in life when school is ending and youth is moving onto, and into, its future. The anticipation, the desperation, the uncertainty, the sense of standing on a precipice. 


Did Miss Pym do the right thing? That's a question that remains. I tend to think not, because her decision absolved a character who is dangerously unbalanced. Perhaps if Tey had lived longer, a sequel would have required Miss Pym to reckon with the consequences of her decision.


I'm reminded of Hickory Dickory Dock, or even Crooked House, a little bit here. Who takes responsibility for the next victim. And the victim after that? Because if there's one thing that Agatha Christie teaches us, it's that a murderer who has gotten away with it doesn't stop at one - especially when the murder is cold-bloodedly motivated by gain.


Anyway, great read!

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text 2020-03-03 02:37
Reading progress update: I've read 80 out of 224 pages.
Miss Pym Disposes - Josephine Tey

I didn't manage to get much reading time in over the weekend - a lot of painting and home improvement was happening on my daughter's new house.


I'm into this one now, though, and loving it. Miss Pym and Nut Tart just went to the two-pub village and met Mr. & Mrs. Innes.


I'm so worried about who is going to be the victim, guys!

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text 2020-03-01 22:45
Reading progress update: I've read 100%. - what a splendid finish
Miss Pym Disposes - Josephine Tey

I wanted to stand up and applaud at the end of this book.


I wasn't entirely surprised but I was deeply satisfied.


I liked the fact that Miss Pym was weighed down by the decision she felt she had to make. The description of her internal struggle over what to do seemed very real to me. I share her sentiment that following the rules may not be doing the right thing and even if it is, it doesn't absolve you of the consequences.


I also enjoyed the twist the ending took, leading me down both the paths I'd seen as possible rather than choosing between them. Both paths were valid and the outcomes and reactions seemed to me to be entirely credible.


One of the abiding things I'll take away from this story is how careful we have to be about the challenges we set the young, especially the young, talented and driven. In a way, the whole tragedy that unfolds here is a product of trying to instil in young people who are searching for identity, community, recognition and affection, the strong to desire to PROVE themselves worthy. 


There's a description of the Seniors, just before they are about to perform in the Demonstration, an event they've been practising for all year and which will validate thm and their achievements in the eyes of the great, the good and of their parents, that demonstrates this. They are nervous because events have forced last-minute changes that their teacher, Miss Fröken, is walking them through, 



"Lucy had a seat at the end of the front row. From there she looked down with affection on the grave young faces waiting, with such tense resolution, Fröken’s word of command. ‘Don’t worry,’ she had heard a Senior say, ‘Fröken will see us through,’ and one could see the faith in their eyes. This was their ordeal, and they came to it shaken, but Fröken would see them through."


This faith and this focus carry an enormous responsibility with it. Young people can do anything. We need to be careful about what we ask them to do.


I really enjoyed this novel. Although it's seventy-four years old, it feels fresh and innovative and relevant. It's also a lot of fun. I strongly recommend it.

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text 2020-03-01 00:35
Reading progress update: I've read 250 out of 250 pages.
Miss Pym Disposes - Josephine Tey

Eyebrows that sent people to the stake.

Yes, she would write a book about face-reading. Under another name, of course. Face-reading was not well seen among the intelligentsia.

Bwahahahahahaaa... Yes, Tey has done it again. She took another popular trope of the genre in her day and then totally ripped it to pieces!


Well, I am delighted that she goes out with a bang as far as my exploration of the Tey mysteries are concerned. This was delightful!

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text 2020-02-29 21:01
Reading progress update: I've read 82 out of 250 pages.
Miss Pym Disposes - Josephine Tey

If I had gone back to London, Lucy thought, I would have had no share in this. What would I be doing? Eleven o’clock. Going for a walk in the Park, and deciding how to get out of being guest of honour at some literary dinner. Instead I have this. And all because Dr Knight wanted to go to a medical conference tomorrow. No, because once long ago Henrietta stood up for me at school. It was odd to think that this sunlit moment in an English June began to take shape thirty years ago in a dark crowded school cloakroom filled with little girls putting on their goloshes. What were first causes, anyhow?

I have been out of town for much of today and my plans of reading on the train did not come to pass because the weather outside was gorgeous and I got distracted by looking at sunlight hitting the dustings of snow on the hills.


Anyway, I am back onto the book now, and I am really enjoying it: the whole scene-setting of the school, the students, the odd sensation of Lucy feeling a little misplaced, ... I love it. 


Of course, I wonder if any of the specific scenes had been taken from Tey's own life, as she's trained at a similar college, but even without this, I am intrigued how the mystery will pan out? Is Henrietta a younger Miss Bulstrode (and I swear this is the only comparison to the fabulous Cat Among the Pigeons I will make)? Or does she have a dark side? 

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