The Singing Sands

The Singing Sands

by Josephine Tey

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Singing Sands 3.9 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 10 reviews.
Guest More than 1 year ago
This book is definitely my favourite of the Ins. Grant series. It is truly unfortunate that Ms. Tey was taken from us so young. Just think what she would have written! This book was published posthumously after her untimely death. It is as perfect a mystery as you will ever come across. In the book Grant is going on a holiday. On the train that he has taken to go to Scotland to visit friends, a young man is found dead in his room. It truly looked like misadventure, but something about it disturbed Grant and got him searching a trail that took him to the Hebrides, back to London, and to Marseilles. And what actually got him going on this impossible search were a few lines of poetry scrawled on a newspaper that the young victim had had with him before he died. Wonderful story told by a true master of the genre!
kylenapoli on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Clearly written by an author at the height of her powers, this is a perceptive portrait of a smart person wrestling with his own mind (in more ways than one). And a satisfying mystery to boot.
Smiley on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Interesting mystery. More novel than mystery..
MusicMom41 on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
This was Tey¿s last Alan Grant mystery. I always enjoy her books and this one was very satisfying. Tey's books tend to be novels instead of just a puzzle to solve. This one was a good novel and an intriguing puzzle.As Grant leaves the train in Scotland where he has gone for an extended rest because of work stress he passes a compartment where there is a dead body. He absent mindedly picks up a newspaper from the scene on which is written an unusual ¿poem¿. The beasts that talk,The streams that stand,The stones that walk,The singing sand.................................................That guard the wayTo ParadiseHe becomes engrossed in trying to discover who this dead man is and why he wrote the poem. His answer is surprising.
JonRob on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Tey's last book (published posthumously) features Alan Grant on extended leave following a breakdown. Quite accidentally he intervenes in the case of a dead man found in a sleeping-car, and inadvertently walks off with the newspaper in which the deceased had scribbled some lines of poetry. Gradually, acting in a completely private capacity, he discovers that the body was travelling under a false name, and that he was murdered, the motive being rather outlandish. As usual the book is as much about Grant himself as it is about the crime, and there are some delightful minor characters (Grant's young cousin Pat is particularly well-written) together with some pungent thoughts on Scottish Nationalism. On the downside (from some viewpoints, anyway) rather a lot of time is spent pursuing a trail which turns out a complete red-herring. This book divides opinions, but it's a favourite of mine.
jonesli on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Taking a rest from being overworked at Scotland Yard, Inspector Alan Grant plans a quiet vacation with an old school friend. On the night train to Scotland, he comes across a dead body (we're not sure if it is in fact a murder) and the scribblings "stones that walk" and "singing sand". Curious not only about the death but also about the phrases, it becomes impossible for Grant to get the rest that he needs. He does not stop until he figures out both mysteries. This is a delightful puzzle which is unveiled in a perfect manner. Unfortunately this is Ms. Tey's last book.
LisaMaria_C on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Sadly Tey wrote only eight mysteries, and this is her last, published posthumously. I don't think it's among her best. I'd rate it perhaps sixth out of the eight, but it's still a great read, and stands out as a character study of her detective, Inspector Alan Grant of Scotland Yard.When he first appeared in The Man in the Queue he struck me as rather bland especially compared to such sleuths as Sherlock Holmes, Hercule Poirot and Lord Peter Wimsey. With the possible exception of The Daughter of Time, he also strikes me in the books he appears in as the most fallible detective protagonist I've ever read. He's not notable for brilliant logical deductions like Holmes or Poirot. What he has is what he calls "flair"--intuition, instinct, imagination--and that doesn't always steer him the right way. At the beginning of The Singing Sands we see a mentally fragile Grant. Suffering from overwork, he's subject to a crippling claustrophobia. Taking leave to visit his cousin Laura in the Scottish Highlands, he encounters a dead body in one of the sleeping berths, seemingly the result of an accident. On a newspaper is scribbled some verse:The beasts that talk,The streams that stand,The stones that walk,The singing sands,That guard the way to Paradise.He finds that verse teasing his mind, and it pushes him to solve the mystery of the meaning of the verses and the young man's death, taking him to the Hebrides and to Marsaille. The introduction to the newest editions of the Tey books by Robert Barnard don't hold up Tey to a flattering light. I don't think Barnard really likes Tey. I came across on the internet at one point a list by Barnard of favorite works of crime fiction--notably Tey wasn't on his list. In his introduction he accuses Tey of "anti-Semitism, contempt for the working class, a deep uneasiness about any enthusiasm (for example Scottish Nationalism) that, to her, smacks of crankiness."Having recently reread all the books, there are definitely ethnic stereotypes expressed by characters, especially Grant. However, notably the only identifiably Jewish character, in A Shilling for Candles, is a positive one who rightly twits Grant about his class prejudices--Grant is entirely wrong about him. I also can't see anything but respect for working people in Tey's books. What she does express contempt for are self-styled radical champions of the working class--quite a different thing. Her attitude there is especially evident in The Franchise Affair. The Singing Sands is the book where the digs against Scottish Nationalism are primarily made. They don't strike me as cranky though. If anything they strike me as refreshing and relevant, as a slap at those who try to flare back to life age-old historical grievances. And I can certainly see Wee Archie in a lot of current political activists. Tey definitely shows a conservative sensibility that might offend the politically correct, and this is definitely one of her novels where that attitude is to the fore. And actually the tic I find most disconcerting throughout the novels isn't one Barnard picked up on. Tey has a tendency to judge people on their looks--not on whether they're attractive or not. But Grant believes someone is adventurous because of the shape of his eyebrows and in The Franchise Affair a woman is believed promiscuous because of the shade of blue of her eyes. As often is the case with Tey, this book also isn't the strongest of mysteries in a puzzle box sense. I found the way the mystery is resolved by a confession in a letter particularly weak. This definitely wouldn't be the Tey work I'd recommend as an introduction--I'd choose either The Daughter of Time or Brat Farrar if you haven't yet tried her before. But as with all Tey's books, this is strong in prose style, humor and unforgettable characters. And it's somehow fitting her last book is one where we get to delve a bit deeper into the psyche of her detec
ben_a on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
The beasts that talkThe streams that standThe beasts that talkThe singing sandsTey writes mysteries, but her excellences are those of a novelist. She fashions unforgettable characters. She describes the natural world precisely and beautifully. She is very funny. Her puzzle mechanics are less central. As they should be. 3.2.08
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
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