To Love and Be Wise

To Love and Be Wise - Josephine Tey, Robert Barnard [These notes were made in 1984; I read a Pan, 1969 edition:]. Inspector Grant meets a very beautiful young man, Leslie Searle, at a fashionable party. Searle is a photographer, and gets himself invited to the home of a novelist in a small town which has become something of an artists' colony. Liz, the novelist's niece, and daughter of a possessive mother, is engaged to Walter Whitmore, a radio personality, but seems to be taking an interest in this new arrival. Walter and Leslie Searle decide to take a boat trip down the river, Searle providing photos, and Walter the text for a book. But Searle disappears mysteriously near the village, and Grant is called in to what looks like a murder. I had this one pegged about half-way through: the emphasis on Searle's good looks and Grant's uneasy feelings could mean only (a) a homosexual plot or (b) that Searle is really a woman, and in a novel published in 1950, (b) is by far the likelier. And so it is: Leslie Searle is the masculine transformation of Lee Searle, London artist, who is out to punish Walter for what she sees as the callous desertion of her unstable actress-cousin. A classic corny situation: when I bought this in a second-hand bookshop, I didn't notice the last page was missing! Anyway, a quick trip to Metro library solved that problem. Good stuff, tho' not absolutely her best. I notice that Tey, like Sayers, seems to prefer as little violence and actual murder as possible in her mysteries.