Brat Farrar

Brat Farrar - Josephine Tey, Robert Barnard [These notes were made in 1984:]. A young man (Simon) kills his elder twin brother Patrick at age 13, and dumps him down a quarry; then leaves Patrick's coat on a seaside cliff with a note which suggests suicide. Eight years later, just as Simon is about to come of age and inherit, Brat Farrar (a cousinly relation, though he doesn't know it), is persuaded by an unscrupulous neighbour to impersonate Patrick and claim the inheritance. Most of the book deals with Brat's gradual realization of what's going on with Simon, who makes several attempts to kill him off, although not choosing to expose him as an impostor. They have their final struggle on the edge of the quarry; both fall and Simon is killed while Brat is badly injured. Meanwhile, Patrick's body is discovered, since Brat had gone to the Rector the night before and confessed not only his own imposture but the suspicions he has of Simon. The womenfolk are important, especially eldest daughter Nell and Aunt Bee, both of whom are attractive women, and for both of whom he feels great (not altogether brotherly?) affection. Tey leaves it hanging which, if either, he will eventually link up with. I am beginning to be able to spot Tey's villains - they are generally well-off, spoiled, selfish and hard under a charming or ingratiating manner. Character, it seems, is destiny in a Tey story!