Josephine Tey, whose real name was Elizabeth MacKintosh, was the daughter of a fruiterer from Inverness and today (February 13) marks the anniversary of her death in 1952.
She wrote a number of successful crime novels including A Shilling for Candles – upon which Alfred Hitchcock based his 1937 film Young and Innocent.
Meanwhile, her mystery novel The Daughter of Time, has featured on a number of prestigious lists with BBC Radio 4’s A Good Read describing it as “one of the most important books ever written”.
In 2022, a commemorative blue plaque was installed in Castle Street in Inverness at the site of Tey’s family shop and business.
Putting Tey on the map
Speaking to The National, Alison Taylor McCall – admin of the Mapping Memorials to Women in Scotland – said that marking Tey’s memorial was an important step.
The map itself can be found HERE.
The project is a joint venture between Women’s History Scotland and Glasgow Women’s Library and features more than 1000 memorials which can be found across Scotland.
However, Tey will become the 750th woman on the list as many of those featured have more than one memorial dedicated to them.
“It’s not an academic resource, it’s a public information resource,” says McCall.
“It’s a way to get people interested. You’ll quite often see something when you’re out and about but not know the full story behind it all so this is a series of little stories as it were.
“Some people on the list are extremely famous but a lot of them are women who might have done something small but interesting in their local area.
“It might be a woman who was a church organist for 40 years who has some kind of memorial to her so there’s a huge range, although most people are interested in witches and suffragettes.
“It’s also a way of pushing something like women in science and their stories tend to be ones that people just haven’t heard.”
A history of crime writing
Scotland has a rich history when it comes to crime writing and is still recognised across the world for its work today.
McCall explains that she wants to ensure that everybody knows who Tey is and that there is still a way to go before she gets the recognition she deserves.
She said: “It’s important to cover the whole country and obviously Josephine Tey is in Inverness.
“There’s been lots of interest in her since her biography (written by Jennifer Morag Henderson) was released in 2015.
“We’re wanting to add a bit more information so if people see the plaque, or now they know where it is, then they can go and visit it if they want.”