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Monday, 28 February 2011

The cunning girl behind the mystery novel

The Franchise Affair is a 1948 mystery novel written by Josephine Tey. The novel tells the story of Marion Sharpe and her mother, two eminently respectable ladies who live at the Franchise, a large isolated house on the outskirts of town, and who are accused of the abduction and imprisonment of a 15-year-old girl, called Betty Cane. The two ladies decide to ask a small-town lawyer called Blair to defend them.
Although the book provides a contemporary setting, it is inspired by the real case of Elizabeth Canning, an event which happened in the 18th century. Canning was an English maidservant who disappeared for almost a month. She claimed that two ladies had been her captors. However, after a thorough investigation, it was proved the Canning had lied and she was arrested for perjury. The reasons for Canning's disappearance still remain a mystery. The cunning girl's case ultimately became the inspiration of one of the most famous criminal novels of the 20th century.

* Glossary:

cunning: having the ability to deceive people.
outskirts: bordering areas of a city or town
abduction: the act of taking someone away by force; kidnappingcaptor: person who kidnaps another
perjury: deliberately false testimony. 

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