Book review: An Inspector Calls and Other Plays

Book Review: An Inspector Calls and Other Plays

One of the great things about the Modern Mrs. Darcy reading challenge is that it has encouraged me to read outside my normal reading lane. It has exposed me to books that I would not have read. I would not have picked up An Inspector Calls and Other Plays on my own. The reading challenged prompted this book choice. I’m glad I read this book because I found it quite entertaining.

An Inspector Calls and Other Plays is a collection of four plays that JB Priestley wrote. The four plays include

  • Time and the Conways
  • I Have Been Here Before
  • An Inspector Calls
  • The Linden Tree

The last time I had read a play was in high school when we were reading Shakespeare’s plays. At the time, I did not appreciate the experience and swore myself off of plays. And then steps in the Modern Mrs. Darcy reading challenge. The prompt for this challenge was to read a collection of plays, essays, or poetry. I chose a collection of plays. As I was looking for a collection, I stumbled upon this particular book and it looked intriguing.

JB Priestley wrote Time and the Conways and I Have Been Here Before in 1937. He wrote the other two plays, An Inspector Calls and The Linden Tree, in 1947. The plays were set in the period of when he wrote them except for Time and the Conways and An Inspector Calls, which were twenty years earlier.

In this particular book, 98% of the reading was straight dialogue. I was not used to reading a book in this fashion. I found the reading experience quite enjoyable. It was like I was sitting in on a conversation with a group of people. An Inspector Calls was a very quick read. I was very much absorbed in what unfolded page after page. I appreciated the twist at the end of the play.

In each play, the dialogue had a formality to it that reflected the vocabulary used in that period. In some of the plays, there was also a hierarchy reflective of an aristocratic period of time. I found it fascinating how different parts of society spoke to each other and among themselves. With little description of the character attributes, I was able to visualize the different people based on the dialogue.

In the writing, Priestley explored the topics of war, socialism, religion, communism, sciences, etc. Each of these topics helped to guide the direction of the play.

Each of the plays had its own little twist that was very subtle. In some cases, I could see the direction the author was taking me. In other cases, the ending was a total surprise.

Time was a transcending theme across the all four plays. Priestley played with the element of time differently in each play.

Out of the four plays, I thought An Inspector Calls was the best of the lot. I found a YouTube video of the play. You’ll enjoy it.

If you are looking for something different to read, check out JB Priestley’s, An Inspector Calls and Other Plays . Each of the plays was a quick read and had a subtle twist in each of them. I was quite entertained.


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