review copy provided by Harper via TLC Book Tours
Summer 1936. Mystery writer Josephine Tey joins her friends in the resort village of Portmeirion, Wales, to celebrate her fortieth birthday. Alfred Hitchcock and his wife, Alma Reville, are there to sign a deal to film Josephine’s novel, A Shilling for Candles. But things get out of hand when one of Hollywood’s leading actresses is brutally slashed to death in a cemetery near the village. The following day, as fear and suspicion take over in a setting where nothing—and no one—is quite what it seems, Chief Inspector Archie Penrose becomes increasingly unsatisfied with the way the investigation is ultimately resolved. Several years later, another horrific murder, again linked to a Hitchcock movie, drives Penrose back to the scene of the original crime to uncover the shocking truth.
Naturally, when I first heard about Fear in the Sunlight and the opportunity to read and review it, I was interested because of the time period and the fact that it includes Alfred Hitchcock. I had never hear of Josephine Tey or read any of her books. After reading Fear in the Sunlight, I just might have to read a few of them. I also hadn't read any of Nicola Upson's books, but I will be remedying that situation as soon as I can.
I found the perspective given of Hitchcock and his wife to be very interesting and I will probably have to do some reading and watch one of the movies about them. They seem like quite the power couple.
There are several important characters to keep track of and at times I had to go back and make sure who was who.For some reason, I kept mixing up David and Daniel and had to write notes so I could keep them straight. I think this was mostly because I was reading the book so quickly.
Once things are set up, and the characters arrive at Portmeirion, things start to happen very quickly. I enjoyed how the author set the reader up for some surprises right off because of all the speculation about Hitchcock's elaborate jokes - this made me try to pay attention to who went where and why and I was always suspicious of what exactly they were doing and why they were doing it.
There are some horrific crimes committed at the resort, and that is ostensibly what the book is about, but the really fascinating stuff is back story and really turns things on their heads. I enjoyed the mad dash to find out exactly who everyone was, who had killed who and why. The stories are complicated and convoluted - just the way they should be. I loved trying to guess at the plot twists and a few I got right but others really threw me.
I appreciated the nod to classic mystery genre - everyone gathered together the morning after a murder, everyone is a suspect, everyone's alibi's are a bit shaky - so much fun. I also had a chuckle at how the author depicts Hitchcock's reactions to certain events - kind of a comeuppance for the great mystery movie director; but then he kind of has the final word, so it's all good.
I found Fear in the Sunlight to be an easily read, interest grabbing, fast-paced murder mystery. I would definitely recommend it to anyone who enjoys a good mystery novel.
About Nicola UpsonNicola Upson is the author of the Josephine Tey mysteries: An Expert in Murder, Angel with Two Faces, and Two for Sorrow. She has written for a variety of publications, including the New Statesman, where she was a crime fiction critic. She also regularly contributes to BBC radio and has worked in the theater for ten years. She divides her time between Cambridge and Cornwall.
Visit Nicola at her website, www.nicolaupson.com.
Nicola’s Tour StopsTuesday, April 9th: The Well-Read Wife
Wednesday, April 10th: The Road to Here
Thursday, April 11th: Amused By Books
Friday, April 12th: Tiffany’s Bookshelf
Monday, April 15th: Booktalk & More
Thursday, April 18th: Man of La Book
Monday, April 22nd: Nonsuch Book
Tuesday, April 23rd: guiltless reading
Wednesday, April 24th: A Book Geek
Thursday, April 25th: Unabridged Chick
Tuesday, April 30th: The House of the Seven Tails
Saturday, May 4th: Doing Dewey
I received this book from the author or publisher for a fair and honest review. I was not compensated for this review.