Wednesday, January 7, 2015

Fear in the Sunlight: A New Mystery featuring Josephine Tey and Alfred Hitchcock by Nicola Upson

Fear in the Sunlight: A New Mystery featuring Josephine Tey 
and Alfred Hitchcock by Nicola Upson
ISBN-10: 0062195433 - Paperback $14.99
Harper Paperbacks; Reprint edition (April 9, 2013), 432 pages.
Review copy courtesy of the publisher.

The blurb:
Summer 1936.  Mystery writer Josephine They 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 none 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.

While Fear in Sunlight is the most recent Josephine Tey mystery by Nicola Upson, it isn't necessary to have read the earlier novels in the series to be drawn to the characters and her lead detective,  Detective Chief Inspector Archie Penrose.   We quickly learn that Josephine Tey and DCI Penrose have a complicated history linked in part to World War I, but the Great War has left its mark on most everyone in Great Britain.

Fear in Sunlight takes us back to the days when Alfred Hitchcock and his wife Alma have brought together Josephine Tey and several actors with the intent of producing Tey's A Shilling for Candles into a Hitchcock film.  But as Hitchcock has a penchant for cruel jokes of sorts, he's arranged an elaborate prank that goes awry.  Two deaths and a suicide later, DCI Penrose must try to make sense of the violence and to parse through the many levels of deception.

Engaging, well crafted, and beautifully written, Fear in Sunlight is a treat for those who love a fun British mystery and have a particular fondness for Josephine Tey.  I've ordered the first book in the series and plan to go through them all.

About the Author:
Nicola Upson has written for a variety of publications, including the Nw 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.  Learn more about her at

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