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Upson, Nicola - 'Fear in the Sunlight'
Paperback: 432 pages (Sep. 2012) Publisher: Faber and Faber ISBN: 0571246370

On the verge of retiring, Chief Inspector Penrose of Scotland Yard is reminded of a case that happened many years before and is given information that might give new insight into it.

Josephine Tey, a famous detective fiction author, and her friend, Archie Penrose of, are visiting Portmerion Village in Wales to reluctantly celebrate her fortieth birthday. She intends meeting up with friends and relatives and also has a business meeting with the famous film producer, Alfred Hitchcock. Hitchcock and his wife, Alma, are interested in developing the new Hitchcock film based on one of her books.

Also staying at the village are stars of stage and screen, some invited by Hitchcock as a means of choosing his new cast, others hoping for him to notice them and see their potential for the silver screen. As the weekend develops, Hitchcock’s famous tricks on his guests start to be more disturbing and upsetting, not only to those involved but also any bystanders.

It also becomes apparent that not all are newcomers to the village or area. Some of the guests have a long history and have personal knowledge of the tragedies that have occurred locally.

Josephine finds a mutilated body and shortly after, her lover, Marta, finds the body one of Hitchcock’s guests. Inspector Penrose starts to investigate the deaths until the local police arrive and is not best pleased to be treated as just another witness and warned from interfering in the investigation. The sudden suicide of yet another guest seems to provide a solution to the murders and all are given permission to leave.

I have read detective fiction by Josephine Tey in the past and enjoyed it and obviously seen films by Hitchcock and enjoyed those, but do not know enough about their real lives to know whether the private lives as portrayed in this books are true. I am not generally keen on books that take characters like this and incorporate them into other fiction but on the whole, this was an enjoyable read. Very light and not demanding – one for the beach or a journey, I think.

Susan White, England
October 2012

Details of the author's other books with links to reviews can be found on the Books page.
More European crime fiction reviews can be found on the Reviews page.

last updated 6/10/2012 19:25