Author: Nicola Upson
Published: Harper Paperbacks; Apr. 2013
Genre: Historical mystery
Source: TLC Book Tours
Synopsis: 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 horrif ic murder, again linked to a Hitchcock movie, drives Penrose back to the scene of the original crime to uncover the shocking truth.
My Take: I feel like I was duped a little with this novel. Right there on the cover it says "A new mystery featuring Josephine Tey and Alfred Hitchcock." Yet this book is the fourth book in the Josephine Tey series. I mean look at that synopsis, no where does it mention this is part of a series. False advertising if you ask me. I mean, if you are a fan of the series, you would want to know that the next book in the series is out. And if you haven't read the series before, like me, you would probably rather start at the beginning then at the end of the series.
However, I did my best to put it all aside and just immerse myself in Fear in the Sunlight. It is, after all, in a genre that I am quickly discovering is one of my new favorites: historical mystery. I've read quite a few lately and each time I found myself enjoying it more and more. However, this one came with such a huge cast of characters and very quick introductions that I found myself lost most of the time.
Theoretically, the book centers around Josephine Tey, a famous British mystery writer herself, and the Hitchcock's, Alfred and his wife Alma. Everyone was called to the Welsh tourist town of Portmeirion for a weekend to participate in a party the Hitchcocks are throwing. When the book opens, it is the 1950s and Archie, a police inspector, is called to reopen a murder mystery that happened the weekend he was at Portmerion in the 1930s. We then flash to that weekend and the mystery slowly evolves.
Many of the people there are actors wanting to be picked up on Hitchcock's next film, or actors past their prime just invited to participate in the weekend. Additionally, there is the staff that work in Portmeirion and the people that are friends of, or assist, the invited guests. It felt like each chapter introduced more people and by page 150 the mystery I was trying to solve was who the heck all of these people were and I found myself completely lost in that resolution. I eventually had to admit defeat.
I would be interested to hear from those who have read this series, should I go back and start at the beginning? Do share your thoughts of what you think of this series as a whole.
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Cover Lust: This cover adequately sets the book in the correct time period and it looks like an art piece from that time period as well so I find it a great cover for this novel.