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Posted April 26, 2013
Fear in the Sunlight by Nicola Upson is a mystery novel takin
Fear in the Sunlight by Nicola Upson is a mystery novel taking place in 1936. This is the fourth book in a series starring author Josephine Tey.
Author Josephine Tey and her friends go to celebrate her 40th birthday at the resort village of Portmeirion. They are to meet Alfred Hitchcock and his wife to discuss
turning Josephine’s novel into a movie. When a Hollywood starlet gets murdered in a nearby cemetery Chief Inspector Archie Penrose becomes involved, yet he is unsatisfied with the way the investigation was resolved.
Several years later, another murder happens, also linked to a Hitchcock’s movie. Penrose goes back to the scene to try to uncover the truth.
The reason I chose to read Fear in the Sunlight by Nicola Upson was because Alfred Hitchcock was in the story, I had no idea it was part of a series and probably wouldn't have noticed either until I read it somewhere.
I was looking forward to read a good mystery which was somewhat involved in Hitchcock’s movies. However the famed director is a character in this novel much like anyone else. Granted, not everyone has his insecurities and eccentricities but there is no Hitchcock specific take on the story.
The story was very slow to start but once it got going it held my interest until the end, but the large cast of characters kept me confused and I had to re-read some sections to make sure I had the story correct.
I felt the author was trying to do several things in this novel, while interesting none of them really shine or come to the front. The mystery, Josephine Tey’s personal life, Hitchcock’s personality, marriage, show business, police work and others are all part of the story. However, it seemed that Ms. Upson was also trying to tie her story to Hitchcock’s themes of voyeurism, suspense, mistaken identities, the charming sociopath, as well as wink and nods to the great director’s films (staircases, bell tower and more). While as a movie buff I appreciated those nods, I felt they pushed the actual story to the background. I was less interested in Ms. Tey’s part of the story and wanted to read more about Chief Inspector Penrose who I felt was a more interesting character.
This novel needs to be read with care and attention, simply breezing through it would confuse the reader due to the several stories and timelines. After a slow start, the novel is a worthwhile read which delivers on the mystery aspect being promoted.
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