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Fear in the Sunlight (Josephine Tey Series #4)

Fear in the Sunlight (Josephine Tey Series #4)

3.1 10
by Nicola Upson

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Nicola Upson blends biography and fiction, excitement and menace, and a touch of Alfred Hitchcock in Fear in the Sunlight, a mystery starring real-life writer Josephine Tey.

Summer, 1936: Josephine Tey joins her friends in the resort village of Portmeirion to celebrate her fortieth birthday. Alfred Hitchcock and his wife, Alma Reville, are there to


Nicola Upson blends biography and fiction, excitement and menace, and a touch of Alfred Hitchcock in Fear in the Sunlight, a mystery starring real-life writer Josephine Tey.

Summer, 1936: Josephine Tey joins her friends in the resort village of Portmeirion 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, and Alfred Hitchcock has one or two tricks up his sleeve to keep the holiday party entertained—and expose their deepest fears. 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, fear and suspicion take over in a setting where nothing—and no one—is quite what it seems.

Based in part on the life of Josephine Tey—one of the most popular, best-loved crime writers of the Golden Age, Nicola Upson’s Fear in the Sunlight features legendary film director Alfred Hitchcock as a prominent character—and features the  classic suspense and psychological tension that fans of Hitchcock films love.

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
British author Upson surpasses herself with her mesmerizing and psychologically complex fourth whodunit featuring real-life mystery writer Josephine Tey (after 2011’s Two for Sorrow). In part one, set in 1954 London, an American detective informs Scotland Yarder Archie Penrose that a suspect who has confessed to the murders of three women on the set of Alfred Hitchcock’s Rear Window in California has also confessed to three other murders committed 18 years earlier in the resort town of Portmeirion, Wales. At that time, Penrose, the model for Tey’s Inspector Grant, and Tey were in Portmeirion celebrating the writer’s 40th birthday. Also present was Hitchcock, already a legendary director, who hoped to persuade Tey to allow him to adapt one of her works for the screen. The brief prologue’s account of the carnage to come in the sections set in 1936 Wales enables Upson effectively to delay the reader’s gratification and to develop a large cast of fully realized characters. The melancholy tone and pitch-perfect prose add depth to the sinister plot. Agent: Gráinne Fox, Fletcher & Co. (Apr.)
Financial Times (London)
“A smart, playful pleasure in an increasingly adventurous series.”
“A deft and agreeably darker addition to the series.”
From the Publisher
"Excellent. . . . Upson upsets [listeners'] expectations with a surprise that keeps the suspense high to the satisfying conclusion." ---Publishers Weekly Starred Review
Library Journal
The year is 1936, and English crime novelist Josephine Tey is turning 40. A celebratory weekend has been planned in the idyllic resort village of Portmeirion, but the holiday is not entirely focused on leisure because famed director Alfred Hitchcock will also be present to discuss transforming one of her mysteries into a film. The festivities quickly turn sour when Hitchcock’s penchant for mischief transforms a relaxing respite into a violent and deadly weekend. As usual, Tey’s close friend CI Archie Penrose is close at hand to investigate.

Verdict This novel is the fourth installment (after Two for Sorrow) in Upson’s mysteries featuring real-life playwright and novelist Tey. This latest work is more concerned with concocting a tale about Tey’s personal life, of which very little is actually known, than with weaving a compelling mystery. An abundance of characters and an overly intricate plot make for a long slog to the finish line. Recommended for purchase only if you have a strong following of the series.—Amy Nolan, St. Joseph, MI

(c) Copyright 2013. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

Product Details

HarperCollins Publishers
Publication date:
Josephine Tey Series , #4
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File size:
1 MB

Meet the Author

Nicola Upson is the author of five previous Josephine Tey mysteries, including An Expert in Murder, and two works of nonfiction. She has worked in theater and as a freelance journalist. A recipient of an Escalator Award from the Arts Council England, she splits her time between Cambridge  and  Cornwall. 

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Fear in the Sunlight 3.1 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 10 reviews.
Man_Of_La_Book_Dot_Com More than 1 year ago
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.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Let me see if I have this straight - the pseudonymous author, Josephine Tey, is really lesbian and the male Detective Penrose is still pining for her years after her death? How VERY unlikely! Apparently I missed the outrage Upsom perpetrated earlier, where she had Tey in a torrid love affair with an actress. Upson has said in an interview that she and her "partner" discovered and decoded an extended love letter to the real Tey from an actress, and you could tell from the gloating that followed that they could hardly wait to out her. I cannot tell you how much I despise people who take it upon themselves to shine spotlights on things people MAY have fone and kept private (I say MAY! because I've found no cofirnation if this eksewhere and I am not going to take the word odf such an unscrupulous agenda-pusher).
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Got in middle of series then went back and borrowed. Dragged and boring and what does bi gender have to do with a murder mystery anyway will not read on in this series
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
LIKE THE PREMISE-WOULD READ MORE BECAUSE I love the period & Josephine Tey
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Lays staring into his pool.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
everything too unfinished to make sense of plot but read last chapter
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I hate AGENDA PUSHING authors and/or publishers.