But I was slowly won over by the lingering moodiness of the tone, which sat in contrast with the idyllic setting of Portmeirion, an Italianate resort village in North Wales, and the alluring glamour of the film industry in the mid-1930s. It's at Portmeirion where a large cast has gathered to celebrate Josephine's 40th birthday, and where Alfred Hitchcock and his wife, Alma Reville, hope to persuade her to let them turn her mystery A Shilling for Candles into a film. Here, a number of characters, including both Josephine and her friend, Scotland Yard inspector Archie Penrose, meet up with events from their pasts: some welcome and some sinister, all complicated.
The title is perfect; Hitchcock articulates its meaning in the novel, and as with his movies, the author knows the best techniques for evoking feelings of dread that are all the more powerful for being unexpected. If the mystery element appears to take a frustratingly long time to emerge, the title should be kept in mind. There were details of the crimes committed that I found painfully realistic, and difficult to read. Upson also skillfully illustrates the deep emotions of love and longing, and the sense of grief that permeates the earlier and later sections – set in 1954, two years after Tey's death – is among the most haunting that I've ever read.
Fear in the Sunlight was published by Harper Paperbacks in 2013. I bought a Kindle copy after getting an email from BookPerk (HarperCollins' e-list for ebook bargains), and I read it on the plane going to and from BEA. First in the series is An Expert in Murder.