cover image Fear in the Sunlight

Fear in the Sunlight

Nicola Upson. Harper/Bourbon Street, $14.99 trade paper (432p) ISBN 978-0-06-219543-2

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.)