Mystery writer Josephine Tey is in Portmeirion to meet with Alfred Hitchcock and his wife about a film deal. Hitchcock is also in Portmeirion to scout the location and set up tricks to reveal his crews response to guilt and fear. In this tense atmosphere, no one is prepared to deal with the murder of two women on the island. The island police don’t seem particularly interested in finding the killer and it’s only years later that another murder connected to a Hitchcock film begins to lead to the truth.
Much of this book was amazingly well done. After reading a Hitchcock biography, I knew immediately that I loved the quote used for the title; that Hitchcock would probably like the abstract art feel of the cover; and that the chapters were named after Hitchcock films. I also loved the number of quotes used in the book and how well they gave the reader a feel for what Hitchcock was like. The suspense of knowing that someone was going to be killed before starting the story also seemed like something Hitchcock would approve of. The writing was also very impressive.
So, that was the good stuff. And there really was a lot to recommend this book. However, he violence was pretty extreme though and that got to me a bit. Worse than that was the unsatisfying, unsettling, unfinished feel of the ending. This made the horrible violence feel more pointless and harder to live with. I do hate to give such an objectively good book such a poor rating, but I decided early on that ratings on my blog would reflect I how felt when I finished the book. Then I try to give a good account of why I felt that way, and what you do with that information is up to you :)This review first published on Doing Dewey.