Monday, August 1, 2011

A Shilling for Candles (1936)

Its narrative spine does not hold up throughout the course of the book, at least not for me. What kept me reading was the prose, always excellent by Josephine Tey, the pseudonym of Elizabeth Mackintosh. This book was the basis of Alfred Hitchcock's underrated 1937 thriller Young and Innocent (don't Google this, looking for images). The book and the film have very little in common except for starting the same: a dead body is found on the beach. The book just lost me at some point and I kept reading despite having pretty much no clue what was going on. The solution to the crime was amusing but out of the blue. My favorite character was Emily, a precocious teen sleuth. Hitchcock must have liked her character as well, since she becomes front and center in the film version, played by Nova Pilbeam.

1 comment:

  1. I really and truly do love this book. I've read it a couple of times and it never loses its fascination for me.

    The character of the young girl reminds me so much of what Alan Bradley is doing with his Flavia character in his recent series. (THE SWEETNESS AT THE BOTTOM OF THE PIE, etc.) I can't help but think he was influenced by Tey.

    I also like Inspector Grant very much in this.

    Thanks for the review and the many different vintage covers.