Lesebändchen, DVD-Besonderheiten: Bound in buckram, blocked with a design by the artist Set in Dante with Station No. 5 display 256 pages Frontispiece and 6 colour illustrations 9” x 5¾”.

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When the body of a famous film actress is found beneath chalk cliffs on the south coast of England, it is initially thought to be a tragic suicide; the area is notorious for such incidents. However, it soon becomes clear that darker motives were afoot, and potential suspects in the death of Christine Clay stack up at a rapid pace. As the case grows murkier, the man who spent the last week of Clay’s life living with her in a remote cottage goes on the run, and Inspector Alan Grant must race to uncover the truth.


In her introduction, American crime writer Laurie R. King discusses Tey’s willingness to break the rules of golden age crime, her cheerful disregard of genre expectations and above all her exquisite prose, as sharp and as sly as a knife between the ribs. Nothing is to be taken for granted in Tey’s novels: her intricate plots are elevated beyond the simple whodunnit by a layer of psychological depth, and every character is capable of hiding secrets.


In A Shilling for Candles, Tey, a famously private person, turns a shrewd eye onto the destructive nature of celebrity. The author’s sympathy for the victim – hounded by the public even beyond death – is conveyed with her characteristic insight and wit. Noting the author’s double life as a playwright, King observes: ‘Tey’s novels are as concentrated as a play: slim in size, broad in emotion, and more thought-provoking than a sprawling epic.’


Produced in series with The Singing Sands, this edition features illustrations by Mark Smith, who won an award for his work on the previous volume. His spare, kinetic images capture both the period of the novel and the uneasy tension that runs through the story: a man sprints down a beach to a grisly discovery, while shadows linger menacingly in doorways.

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