People always credit Fremlin's first novel, 'The Hours Before Dawn', mainly because it won the Edgar for Best Crime Novel in 1960. However, her second novel has always been slightly overshadowed, which is a shame, as I feel it just as strong as its predecessor.
Here, Fremlin shows wonderfully her talent for creating menace and claustrophobia regardless of the setting. By day, Fremlin gives us frolicking children running and playing in the rolling sea, the sun beating down and ice-cream's eaten by the truck load. But by night she delivers a whole new landscape, one of horror, of dark imaginings, potential evil and malevolence. I have described her other works as 'light and shade', but here Fremlin shows us the two definite sides of the coin with panache. Fremlin's brilliance is in recording the minutiae of daily routine and turning them into small spiteful acts. She can turn a tiny gesture into a threat.
The power of self-suggested hysteria rings like a warning bell, vibrated by every carefully chosen word. 'Uncle Paul' is one of her finest novels. I am chuffed that finally, after many years, Fremlin's work is back in print and available to all. Start with this one and I guarantee you will be hooked on this author's small, yet powerful body of work.