About this item

A gripping short biography of the extraordinary Alfred Hitchock, the master of suspense.

Alfred Hitchcock was a strange child. Fat, lonely, burning with fear and ambition, his childhood was an isolated one, scented with fish from his father's shop. Afraid to leave his bedroom, he would plan great voyages, using railway timetables to plot an exact imaginary route across Europe. So how did this fearful figure become the one of the most respected film directors of the twentieth century?
As an adult, Hitch rigorously controlled the press's portrait of him, drawing certain carefully selected childhood anecdotes into full focus and blurring all others out. In this quick-witted portrait, Ackroyd reveals something more: a lugubriously jolly man fond of practical jokes, who smashes a once-used tea cup every morning to remind himself of the frailty of life. Iconic film stars make cameo appearances, just as Hitch did in his own films: Grace Kelly, Cary Grant, and James Stewart despair of his detached directing style and, perhaps most famously of all, Tippi Hedren endures cuts and bruises from a real-life fearsome flock of birds.
Alfred Hitchcock wrests the director's chair back from the master of control and discovers what lurks just out of sight, in the corner of the shot.

About the Author

Peter Ackroyd

CBE is an English novelist and biographer with a particular interest in the history and culture of London. mother worked in the personnel department of an engineering firm, his father having left the family home when Ackroyd was a baby. He was reading newspapers by the age of 5 and, at 9, wrote a play about Guy Fawkes. Reputedly, he first realized he was gay at the age of 7.Ackroyd was educated at St. Benedict's, Ealing and at Clare College, Cambridge, from which he graduated with a double first in English. In 1972, he was a Mellon Fellow at Yale University in the United States. The result of this fellowship was Ackroyd's , written when he was only 22 and eventually published in 1976. The title, a playful echo of T. S. Eliot's (1948) , was an early indication of Ackroyd's penchant for creatively exploring and reexamining the works of other London-based writers. Ackroyd's literary career began with poetry, including such works as (1973) and (1987) . He later moved into fiction and has become an acclaimed author, winning the 1998 James Tait Black Memorial Prize for the biography Thomas More and being shortlisted for the Booker Prize in 1987. Ackroyd worked at The Spectator magazine between 1973 and 1977 and became joint managing editor in 1978. In 1982 he published , his first novel. This novel deals with one of Ackroyd's great heroes, Charles Dickens, and is a reworking of . The novel set the stage for the long sequence of novels Ackroyd has produced since, all of which deal in some way with the complex interaction of time and space, and what Ackroyd calls "the spirit of place". It is also the first in a sequence of novels of London, through which he traces the changing, but curiously consistent nature of the city. Often this theme is explored through the city's artists, and especially its writers. Ackroyd has always shown a great interest in the city of London, and one of his best known works, , is an extensive and thorough discussion of London through the ages. His fascination with London literary and artistic figures is also displayed in the sequence of biographies he has produced of Ezra Pound (1980) , T. S. Eliot (1984) , Charles Dickens (1990) , William Blake (1995) , Thomas More (1998) , Chaucer (2004) , William Shakespeare (2005) , and J. M. W. Turner. The city itself stands astride all these works, as it does in the fiction. From 2003 to 2005, Ackroyd wrote a six-book non-fiction series () , intended for readers as young as eight. This was his first work for children. The critically acclaimed series is an extensive narrative of key periods in world history.Early in his career, Ackroyd was nominated a Fellow of the Royal Society of Literature in 1984 and, as well as producing fiction, biography and other literary works, is also a regular radio and television broadcaster and book critic.In the New Year's honours list of 2003, Ackroyd was awarded the CBE.

Read Next Recommendation

Discuss with your friends

Report incorrect product information.