by Julia Buckley
Every year I celebrate Daphne Du Maurier's Rebecca by showing the Hitchcock film to my composition class and then encouraging them to write about the story. No matter how many times I hear (or read) "Last night I dreamt I went to Manderley again," I am willing to go, too.
We happen to be watching the movie today, and I was thinking about it all weekend, so naturally life kept putting Daphne Du Maurier's name in front of me, haunting me the way Rebecca haunted the new Mrs. de Winter.
First I saw an ad for a new mystery series featuring a young Daphne Du Maurier as its sleuth. Joanna Challis, it told me, has written a fictional tale called The Cliffside Murders in which a young Daphne Du Maurier, already dreaming of becoming a writer, becomes embroiled in a mystery which will eventually inspire the writing of Rebecca.
The cover alone makes this one look worth reading--nothing like a moody sky to get me to pick up a mystery.
Then, while investigating The Cliffside Murders, I found this gem: Editor Patrick McGrath has compiled a selection of Du Maurier's creepiest stories for the reader's pleasure.
Du Maurier won me over way back in the seventh grade, when our teacher read us bits of Jamaica Inn every day after recess. We read the whole book that way, and I was allowed to appreciate Du Maurier's distinctive and moody style, to squirm beneath her suspense while I sat in my little wooden desk.
My fascination with both her stories and with her make me curious about this book:
According to Bas Bleu catalog, Piers Dudgeon, the author of Neverland: J.M. Barrie, The Du Mauriers, and the Dark Side of Peter Pan, once worked with Daphne Du Maurier, and "was intrigued by the fact that Daphne (a granddaughter of George du Maurier) put a moratorium on the publication of her youthful diaries until fifty years after her death. He wondered what she wanted to keep hidden, and as he got deeper and deeper into his research, his suspicions about J. M. Barrie’s maliciousness grew. Though they are often wildly unprovable, Dudgeon’s theories—involving inner demons, twisted psyches, and hypnotism—are irresistibly fascinating! Warning: Your view of Peter Pan may be forever altered."
Ah, yes, all the world loves Daphne, and her mystique continues to sell books, even if they aren't books penned by her.
What's your favorite Du Maurier story?