Tuesday, April 19, 2016

Daphne du Maurier

I'm sure you've heard her name, Daphne du Maurier, even if you can't quickly put your finger on why you know her name. That's a shame for all of us, including me. I admit I had to look her up. Born on May 13, 1907, du Maurier died on April 19, 1989. This gives us the perfect reason to show her a little attention today.

I asked my husband if he knew who Daphne du Maurier was and he said. "Yah, give me a minute. Oh! I had to read Rebecca and watch the movie in 10th grade. I hated it."  Ha! Ok, so maybe my 10th grade husband wasn't the intended audience.

We, connoisseurs of the dark, however, should know Daphne du Maurier as a romantic, gothic novelist. Her works were moody and very often spooky. She is best known for her novel Rebecca which became a movie directed by Alfred Hitchcock- his first in the United States by the way. Her short story The Birds also became a Hitchcock movie. She wrote well over 30 books of fiction and non fiction.

Sometimes referred to as behind-the-times by critics, du Maurier specialized in the psychological thriller. Of course, what is old-fashioned becomes new again. There is never anything outright gory or terrifying in her novels and short stories. It's the slow and steady hum of danger and madness that sets us on edge.

One collection of short stories, Echoes from the Macabre has caught my attention. I think I'll start my du Maurier exploration there. Last summer Shirley Jackson was my focus. I think this might be the summer of Daphne du Maurier. She'll provide an English chill to my non air-conditioned house.

Spend some time reading about du Maurier today. Wikipedia is always a good place to start as long as you don't take it too seriously. The next time there is a thunderstorm plan to watch Rebecca.

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