Saturday, 27 July 2013

Book Review - The House On The Strand - Daphne du Maurier

My love of du Maurier's books started when I was about 10 or 11. My mother had borrowed a copy of 'Rebecca' from the local library. I have an irritating habit of picking up any book that's left lying around, and reading it. From the first few pages, I was hooked.
Argueably one of the finest novels of the modern era, Rebecca is full of intrigue, twists and turns. And when I saw a photograph of du Maurier's home, Menabilly, I knew instinctively that it was the house upon which she had based Mandalay, the book in the novel.
From there, I went on to read a book of short stories, which included 'The Birds'. Alfred Hitchcock's film of this tale is without doubt, the greatest tension-building film ever made.
Then it was onto 'Frenchman's Creek' and 'Jamaica Inn', both adventure tales of smugglers and high dering-do in the fashion of Robert Louis Stevenson.
Which brings me to this book. We've just come back from a trip on the bikes to Cornwall, and whilst down there, we called in at Jamaica Inn for a cold drink on a very hot day.
I was browsing in their little shop and came across this title, which I hadn't read. Naturally, I bought it, and it's every bit as good as her others.
Although her books seem a little dated nowadays, the stories are still good, and her sense of intrigue and tension still enthralls.
This one is a little different. Rebecca was written in 1938, and The House on the Strand came later in life, in 1967. It's a strange mixture of modern-day drug abuse and historical novel, and as complex as any of du Maurier's tales. As Dick takes more and more of the mind-altering drug, his confusion between the past and the present becomes more and more apparent, but then his attempts to change history bring terror to the present and throw his own life into the balance.
If you love fast-moving, quirky tales, you'll like this one.

For me, any du Maurier deserves a 5/5