The June 4th selection for the Mystery Book Club is the masterfully plotted classic gothic novel Rebecca by Daphne Du Maurier. Published in 1938, it became an instant success and was the winner of the Anthony Award for the best novel of the century.
“Last night I dreamt I went to Manderley again.” With these words, the reader is drawn into the past by the narrator whose full name is never revealed. After a brief courtship, this young woman becomes the bride of an older, somewhat haunted, older man and returns with him to his family home. Innocent and inexperienced, she enters a new and unknown world where the presence of the former Mrs. de Winter pervades every room and whose memory is guardedly preserved by the sinister housekeeper, Mrs. Danvers. “With an eerie presentiment of evil tightening her heart, the second Mrs. de Winter walked in the shadow of her mysterious predecessor-the late and hauntingly beautiful Rebecca.” Harper Collins
Seemingly influenced by Bronte’s Jane Eyre, Du Maurier's Rebecca itself continues to inspire authors and filmmakers. Alfred Hitchcock directed the film version which won the Academy Award for best picture in 1940. In 2003, Masterpiece Theater released its version described by the LA Times as “A near masterpiece of escapism..”
After joining the Mystery Book Club for its discussion, please check out both film versions at HMMPL.