Tag Archives: gothic mystery

5 Favorite Gothic Authors

RebeccaBook

glass of time

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

1. Daphne du Maurier. Of course I must start off with the queen herself, the original. Daphne du Maurier is the author of Rebecca, a 20th-century classic and the possessor of one of the more famous opening lines in literary history. Rebecca is a spooky, gothic romance, but mostly it’s just darn addicting – the story will grab you as if you’re a 10-year-old reading Redwall or an Alistair MacLean novel for the first time, and rush you along its irresistible current. If you like Jane Eyre or its lesser-known cousin, Villette, this will be exactly up your alley.

The narrator is never given a name, but she’s a young bride to Maxim de Winter, the charismatic but slightly mysterious owner of a Cornish estate. He’s a forceful personality ala Rochester, proposing by saying ā€œIā€™m asking you to marry me, you little fool.ā€ When the narrator moves in, however, she finds a home haunted by the memory of his first wife, Rebecca, who was killed in a sailing accident. Du Maurier herself always said she didn’t mean this book to be a romance, but I’ve always read and loved it as such: it’s about two people who overcome darkness to stay together. It’s heady and giddy and gripping and rather lovely. It’s never been out of print and is the standard-bearer for Gothic romance.

The opening lines resonate. “Last night I dreamt I went to at Manderley again…”

2. Mary Stewart. I went through a period in high school where I was obsessed with Stewart books – they’re such a deft, gripping blend of complex characters, suspense, and romance. She was one of the most widely read fiction writers of the 20th century, and passed away recently in May of 2014. A British novelist, she wrote both romantic suspense and historical novels and was respected for both. By far and away my favorite of her books, and a good introduction, is Nine Coaches Waiting, which yes, I admit, bears some resemblance to Jane Eyre as well (can I help it that all these Gothic romance writers are tripping on the same thing?).

Continue reading

Book Review: Hush Now, Don’t You Cry

hushnowdon'tyoucryFull disclosure: I only read about a third of this so this is really more my impressions than any full, impressive book review. Rhys Bowen is an award-winning mystery writer with dozens of books, and this is the 11th in her Molly Murphy series – and also my introduction to her writing.

But look – this just wasn’t very good. Molly, an Irish private detective in a world in which lady detectives are an anomaly, has just married a New York City senior detective and the two are off on their honeymoon to an acquaintance’s estate on Rhode Island. Shortly after arriving, their host turns up dead, and the two are naturally pulled into the mystery of solving his murder.

Molly (just so you know, the book is written in the first-person) is an endearing protagonist, as is her husband Daniel – both brave, fairly clever, possessed of senses of humor. But the good characterization is buried in overly long prose and a trite mystery setup. If you’re read even one or two gothic novels, much less a great many murder mysteries, you will start to check out the moment Molly arrives at an old mansion and sees the ghostly head of a mysterious child in a window – a child who was killed years before. From there, it only gets worse – a houseful of wealthy relatives any one of whom could have wanted the victim dead and who are sketched with the barest of details and personality, a suspicious housekeeper who pops out of mysterious corridors, a decanter of whisky conveniently left in a secluded spot…

Continue reading

%d bloggers like this: