Lost Stories of Daphne du Maurier Found

The Doll

A bookseller in Cornwall, England has found five lost tales from gothic suspense author Daphne du Maurier, who is most famous for writing the novels Rebecca and Jamaica Inn. The Guardian reports that Ann Willmore, a Du Maurier fan and collector has been searching other booksellers’ collections for years in hopes of coming across Du Maurier stories.

Willmore had been specifically looking for a short story named ‘The Doll,’ which Du Maurier mentioned in her autobiography and which was probably written around 1928. She finally found it in The Editor Regrets, a 1937 compilation of rejected short stories. ‘The Doll’ focuses on a man who becomes infatuated with a woman, Rebecca, whom he meets at a party. Unfortunately for him, the woman has a romantic obsession of her own–with a mechanical sex doll.

The other four stories found may not have quite the same titillation factor as ‘The Doll,’ but they’re interesting nonetheless. ‘The Happy Valley’ is a ghost story set in Cornwall and seems to be a precursor to Rebecca. The other three stories are ‘The East Wind,’ ‘The Limpet,’ and ‘And His Letters Grew Colder.’

Du Maurier was known for her suspense, macabre plots, and often dim view of humanity, and her short stories were generally darker than her novels. Alfred Hitchcock made her novels Rebecca and Jamaica Inn, as well as her short story ‘The Birds’ into films.

Willmore gave the stories to Du Maurier’s son, Kits Browning, who had never read them before. They will all be published, along with another eight pieces of Du Maurier’s early work, in a collection called The Doll, which is set to be released by Virago on May 5.

It’s always interesting to read an author’s early work to see how her writing style developed, and I’m a huge Du Maurier fan. Plus, the fact that she wrote about a male sex doll in 1928 fascinates me. I can’t wait to get my hands on this collection.

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