Friday, April 24, 2009

Daphne du Maurier as sleuth

October sees the publication of Joanna Challis's Murder on the Cliffs (US edition) the first in a projected series with Daphne du Maurier as the detective. From Joanna Challis's website:

St Martins Press

A new mystery series set in Cornwall, starring Daphne Du Maurier - THE MANORHOUSE MURDERS…

Each mystery will feature Daphne embroiling herself in a world of intrigue post WW1. She is writing, she loves Cornwall, travel, old houses, historic themes. She’s interested in people, what motivates them as character studies, particularly when there is murder, mystery and mayhem.

All of these “fictional” stories provides inspiration for Daphne’s future works. During Daphne’s journey, she encounters her future husband (whom, for the purpose this series, I have her meet earlier) and the dashing and yes, cynically cheeky Major Browning will show up in each book.
From, the synopsis for Murder on the Cliffs:
The storm led me to Padthaway.

I could never resist the allure of dark swirling clouds, windswept leaves sweeping down cobbled lanes or a view of the sea stirring up its defiant nature. The sea possessed a power all of its own and this part of Cornwall, an isolated stretch of rocky cliff tops and unexplored beaches both enchanted and terrified me.

It is not a lie to say I felt drawn out that day, led to a certain destiny...

So begins this new mystery series featuring young Daphne du Maurier, headstrong, adventurous, and standing at the cusp of greatness.

Walking on the cliffs in Cornwall, she stumbles upon the drowned body of a beautiful woman, dressed only in a nightgown, her hair strewn along the rocks, her eyes gazing up to the heavens. Daphne soon learns that the mysterious woman was engaged to marry Lord Hartley of Padthaway, an Elizabethan mansion full of intriguing secrets.

As the daughter of the famous Sir Gerald du Maurier, Daphne is welcomed into the Hartley home, but when the drowning turns out to be murder, Daphne determines to get to the bottom of the mysteries of Padthaway—in part to find fresh inspiration for her writing, and in part because she cannot resist the allure of grand houses and long buried secrets.

Daphne du Maurier has of course already dabbled in detection in 2008's Daphne by Justine Picardie which is now available in paperback.

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