REBECCA x 3
These three thrillers all have a place called Manderley in their past . . .
1. REBECCA by Daphne Du Maurier
Du Maurier published her tour de force novel REBECCA in 1938. The book was one of the first to give us the unreliable narrator and has been the basis for a host of radio, television, and movie adaptations.
The narrator, an orphaned young woman working as a lady’s companion, meets a handsome and wealthy widower in Monaco. Despite their disparity in social class, he sweeps her off her feet and they marry.
He brings her home to Manderley, his baronial family estate. There she pales in comparison with his seemingly perfect late wife Rebecca, a point the sinister housekeeper Mrs. Danvers is at pains to make. When Rebecca’s body is found on her shipwrecked boat, now months after her death, dark deeds could destroy them all.
REBECCA has serious staying power. It’s edgy, gripping, visual, and a Gothic thriller classic. The setting is England in the 1930’s, but the creepy relationships and murderous secrets are timeless.
Get it on Amazon >>> https://geni.us/Rebecca
THE KEY TO REBECCA by Ken Follett
When I first read this World War II classic, I believed it was the best thriller ever written. The page-turning format inspired the pace of THE HIDDEN LIGHT OF MEXICO CITY.
The novel REBECCA is used as a code book by a German spy who infiltrates British-held Cairo during the war, in an effort to aid General Rommel’s army in north Africa. When the spy kills a soldier, the murder comes to the attention of a British intelligence officer.
A cat and mouse game ensues between spy and intel officer through the streets and souks of the war-weary city. Women, thieves, and the Egyptian independence movement complicate the hunt. The characters are riveting, complete, and their vulnerabilities are twisted by the enemy. The way Follett builds to a climax is a
masterclass in thriller writing.
No spoilers, but REBECCA gets the last word . . .
Get it on Amazon >>> https://geni.us/FolRe
Rebecca, the new Netflix movie
Lily James stars as the unnamed narrator who falls in love with the wealthy and handsome owner of Manderley, played by Armie Hammer. She does a remarkable job of being the waif working as a lady’s companion to a cranky, demanding woman, but an even better job of being the new wife completely out of her depth trying to run
a huge Downton Abbey-esque country house already ruled with an iron fist by Mrs. Danvers (Kristin Scott-Thomas).
It’s a loooong movie, but a faithful adaptation, although the ending is less edgy than in the book. Manderley and the surrounding coastline are gorgeous, with many a panoramic sea shot to underscore the isolation the new wife feels.
Lily James is superb, as is the conniving Scott-Thomas. Armie Hammer is a hunky lunk but cuts a dashing figure in a mustard colored linen suit in his first scene.
Highly recommended for a cold, rainy evening.