Daphne du Maurier had a fascinating career that spanned various genres and defies easy categorization. Associated most strongly with thrillers and often classed as a “romantic novelist,” there is also an argument to be made for her as one of the 20th century’s key authors of gothic horror and the uncanny.
Over the course of 17 novels and many short stories, du Maurier produced a body of work rich with the strange, the atmospheric, and the dark. Because she was both a woman and a writer of popular fiction, she was (and still is) frequently overlooked in spite of her literary brilliance. Du Maurier wrote tightly plotted romance novels that were bestsellers, none of which should preclude them from being appreciated as works of depth with a keen interest in exploring humanity’s darker aspects, particularly with respect to gender and sexuality. It’s no wonder her work wound up being adapted by filmmakers like Alfred Hitchcock and Nicolas Roeg.