Cornerofmadness's Reviews > Murder on the Cliffs: A Daphne du Maurier Mystery

Murder on the Cliffs by Joanna Challis
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's review
Jan 02, 2012

really liked it
bookshelves: mystery
Read from January 01 to 02, 2012

Mom wanted this one so I got it for her for the holidays. I’m not overly fond of mystery series that use authors as the protagonist. I’ve seen Edgar Allen Poe, Oscar Wilde, the Alquonquin Club, Sir Arthur Conan Doyle and now this one brings us Daphne du Maurier. It was probably the best of the aforementioned bunch.

Young Daphne has gone to Cornwall to research an old abbey’s scrolls, staying with Ewe Sinclair, her mother’s old nurse. She has a love of Gothic architecture and wants to use it to write to. When she goes up to the cliffs to drink in the ambience, Daphne hears screaming. She runs to the aid of Lianne Hartley who has found her soon-to-be sister-in-law Victoria dead on the beach. Daphne helps to pull the dead girl away from the tide and ends up swept up in the mystery of Victoria’s death.

Much to Ewe’s chagrin, Daphne seems not only determined to solve the mystery but she seems unable to break away from the Hartleys. She is friend to Lianne and to David, Victoria’s fiancée. She doesn’t like Lady Hartley, the cold head of the family. Victoria seemed to be a poor choice for David, an aristocrat while Victoria was part of the help. It’s quickly obvious that Lady Hartley hated her future daughter in law. Unfortunately Sir Edward, the detective is one of Hartley’s tenants and Victoria’s brother, Connan works for them. Everyone is quite sure a Hartley is the killer and just as sure they’ll get away with it.

That in mind Daphne is determined to play sleuth. And for someone who is so determined she rather be her own woman and have nothing to do with marriage, she seems to vacillate between David and Connan a little too much. Then Ewe adds in a third man, Mr. Brown, who irritates the living hell out of Daphne (and I assumed immediately he wasn’t what he appeared to be).

I enjoyed the book. I was a little disappointed in who the killer was since it didn’t seem to match the method of murder. Daphne mentions a few too many times how much she loves big old houses and seems to be a little too susceptible to the charms of the men (then again I know nothing about the real Miss du Maurier other than her work. I don’t know a thing about her personal life though from this it seems she’s from a famous family). I did like how the author intercut the narrative with the formation of Rebecca in Daphne’s head. The book’s exposition seems gothic in nature and fitting for Miss du Maurier. I’d look up more in the series.

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