Sep 12, 2015

Don't Look Now and Other Stories - Daphne Du Maurier

1971, this compilation of horror stories promises to keep you awake all night. In this book the author takes us to a tour of thrilling paths by the hand of her desperate characters; poor souls who would strive to find the way out.

Don’t Look Now

Ever since their daughter’s passing, John and his wife Laura wanted to visit Venice for a holiday and spend a pleasant week by being the guests at some local museums and restaurants.  Everything goes well till they get to meet by chance the twin sisters, visitors as well, and one of which claims to be a psychic and assures the couple that she actually can feel the presence of their daughter sitting right next to them.
My score:

This revelation makes Laura hope for the chance to communicate with Christine (her little girl) one last time, since it’s been the saddest experience she’d ever had to endure. Losing her child became the one thing Laura hasn’t been able to get over. On the other side though, John is not quite convinced of the twin’s ability to get in contact with his dead daughter, it could perfectly be an attempt of deceit and take advantage of his unstable wife.

This is the opening story of this work and one I enjoyed the most; great suspense, smart plot and an unpredictable ending. Nonetheless, in the end I was kind of disappointed, I actually expected to get to know Christine a bit more, wanted to see her having real contact with her parents and find out how the story develops from there. But nothing nearly related happened, the story simply took a different turn and moved away from what at first seemed to aim at.

I loved the story of Not After Midnight, in which a teacher travels to Crete to spend a few days painting pictures of his own. He rents a cottage and starts doing his job until his next door neighbor invites him over for a nice chat and a couple of beers, just to discover that the former resident of his very own lodge, a guy that resembles a lot to himself, got killed under unclear circumstances.

Once again, the setting was catching and promising; you really get to feel the anxiety the main character undergoes during his trying to escape the nightmare he unintentionally put himself into. To my view though, the persecution takes rather a long time to reach the denouement. In consequence the narrative loses its rythm and becomes blunt.

A Border-line Case, had a splendid beginning of a young lady, whose father had passed away recently, wanting to find his father’s ex-partner at the military forces (or rather the Navy) and would try to make amends for his father refusing to promote him at a job back then, when they were younger.

In spite of the wonderful beginning of this tale, the story slows down to the point of boredom. A lot of stuff goes round in circles and I actually left the reading unfinished for a while; later on, I virtually had to drag myself back on track and resume the reading. 

Pretty much the same pattern is reflected in The Way of the Cross and The Breakthrough, wonderful settings and plots, but once the introduction is over it is followed by a considerable waiting for the main event to come to pass, and they frequently come to a weak end.  

I found the first tales more catching than the last ones, so I went through the first part of the book in a couple of days, but it took me months to finish up the whole book, and this is, in fact, rather a short text. In general, the stories keep the reader on pins and needles for a while, though suspense is prolonged too much for my taste, especially toward the end of every tale when a wordy speech usually takes place, to suddenly lead the story to a sharp abrupt end. 


  1. Thanks for sharing your journey to becoming a reader. You might like du Maurier's Rebecca.

    1. I will surely look for it!
      Thanks for reading me Valerie ;)