Saturday, 16 July 2011

Rebekah by Daphne du Maurier

There is so much revelation in the newspapers today -- evidence, amongst other things, that journalism isn't dead, whatever its sins -- but I'd also very much like to read Daphne du Maurier on Rebecca Brooks. I know I've already cited Evelyn Waugh as the ideal correspondent on the phone-hacking scandal, but Du Maurier would be brilliant on Rebekah. As with the eponymous (albeit dead and elusive) heroine of 'Rebecca', and the compellingly unknowable woman at the heart of 'My Cousin Rachel', the modern Rebekah is morally ambiguous, yet far more intriguing than the shadowy men around her. Transgressive, powerful, beautiful, clever, yet ultimately felled in the narrative, Rebekah/Rachel/Rebecca remains the character that the reader (well, me, at least) can't help but want to escape from the claws of conventional retribution and punishment.
As for the plot of the real-life Rebekah: well, it's as taut as any by Du Maurier (or indeed her forebears, the Brontes). The girl who rose from an apparently ordinary upbringing, outshining her male colleagues, winning favour from a patriarch who grew to love her as dearly as his own children, thereby drawing jealousy upon her, as well as patronage. If Elisabeth Murdoch is to replace Rebekah as favoured daughter (however close the ties of friendship and insider knowledge that once bound them together), then the plot will only thicken; almost certainly with as many twists as the best of Du Maurier's stories (Jamaica Inn, Rebecca, The Birds) when they were translated onto the screen by Alfred Hitchcock. All we need now is a Mrs Danvers figure to emerge out of the shadows... Suggestions, anyone, please?


Lazywell said...

Mrs Danvers: Gordon Brown?

Matthew Steeples said...

Mrs Danvers: Tessa Jowell?

The plot really thickens. It has now been revealed that Elisabeth Murdoch and her husband Matthew Freud held a party the day before the Dowler revelations at their home, Burford Priory. Amongst the guests was one Andrew Davis, whose Von Essen hotel empire recently collapsed with debts of hundreds of millions. Read more about him at

Justine Picardie said...

The plot has so many tentacles... Perhaps it's Dickens we now need to take on the many-fingered narrative.

rohit said...

Must be an enjoyable read Rebecca by Daphne Du Maurier. loved the way you wrote it. I find your review very genuine and orignal, this book is going in by "to read" list.