The Doll by Daphne du Maurier (Review #18)

The Doll: Short Stories by Daphne du Maurier


In ‘The Doll’, a waterlogged notebook washes ashore, its pages telling a dark story of obsession and jealousy.

Many of the stories in this chilling collection were written early in Daphne du Maurier’s career, before she wrote the masterpieces that would cement her reputation as one of the twentieth century’s greatest writers: Rebecca, ‘The Birds’ and ‘Don’t Look Now’. These thirteen tales of human frailty and obsession demonstrate du Maurier’s extraordinary storytelling ability and her deep understanding of human nature.


Having never read a book by Maurier before I did not know what to expect when reading this book of short stories. I also knew that these short stories had been written early in Maurier’s career so I approached the book with an open mind and also with the decision that if I didn’t enjoy the short stories I would still read some of Maurier’s full length books to see whether I liked her work. 

Although these stories were written early in Maurier’s career you can see she has excellent skill in setting a dramatic scene. For me this is shown at its best in The Doll. The Doll is dark, vivid and mysterious and quite disturbing. Although the story I found the most disturbing was the last story in the book called The Limpet. I hated the main character of this story but it was clear that was what Maurier wanted. The character in my opinion was pure evil and a master manipulator. 

There are many themes within this set of short stories but the main theme was love and all the extras love brings. There was adultery, sexuality, crimes of passion, jealousy, sadism and obsession. Some of the stories also showed she had little faith in a man being faithful in marriage. 

I enjoyed this book and it is clear Maurier was ahead of her time especially with the story of The Doll but I found myself wanting more from the stories. I often struggle with short stories as I much prefer a full book. I give this book 3 out of 5 Dragons and hope to read a full length novel soon. 


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About the author

Daphne du Maurier (1907-1989) was an English novelist, biographer and playwright. Some of Maurier’s notable works are Rebecca, The Birds, Jamaica inn and The Scapegoat. 


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