Did I go on holiday last week? Yes. Did it inspire this post? Absolutely yes. You are very welcome.
Let’s start with the obvious: Daphne du Maurier. There are a whole host to pick from – but I’m going to go for Jamaica Inn because we drove past the turn for it and gosh blimey is the moorland there desolate and creepy – I don’t think I would be brave enough to read the book while staying anywhere near there!
Next up, previous BotW pick 1949’s The Feast – which I think is due for a rementiok because it’s so good. This isn’t creepy like the Du Maurier, but it is thrilling in a different way. Ignore any introduction your edition might have until after you have read it and meet the guests at the Pendizack Hotel in the run up to a fatal cliff collapse (and that’s not a spoiler because it opens after the collapse and then jumps back in time.
Still in Cornwall but written more recently we have Carola Dunn’s Cornish mysteries. As well as writing the Daisy Dalrymple series, Dunn also wrote four books featuring Eleanor Trewynn, a widow running a charity shop in a fictional coastal village in the 1960s. I’ve read three of the four and really enjoyed them. And this has reminded me to try and get hold of the final one!
Crossing the border into Devon, yesterday I wrote about a murder mystery tied to a fictional Golden Age crime series so I would be remiss not to include an actual Golden Age Crime novel as Agatha Christie set a lot of her novels in the county – as she lived there for many years (and her house is on my list of places to visit at some point). I’ve picked Sleeping Murder, because the theme of today is creepy and I’m still traumatised by the cover of the edition of Sleeping Murder my mum had when I was little which features a woman with a knitting needles stuck in her eye. You’re welcome.
I’ve only read a three of Ian Sansom’s County Guides novels but one of them is Death in Devon (book 2 of five) which sees the prolific author and professional know it all Stanton Morley and his assistant on a trip to the county where they end up solving a murder at a boys school. And finally I started with a creepy atmospheric book with moors and I’m going to finish with a book set on a different moor – Lorna Doone. Full disclosure: I’ve only ever read abridged children’s versions of this – and as it’s 800 pages long I’m not planning on changing that, but if you want a classic may be think about trying this story of star crossed lovers on as moor in the late 19th century.
Happy Wednesday everyone!
2 thoughts on “Recommendsday: Books set in Devon and Cornwall”
I strongly recommend, Verity, that you read “Lorna Doone”, unabridged. Like you, I had only known the children’s versions, and even a “Classics Illustrated” comic book version, until I was in my late sixties. Then I finally read the full story. It was not a best-seller for nothing, and it is not still in print, in full, in several editions, nowadays with helpful notes, because it is too long. Like other GREAT books that are long (“War and Peace”, “Les Miserables”, “Bleak House”, “Brothers Karamazov”), it is as long as it needs to be.
Let me also mention Elizabeth Goudge, who lived for a while in Devon, and wrote several books set in Devon, including “Gentian Hill”, and “Linnets and Valerians”, “Smoky House” “The Castle on the Hill”, “The Little White Horse” and “Gentian Hill”, and “The Rosemary Tree”.
I love this post, so many that I want to read here. I have had a drink in the original Jamaica Inn, more years ago than I care to remember.