It's the birthday of Daphne duMaurier, author of gothic suspense novels and tales of terror, several of which were made into highly successful films. She was born May 13, 1907 in London and published her first novel at the age of 24, TheLoving Spirit.
More novels followed, and in 1937 she signed a three book deal. She had a title for her next novel, and not much else. It was to be called Rebecca, and it would become her masterpiece. The theme of the story was jealousy.
When Rebecca was published in 1938, a review in the Christian Science Monitor predicted it would quickly fade into obscurity, but it became a best seller, and has been in print ever since. It's opening sentence, Last night I dreamt I went to Manderley again, is one of the most recognized in all of modern fiction. It earned her the National Book Award. The author credited Jane Eyre as her inspiration. Rebecca is a gothic story, a romance, and a novel of suspense wrapped into one.
Rebecca was made into an Oscar winning film by Alfred Hitchcock. He also filmed Jamaica Inn, and his most famous film based on her short story, The Birds. The story upon which the film is based can be read here.
Here's a rare film clip of the author talking with Cliff Michelmore.