Review of ‘The Doll: Short Stories’ by Daphne du Maurier

This slim collection of short stories has the hallmarks of classic du Maurier – jealousy, sinister atmospheres, men who are not what they appear to be, relationships in decline. However, they were mostly underwhelming for me and not of the standard of her other published short stories. In her defence, these stories are mainly from her very early career (one of them was written when she was 19) and have only recently been tracked down and published in this collection.

I thought the best in the collection was ‘The Doll’. It stands out as being the most mysterious and painful. Coincidentally (or not?) the desirable yet cruel woman in the story is named Rebecca. Questions are left unanswered and it’s probably the only story in the book I’d re-read. I liked the other stories well enough but they aren’t as good as the other du Mauriers I’ve read. I was quite surprised to read stories where prostitutes (not named as such – or sex workers as they are usually called today) were the main characters, as I don’t think I’ve seen them in her work before. The author is known for writing many of her works from a male character’s perspective but in this collection there are a variety of perspectives and narrative angles, including a series of one-sided letters detailing a romance between a man (the letter writer) and a married woman.

I would recommend this book if you’ve read du Maurier’s other short story collections and are looking for more. I wouldn’t suggest it as a starting point to get into her work.

12 thoughts on “Review of ‘The Doll: Short Stories’ by Daphne du Maurier”

  1. Oh that’s a shame. I usually love Daphne DuMaurier’s work. I’ve still got Don’t Look Now and other stories to read from last Christmas – I’ve been saving it!

    1. Don’t Look Now is one of her best short stories! I think I have read pretty much all of her short stories now, I would put The Doll at the bottom of your du Maurier TBR πŸ™‚

    1. I think we’ve been ‘spoilt’ with her other works, so these stories don’t seem as good by comparison πŸ˜‰

  2. I’ve been meaning to read her books for a long time! I’m thinking of starting with Rebecca. Gahh….We’ll see! Looks like she ventured out into something different in this collection of stories!

    1. Rebecca is definitely the starting point for getting into this author πŸ™‚
      She is good at short stories (collections such as Don’t Look Now or The Birds) but this particular collection is previously unknown so there’s a reason why the standard is not as good.

  3. Great review! I have a copy of Daphne Du Maurier’s Classics of the Macabre (1987) that I am dying to read, but never seem to get around to. I also have a copy of The Doll : The Lost Short Stories and I haven’t read it yet either! I really like Du Maurier in general, and I love reading short stories…. so I need to get busy! πŸ™‚

  4. Ah! Since I haven’t yet read anything ny Maurier I think I am going to steer clear of this one for a while, at least until I read Rebecca! 😍❀️ I saw its cover and it is soo fucking gorgeous!! I CANNOT WAIT TO READ IT!

    Still, a very concise and to-the-point review, as always, Ford! Thats what I like about you r reviews, you know! πŸ˜πŸ˜˜β€οΈπŸ’•πŸŒŸ

    1. Aw thank you, I’m glad you like my reviews! Yes I’ve been told I’m concise… I couldn’t even write a long and detailed review, whereas some people are great at that.
      Rebecca seems to be the first book that du Maurier newbies try. It’s not actually my favourite of hers but it’s really worth a read!

      1. OH COURSE I DOO!! And I enjoy them even more because they are to the point, while I more round and round in circles and sometimes I get annoyed at my inability to be more precise, you know! 🀣🀣🀣😭😭 SO YEAHH! YOU ARE DOING GREATT Ford! Keep it up, hon!

        And I am soo sorry for such a late reply! πŸ˜”πŸ˜” Life got in the way! 🀣

        1. Thank you so much! β™₯
          And please don’t apologise, I don’t mind however long it takes πŸ™‚

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