I heard Daphne Du Maurier equated with gothic mystery. "My Cousin Rachel" is my introduction. It comes across as general fiction, a slow pace. A simmering plot is a sound technique but it wasn't offset by a burst of events, except too late to propel the novel as a thriller. There was no reward of full disclosure, which is called for in a story that doesn't abound with action. The introduction sets up something more macabre than most of the story contains.
An Englishman is groomed to take over his Great-Uncle's estate, after whom he was named. Philip loves Truro, Cornwall and is content overseeing Ashley caretaking and crops. His Great-Uncle's son, Ambrose, raised him since his parents' early passing. Daphne instils us with this relationship exceedingly well. We feel how dearly they are son and Dad. With Ambrose's doctor advising dry weather abroad, Philip is already managing their enterprises. Readers understand this is home and Philip's rightful place, well before Ambrose writes about illness and concern over a new marriage. The author shows psychology so well, we don't consider Philip's and his friend Louise's suspicions farfetched. We are on board their questions about Rachel Ashley.
A tone of intrigue enters when Philip takes Ambrose seriously and sails to Florence, as fast as mid-1800s transportation can convey him. We embark on a proper mystery investigation and are excited to know what Philip will discover, whom he will see. Other than the anticipation of acquainting Rachel at his home shortly after, I hoped for a great deal more suspense. The novel becomes a portrait of obsessive anxiety, amidst months of pleasant discourse. There was no fear or hurry, until the final few chapters. Had this title not been wound up as a hair-raising mystery, I would rate its literary prowess highly.