MY COUSIN RACHEL
Daphne Du Maurier
Dell Publishing 1985
DID SHE OR DIDN'T SHE: THE AMBIGUOUS ASHLEYS
Ambiguous being the operative word here...this odd love story never ceases to amaze me. Du Maurier builds the tale slowly, sometimes too much so...Young Philip Ashley was raised by his bachelor Uncle Ambrose who, in his later years was bidden to Winter in the Southern Climes for his health..On one jaunt to Italy Ambrose met a Cousin...Rachel...then came marriage...then came Death for Ambrose..then came a maelstrom of emotions for young Philip. Rage, Jealousy, Curiosity.....Rachel appears in England, all demure with cast down eyes and folded hands...Phliip is soon smitten as only a young man, unused to the company of women, can be....Tension mounts from here on...Ambrose left Rachel penniless on his death..Philip sets out to Make Things Right...suffering a Brain Fever in the process...much loving care and copious amounts of the herbal Tisane ensue...Laburnum seeds (highly toxic to men and horses) appear...Philip resolves to have done with the hussy and her spendthrift ways, if he can only prove her guilty of Ambrose's ....MURDER.....A hush falls over the crowd...No proof is found...rather Rachel has vowed to return her ill-gotten inheritance and hie back to italy...too late, she wandered down the wrong garden path...fell to her death...Phlip is awash in guilt......the curtain falls....ah, Drama.
Did she, or didn't she???