The Ten Best Beach reads

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The Independent Culture

1 Rebecca

Daphne du Maurier

Thisis addictive and breathtaking. Its blending of melodrama and subtlety is ingenious. The Cornish setting never quite leaves the imagination.

Virago Press, £7.99

2 The Talented Mr Ripley Patricia Highsmith

The Italian coastal scenes, beautiful cast and sense of summer languor that disguises evil impulses make this a disturbing but gorgeous read.

Vintage, £7.50

3 The House of Sleep

Jonathan Coe

In an old house, now a sleep clinic, characters reunite. The novel's gothic trappings and romantic longings suit its frenetic plot. Funny and beautiful.

Penguin, £7.99

4 Northanger Abbey

Jane Austen

This is by far the silliest of Austen's novels - a hilarious gothic spoof. It's so mocking, yet forgiving, of the foolish excesses of youth.

Headline Review, £4.99

5 The Story of You

Julie Myerson

A story of bereavement and love for a man who may or may not be real. The weaving of the mundane and the possibly supernatural is superb.

Jonathan Cape, £14.99

6 The Vanishing Act of Esme Lennox

Maggie O'Farrell

A dark 1930s story of a wasted life and family secret. The handling of different time periods is amazing.Published next month by Review, £14.99

7 The Moonstone

Wilkie Collins

No wonder 21st-century novelists are influenced by the great Victorian serial writers with their rip-roaring plots. A twisting detective thriller.

Penguin, £5.99

8 The Light Years

Elizabeth Jane Howard

The first part of the Cazalet Chronicles is a thoroughly juicy read in its own right. Light but well observed, you can't put it down.

Pan, £6.99

9 What I Loved

Siri Hustvedt

This novel about love and loss is dark, tragic, - andunputdownable. It's also amazingly good on the intricacies of relationships.

New English Library, £6.99

10 The Secret History

Donna Tartt

An old favourite but a great one. This story of aspiration, murder and guilt among Classics students pays re-reading for its sublime prose.

Penguin, £7.99

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