Vanishing Cornwall, By Daphne du Maurier


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The Independent Culture

From its sinister opening scene of an adder ritually slain, this classic evocation of Du Maurier's beloved home ranks as a work of art as much as a visitors' handbook. Even the title hides a surprise.

Writing in 1966, the author of Rebecca and Jamaica Inn does lament the mass tourist tide that threatens quiet cove and lonely moor. But her delight in legend and lore means that many of the finest passages – on Tristan and Isolde, or pre-Christian rites – deal with stories that never do vanish.

Reissued with handsome photos by Daphne's son, Christian Browning, these glorious accounts of knights and sprites, miners and smugglers, turbulent gentry and eccentric vicars, all set against superbly sketched landscapes, still cast their eerie spell.