I wasn’t overly impressed with this collection of stories. Don’t Look Now and The Birds were pretty good but having seen the films many times certainly took much away some of the suspense. No fault of the author. I thought that The Birds was better, more menacing, than the Hitchcock film of the same name. I liked the more ambiguous ending better. The Escort I thought was awful. The plot is so hackneyed I knew what the ending would be when the “mysterious” ship appeared. Split Second and Kiss Me Again, Stranger were both very good with the latter having a great twist at the end. Blue Lenses, one of Du Maurier’s more celebrated stories, I thought was pretty weak. Once you figured out the schtick (and you will, quickly) it was just boring and overlong. Monte Verita was really long and just average as a story goes. I hated the ending.
Du Maurier’s writing style and the stories’ vocabulary and metaphor seemed somewhat dumbed down to appeal to a larger audience than a more literary style would have appealed to. Certainly not very quotable prose. For some reason, I guess because none of the stories were really gripping, it took me a long time to finish the entire book. I was never hooked like I am with horror writers; waiting in expectation for the next story.
I’m not sure why Du Maurier is held in such high regard. Because of some of her novels she is considered one of the more literary horror writers that the non-horror readers (Who wants that stigma?) find acceptable to read. I guess it must be because of her other writing. She sure had a lot of her output adapted as movies.
There is certainly more interesting and exciting horror stories to read. Would I recommend this to someone? No.