Bone China by Laura Purcell review – a homage to Du Maurier

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A Cornish family’s history is shrouded in dark intrigue in a novel packed with melodramatic flourishes

Laura Purcell’s new novel is billed as a “Du Maurier-esque chiller”, which may be putting it mildly. We meet Hester Why aboard a mail coach as it lurches through the Cornish night. From Falmouth, she proceeds by pony and trap to her destination, announced in the time-honoured manner by a grizzled driver. “We be on Morvoren land now,” he croaks.

We be veering towards outright staginess, too, it must be said. The effect isn’t just Du Maurier-esque; it’s Du Maurier-tastic. Which isn’t a bad thing, necessarily. She could ham it up with the best of them – indeed, she was the best of them – and sometimes readers like to know exactly what they are getting. It’s an approach that has certainly worked for Purcell so far: she won the WHSmith Thumping Good Read ...