Jamaica Inn

Jamaica Inn

by Daphne du Maurier


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The coachman tried to warn her away from the ruined, forbidding place on the rainswept Cornish coast. But young Mary Yellan chose instead to honor her mother's dying request that she join her frightened Aunt Patience and huge, hulking Uncle Joss Merlyn at Jamaica Inn. From her first glimpse on that raw November eve, she could sense the inn's dark power. But never did Mary dream that she would become hopelessly ensnared in the vile, villainous schemes being hatched within its crumbling walls — or that a handsome, mysterious stranger would so incite her passions ... tempting her to love a man whom she dares not trust.

Author Biography: Internationally acclaimed author Daphne du Maurier wrote 37 books before her death in 1989 at the age of 82.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780062404893
Publisher: HarperCollins Publishers
Publication date: 09/01/2015
Pages: 352
Sales rank: 165,944
Product dimensions: 5.30(w) x 7.90(h) x 1.00(d)

About the Author

Lisa Evans writes for theatre, radio and television. Her original stage plays include Stamping, Shouting and Singing Home, Under Exposure, Crime of the Century, The Shadow of Light and Christmas Without Herods. She has adapted The Tenant of Wildfell Hall and East Lynne for Birmingham Repertory Theatre's old Studio Theatre.

Read an Excerpt

Chapter One

It was a cold grey day in late November, The weather had changed overnight when a backing wind brought a granite sky and a mizzling rain with it,and although it was now only a little after two o'clock in the afternoon the pallour of a winter eveningseemed to have closed upon the hills, cloaking them in mist. It would be dark by four. The air was clammy cold, and for all the tightly closed windows It penetrated the interior of the coach. The leather seats damp to the hands, and there must have been a small crack in the roof, because now and again little drips of rain fell softly through, smudging the leather and leaving a dark blue stain like a splodge of ink. The Wind came in gusts, at times shaking the coach as it travelled round the bend of the road, and in the exposed places on the high ground it blew with such force that the whole body of the coach trembled and swayed, rocking between the high wheels like a drunken man.

The driver, muffled in a greatcoat to his ears, bent almost double in his seat; in a faint endeavour to gain shelter from his own shoulders, while the dis pirited horses plodded sullenly to his command, too broken by the wind and the rain to feel the whip that now and again cracked above their heads, while it: swung between the numb fingers of the driver.

The wheels of the coach creaked and groaned as they sank onto the rats on the road, and sometimes they flung up the soft spattered mud against the windows, where it mingled with the constant driving rain, and whatever view there might have been of the countryside was hopelessly obscured.

The few passengers huddled together for warmth, exclaiming in unison whenthe coach sank into a heavier rut than usual, and one old fellow, who had kept up a constant complaint ever since he had joined the coach at Truro, rose from his seat in a fury, and, fumbling with the window sash, let the window down with a crash, bringing a shower of rain in upon himself and his fellow passengers. He thrust his head out and shouted up to the driver, cursing him in a high petulant voice for a rogue and a murderer; that they would all be dead before they reached Bodmin if he persisted in driving at breakneck speed; they had no breath left in their bodies as it was, and he for one would never travel by coach again.

Whether the driver heard him or not was uncertain; it seemed more likely that the stream of reproaches was carried away in the wind, for the old fellow, after waiting a moment, put up the window again, having thoroughly chilled the interior of the coach, and, settling himself once more in his comer, wrapped his blanket about his knees and muttered in his heard.

His nearest neighbour, a jovial red-faced woman in blue cloak, sighed heavily in sympathy, and, witha wink to anyone who might be looking and a jerk of her head towards the old man, she remarked for at least the twentieth time that it was the dirtiest night she ever remembered, and she had known some; that it was proper old weather and no mistaking It for

Summer this time; and, burrowing into the depths of a large basket she brought out a greatand plunged into it with strong white teeth.

Mary YeIlan sat in the opposite comer, where the trickle of rain oozed through the crack in the roof. Sometimes a cold drip of moisture fell upon her shoulder, which she brushed away with impatient fingers.

She sat with her chin capped in her hands, her eyes fixed on the window splashed with mud and rain, hoping with a sort of desperate interest that some ray of light would break the heavy blanket of sky, and but a momentary trace of that lost blue heaven that had mantled Helford yesterday shine for an instant as a forerunner of fortune,

Already, though barely forty miles by road from what had been her home for three-and-twenty years, the hope within her heart had tired, and that rather gallant courage which was so large a part of her, and had stood her in such stead during the long agony of her mother's illness and death, was now shaken by this first fall of rain and the nagging wind.

The country was alien to her, which was a defeat in itself. As she peered through the misty window of the coach she looked out upon a different world from the one she had known only a day's journey back. How remote now and hidden perhaps for ever were the shining waters of Helford, the green hills and the sloping valleys, the white cluster of cottages at the water's edge. It was a gentle rain that fell at Helford, a rain that pattered in the many trees and lost itself in the lush grass, formed into brooks and rivulets that emptied into the broad river, sank into the grateful so which gave back flowers in payment.

This was a lashing, pitiless rain that string the windows of the coach and it soaked into a hard and barren soil. No trees here, save one or two that stretched bare branches to the four winds, bent and twisted from centuries of storm, and so blackened were they by time and tempest that even if spring did breathe on such a place, no buds would dare to come to leaf for fear that the late frost should kill them. It was a scrubby land, without hedgerow or Meadow; a country of stones, black heather, and stunted broom.

There would never be a gentle season here, thought Mary; either grim winter as it was today, or else the dry and parching heat of midsummer, with never

Jamaica Inn. Copyright © by Daphne Du Maurier. Reprinted by permission of HarperCollins Publishers, Inc. All rights reserved. Available now wherever books are sold.

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Jamaica Inn 4.2 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 51 reviews.
Guest More than 1 year ago
I read this book when I was in the 8th grade. I wasn't very big on reading, but I had to pick a book from a list of classics for a book report. I'm glad I picked Jamaica Inn. The story was mysterious and always kept you thinking. Filled with plot twists, the ending is a huge surprise. This was the first book that I actually liked reading, so it's one of my favorites.
Guest More than 1 year ago
I have the oportunity to read several books from her when i was a teenager, something that amaze me is the focus on details that this writer emphasized, even though that this is not a love story, one can say that is a strugle betwen the evil instincts of the human nature agains what is good and honorable.
Guest More than 1 year ago
I just got dome reading Jamaica Inn and it was outstandingly wonderful. It had a little bit of everything all thrown into one. Mystery, suspense, romacnce and reality. I would recommend this this book to anyone who likes reading anything at all!!!Just give it a try!!!
Guest More than 1 year ago
I read this book for the first time several years ago, and it stil continues to be my favorite book. It has everything you need- suspense, violence, mystery, and love.
Buttered-Toast More than 1 year ago
Jamaica Inn by the English writer Daphne du Maurier is a classic. The story begins with 20 year-old Mary Yellan making her way to Jamaica Inn in a horse drawn coach, the darkness of the moors and the beating rain making her very anxious. Mary lived on a farm in Helford but had to leave after her mother died. As she was dying she asked Mary to go live with her Aunt Patience at Jamaica Inn. The journey to her aunt is anything but comforting. Upon arrival Mary finds her aunt a different person fro the sparkling, witty laughing woman she remembered. Aunt Patience seems aged 50 years and mutters constantly. She is clearly frightened of something and Mary comes to realize very quickly what, or shall I say who, is the reason. Mary’s Uncle Joss is a wicked man and he has illegal business affairs right there at the inn. The plot follows a group of murderous wreckers, Joss seemingly one who is in charge. They run ships aground using lanterns on the shore and kill the sailors then steal the cargo. Jamaica Inn is never open to the public yet every few weeks men come in the dark of the night, silently unloading carts of merchandise they have stolen from the wrecked ships. Mary foolishly becomes attracted to Joss’s younger brother, Jem. She realizes Jem does not have anything to do with her uncle’s murderous business although he is a horse thief. One day Mary decides to track her uncle across the moors so she can report the lot of them to the law. But it gets dark earlier than she thought it would and Mary is stranded, cold and wet and alone in the dark. Miraculously a horse drawn buggy comes along and she is rescued. Francis Davey, an albino vicar who lives in the next village, picks Mary up and takes her to his home. She tells the vicar the improbable tale of her uncle’s business expecting him to help her. He instead points out some weak points in her story and suggests she is letting her imagination get away from her. There is much more but if you haven’t read Du Maurier’s classic, I don’t want to give away the rest of the story. Soon I would like to read her other popular book, Rebecca. What would you like to eat if you were arriving on a damp, cold wintery evening to a near deserted inn on the moors? I would want a hot brisket dinner and loads of tea!
Ausonius More than 1 year ago
Even in thrillers, the human race makes time to reproduce. And whatever else it is, Daphne du Maurier's 1936 novel JAMAICA INN is a thriller. Its heroine moves into serious dangers and adventures all alone, with no outside forces as reliable allies or protectors. So at some vague point in the early 19th Century newly orphaned 23-year old Mary Yellan moves to the moors of Cornwall to work in Jamaica Inn, owned by Joss Merlyn, ten years married to Mary's aunt Patience. Giant Joss is a mean drunk, wife abuser, and leader of a hundred strong gang of smugglers and killers. Mary lives only to remove her poor aunt from Jamaica Inn and bring her uncle and brigands to justice.  *** That is the plot of JAMAICA INN, thriller.  *** The novel is also a dark study in man-woman relations in general. Aunt Patience is not the only otherwise sensible woman in Cornwall who adores an unworthy male. Mary Yellan had seen the same thing happen among the young in her home village of Helford. Mary had concluded that romance or at least sheer rutting and mating is as animal among humans as among chickens and horses. There is no explaining why reasonable women pick the wrong mates. Mary reflects on this paradox over and over as she falls in love with Jem Merlyn, her Uncle Joss's horse stealing much younger brother.  *** JAMAICA INN is also justly famed for its gothic descriptions of the bleak moors, storms and rocky coasts of Cornwall. The reader feels in himself Mary's depression imprisoned at least for one winter in these treacherous uplands of Cornwall.  ***   One of the most mysterious of all Daphne du Maurier's many dark males is the Reverend Vicar Francis Davey. The Vicar is an albino, weird in appearance and behavior but kind to and empathetic with Mary Yellan. Mary has to unbosom herself to someone about the foul deeds of Uncle Joss and his cutthroats. And reluctantly she does so with two men that make her uncomfortable, Vicar Davey and horse thief Jem Merlyn. She also wonders at times if her alcoholic Uncle Joss is bright enough to mastermind his network of blackguards. Is there a mastermind behind Joss Meryn? Could he be the very bright horse thief Jem? Could he be the Vicar who has drawn a picture of himself in his pulpit as a wolf preaching to a congregation with sheeps' faces?  *** JAMAICA INN is not a book that you have to read more than once to make sense of.  It is clearly written and moves very fast. Not precisely a whodunnit, it is more a who is it: who is the hidden mastermind (if any) behind the smugglers of Jamaica Inn? A map of Cornwall would be a great help to non-British readers. And the standard English that the simple folk of Cornwall speak as well as the often elevated level of thought displayed by Mary Yellan, Aunt Priscilla and Joss Merlyn put a wee strain on realism.  -OOO- 
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Actually a 3.75 for me. I wasn’t completely enchanted with the goings on of Jamaica Inn. Although this was not Ms. Du Marnier’s most famous work it should not be over looked. It has held up surprisingly well for a story written in 1936. By today’s standards it is wordy and over-descriptive leaving the readers mind to wander. It was a also bit jarring to keep seeing the characters first and surnames being utilized. It was another minor note that became annoying as it went on. Again differences in acceptable writing styles have occurred since this book was written. Regarding the story itself, the synopsis is designed to not provide a lot of information about what the story holds and I actually liked that – it added to the mystery of the piece. The pacing of the plot was designed to increase the tension of the moment and it did – very well. The characters were drawn vividly enough so they had definable personalities and possibly my modern brain kept bumping into the stupidity of some character actions – they were quite visual. Some of these characters could actually serve as the prototype for famous clichés such as the drunken landlord, the albino priest, the drab & fearful wife, the boggy moor. This is a multi-layered story covering quite a few dark crimes people commit that fans of historical literature shouldn’t miss.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I loved it! So good!!!!!
Guest More than 1 year ago
The book ¿ The Jamaica Inn¿ written by Daphne Du Maurier is set in England during the mid-eighteen hundreds. The story is written about a young girl named Mary Yellen. Her mother dies, and she is sent to live with an aunt she barely knows. When she arrives she meets her tyrant of an uncle, Joss Merlyn. It is seen in the beginning he is a horribly shady man, and he is the owner of the very dismal Jamaica Inn. Mary finds early on that her uncle is involved in many evil deeds. He is a brute throughout the story and is very cruel and abusive to Mary. As she ages she falls in love with her uncle¿s brother, Jem. They go through many terrible situations throughout the story, and Mary¿s hope weakens. She protects her aunt until her and her husband¿s brutal deaths, after which she lives the life she chooses. Daphne Du Maurier did an incredible job of allowing the reader to share in Mary¿s pain throughout the story. The brutally cruel environment of the novel is placed right into the reader¿s reality. However, many of the brutalities that are portrayed were too intense. By the time they are over, the reader is too enthralled with the last situation to fully appreciate the next. Overall, the story is a triumph of love and war. It is an incredible portrayal of good fighting not to be consumed by evil. The theme is just that good versus evil, and good prevails. Her characters and her descriptive language give the overwhelming sense that courage and fortitude can overcome the hardships of life.
Guest More than 1 year ago
I'm a foreign reader and Daphne du Maurier was the first novelist I've ever read in English. In this story (as in most of her stories) I've enjoyed the beautiful descriptions of the landscape in which the story is occuring, the nightmarish loneliness of the heroine, and the ominous atmosphere that surronded the all scene.
Guest More than 1 year ago
This is very good book.
Bookworm1951 More than 1 year ago
A true Daphne du Maurier classic. I had read most of her books years ago but this is one I missed. As with all her writings, the story grabs you and doesn't let go. Her ability to weave a tale that contains all human emotions: love, hate, greed, violence, tenderness, good and evil makes her a true literary genius. A bit of a mystery with a twist at the end. A bit of a romance. A story of loss and one young woman's triumph over it all. The story has elements of another classed - Jane Eyre. If you enjoyed that book by Charlotte Bronte, you will like Jamaica Inn. The book was published in 1936 and the language is consistent with the time and place of the story which is in England and Scotland in the 1800's. Some readers may not like this style of language but bear in mind that it is appropriate to the story. Highly recommend this author.
PeaceG More than 1 year ago
I was anxious and curious to read this book. My all time favorite book has been Rebecca by Daphne du Maurier so I took a chance and added Jamaica Inn to my Nook. The book was a good mystery read with some surprises but more a work in progress when compared to Rebecca.
Imawiz More than 1 year ago
Daphne duMaurier is a great author. The story is suspenseful and intriguing. So well written. Interesting twist at the end. I recommend it
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
My father introduced me to her books many years ago when I was in high school. I hadn't read this one but enjoyed it. A dark novel tells the tale of the stuggle of a young woman with determination. I enjoyed it.
felinepub More than 1 year ago
This is one of my all time favorite authors and book. Exciting and a great read.
lynnia_diep More than 1 year ago
I got this book for my summer reading. Probably, Daphne Du Maurier is my favorite author for the school books. I've read "Rebecca" and have been in love with that book. And now, I have same feeling with this "Jamaica Inn". A little of scary, a little of romance, and the feeling of uncontrollable excited to get to the end of this book. Jamaica Inn really is a good book.
Guest More than 1 year ago
one of the BEST books i've ever read--the book has love, doubt, fear...suspence....everything you could possibly need to keep you turning the pages.
Anonymous 7 months ago
susiesharp on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
What a great gothic mystery! Daphne Du Maurier sure knows how to write these kinds of books.It¿s one of those books where you¿re yelling at the heroine because you think you¿ve figured out just who the real bad guy is and she hasn¿t. Mary is strong willed and is all alone there is no one to help her when she ends up at Jamaica Inn after her mother¿s death. Jamaica Inn is no place for a young lady ,carts and people come and go in the dead of the night and Mary¿s once beautiful and bubbly Aunt Patience is a shade of a woman now. She is timid, jittery and scared all the time. Her Uncle Joss, Patience¿s Husband, is a gruff ne¿er do well who is into all kinds of illegal activities. As Mary tries to find an ally to help her get her aunt out of this awful place and away from her husband, but is she trusting the wrong people? Will the right one save her in the end? Or will she save herself? I loved the atmosphere the moors the lonely roads the empty inn all just made for great gothic fiction!I love Daphne Du Maurier Rebecca is one of my all time favorites I liked this one much better than My Cousin Rachel. So far this is my second favorite Daphne Du Maurier book. 4 ½ Stars
kraaivrouw on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
I love Rebecca and was looking forward to Jamaica Inn, but once I got to it I was pretty disappointed. This book should be wonderful - the rundown inn isolated on the moors in Cornwall, smugglers, wreckers, murderers and thieves - what more could you ask for in a plot for a gothic thriller? Somehow, though, this just didn't work for me. I kept reading along, waiting to find someone to care about and for something interesting to happen and it just didn't happen. It all feels too careful and too formulaic - insert charming handsome horse thief into slot A, combine with plucky heroine in slot B, varnish with rumors of smuggling and murder and combine with mist to create your romantic thriller (allen wrench provided with kit).
Misfit on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
"Roads? Who spoke of roads? We go by the moor and the hills, and tread granite and heather as the Druids did before us." Why I have waited so many years to read more of Du Maurier's books I'll never know, but there are definitely more of hers in my immediate reading future! It's early 19C in Southern Cornwall and Mary Yellen's dying mother asks her to sell the family farm and join her Aunt Patience and her husband at Jamaica Inn in Northern Cornwall. Mary arrives and finds that no respectable person will venture near the inn, nor will the carriages stop there for respite. Her once lively and personable aunt is now a terrified shell of a woman married to drunkard inn owner Joss Merlyn. When Joss prepares to entertain "guests" Mary and her aunt are instructed to stay in their rooms and keep their eyes and ears covered -- although our spunky heroine does peek out the window and sees mysterious comings and goings and Mary suspects smuggling. Mary also becomes friends with her uncle's younger brother Jem, a ne'er do well horse thief (among other things) and the mysterious albino minister Francis Davey. A mischance on the road on the way home from the village on Christmas Eve puts Mary in the middle of her Uncle and his nefarious companions in the midst of a more gruesome crime than smuggling, thus setting in motion a terrifying set of circumstances building up to a nail biting finish on the Bodmin moors. While this one got off to a bit of a slow start for me, by the last 50 or so pages I was on the edge of my seat as Du Maurier gradually built up the tension and mystery for a rocking good finish, and a big surprise twist at the end. I really enjoyed the way the author used the spookiness of the moors and the surrounding terrain of Cornwall to set her scenes and it greatly enhanced the feel of the book in general. 4.5/5 stars I cannot get the damned 1/2 thingy to work here.
-Cee- on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Another awesome book by du Maurier! Stunning imagery of the moors in England, suspense, and dark moods fill this harrowing story of a young woman who finds herself alone in a dangerous world of crime and greed. Following her mother's deathbed wish, Mary goes to live with her aunt and uncle in the isolated, spooky and horrifying Jamaica Inn. She finds her aunt deranged and her uncle fearsome -obviously involved in something far more frightening than mere smuggling.DuMaurier's characters are bold. Her depiction of schemes, emotional turmoil, inner moral struggles, and alarming events are rich and plentiful. Recommended for exercising and toning, because you will be tensing and relaxing those muscles!
hellonicole on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Sometimes I find myself so deeply engrossed in a book, so deeply in love with it, yet I can't even begin to explain why to someone else. Jamaica Inn is one of those books. It combines mystery and romance with deep characters and interesting plot twists, but there's something else about it that just grabs me, time after time. A classic.
VicNoirReader on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Ignore the bad romance novel cover, and the romance novel-sounding pen name--Daphne du Maurier was her real name, and the cover most certainly does not fit the storyline. A young woman is sent to her aunt and uncle's inn, a dastardly place known throughout the neighboring townships to be a place where horrific, violent things happen. What she finds there is more horrific than she could have guessed... du Maurier is a master of suspense and horror. And finding that small amount of romance between two unlikely characters, but making it seem plausible and realistic. It's a beautifully twisted story, and the characters are angry and wicked, disillusioned with human beings, given up on the decency of mankind. I highly recommend this novel if you enjoyed du Maurier's masterpiece Rebecca.