A stew of intrigue
Hilary Ford, reflecting on the Gothic:
“Have you ever thought of that – having a go at the Gothic?”
I had read, enjoyed and admired Rebecca, but the image that immediately sprang to mind was Northanger Abbey, and I was flummoxed. What, I asked exactly, or even roughly, was the Gothic, in the Nineteen Seventies? He [Ford’s Agent] cast around for a moment before coming up with an answer.
“Well, I suppose when you get down to it, it’s a girl in danger and a smell of money.”
This struck me as a reasonable variation on a boy in danger and a smell of monsters…
As for a setting, Guernsey had the potential romance of an almost foreign island and a distinctly pecunia non olet philosophy. Guernsey society could be epitomized in a variation of the verse famously attached to Boston: as a place:
Where the de Sausmarez speak only to the Careys
And the Careys speak only to God
In the case of both those families, social eminence had blossomed out of the manure of smuggling and privateering. Insularity and xenophobia were useful additional ingredients for a stew of intrigue.