By Daphne du Maurier
368 pages; NYRB Classics
That whooshing sound you hear is your mind being sucked into the brilliant black depths of Daphne du Maurier's Gothic imagination, the instant you begin reading the eponymous first story in Don't Look Now (New York Review of Books). With all due respect to Hitchcock, his film based on "The Birds" pales beside her 1952 tale of unnatural disaster, set in a farming community in post–World War II England—and all the more terrifying for its quiet inevitability. Novelist Patrick McGrath's introduction reacquaints us with the intense, eccentric, psychologically deft Du Maurier, a master storyteller with a touch as smooth as a raven's wing. A scene from Hitchcock's 1963 film, The Birds.