Because I always appreciate a good bit of literary sleuthing.

I’m not sure what got me thinking about The Ghost and Mrs. Muir. I haven’t seen it in years, but it’s a movie I remember enjoying, one that’s right up my alley. Wikipedia tells me that it’s based on a short novel by R. A. Dick, the pseudonym of an Irish writer named Josephine Leslie (1898-1979).

The Ghost and Mrs Muir Posters

On an impulse, I bought the novel; and while I was at it, I did a little digging for other work by Ms. Leslie. I got intrigued by the title of a play she wrote, Witch Errant; the only plot information I could find is from an old playbill. I can’t find a copy of the play to read.

But while I was searching, I came across something fun.

The titular widowed Mrs. Muir, if you remember, moves into a residence called Gull Cottage, which is haunted by the ghost of its original owner, a cantankerous sea captain. Comedy and romance ensue. A Ghost and Mrs. Muir fan named John D’Angelo thinks he may have discovered the “original Gull Cottage;” that is, the real house that inspired the setting of the novel, and the subsequent film and TV series. And he wrote about his discovery, as well as about what little information he could find on the novel’s mysterious author.

You can read The Search for Gull Cottage, here.

We can never know for sure if the cottage he found is “the” cottage, but it’s a fun piece of literary (and cinematic) sleuthing all the same, and I’m always happy to share good work. Mr. D’Angelo also reconstructed a floor plan of Gull Cottage, as portrayed in the 1947 film.

That Gull Cottage was a studio set, both interior and exterior. The Gull Cottage portrayed in the 1968 TV series was a real house (sets were used for at least some of the interiors), located in Montecito, California. Someone found a floor plan for that house, too — the real one that is, not necessarily the house as portrayed in the TV show.

A lot of people really seem to love the movie and the TV show. How sweet! I’ll have to rent the film while I’m waiting for the book to arrive; it should make for a cozy and pleasant movie night. And if I’ve inspired you, maybe you can rewatch it, too!


Screen shot of The Ghost and Mrs. Muir. Source

Film Poster Source: Wikimedia

2 thoughts on “The Ghost and Josephine Leslie

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