Dame Daphne du Maurier, whose mixtures of romance and the supernatural made her one of the century's most popular novelists, died Wednesday, her family executor said. She was 81.

Monty Baker-Munton, a family friend, trustee and executor, said he did not know the cause of death.The author of such popular classics as "Rebecca," "Frenchman's Creek" and "The Birds" died in her sleep at her home in the village of Par, in Cornwall, southwest England.