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THE HAUNTED HOTEL - Mystery Detective (Illustrated & AUDIO BOOK File Download)

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In this story, as the chief character is internally melodramatic, the story itself ceases to be merely melodramatic, and partakes of true dreams - T.S. Eliot Like Poe before him and Conan Doyle after, Wilkie Collins shifted easily from rational domains to the "supernatural". Like them, he is famed for original contributions to "ratiocinative" (detective) literature, but oft In this story, as the chief character is internally melodramatic, the story itself ceases to be merely melodramatic, and partakes of true dreams - T.S. Eliot Like Poe before him and Conan Doyle after, Wilkie Collins shifted easily from rational domains to the "supernatural". Like them, he is famed for original contributions to "ratiocinative" (detective) literature, but often preferred to indulge his occult predilection - a lifelong indulgence. His first published story The Last Stage Coach Man (1843) was a supernatural allegory of trains; perhaps his last lucid effort (before ill health and opium drained his powers) was his short novel, The Haunted Hotel (1878). Collins' methods and themes, developed and elaborated in his earlier, massive novels, are streamlined and concentrated here into a tight novelette. The same relentless pace and narrative power, the same attention to plot and backdrop detail that distinguish The Moonstone and The Woman in White are evident here, as is the obsession with destiny and willful struggle against it. Collins' much-loved Venice provides the scenery and fatal beauty, the grim waterways and palaces the author will haunt with mysterious woman, grotesques and bloody conspiracies. The Countess Narona is one of Collins' cosmopolitan enchantresses; she acts, but as a tool of her doom. T.S. Eliot wrote, The principal character, the fatal woman, is herself obsessed by the idea of fatality; her motives are melodramatic; she therefore compels the coincidences to occur, feeling that she is compelled to compel them. Collins relieves the tension with some wry characterizations and ironies; the theatrics are sustained. Indeed, theatrical motifs figure heavily, Collins himself being heavily involved with the stage at that period. The Haunted Hotel appears to be loosely based upon a case from teh annals of French crime; the scene, scenery, players and conflicts, and especially the horror, come straight from Collins' overstimulated, no doubt overwrought, most certainly haunted imagination.


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In this story, as the chief character is internally melodramatic, the story itself ceases to be merely melodramatic, and partakes of true dreams - T.S. Eliot Like Poe before him and Conan Doyle after, Wilkie Collins shifted easily from rational domains to the "supernatural". Like them, he is famed for original contributions to "ratiocinative" (detective) literature, but oft In this story, as the chief character is internally melodramatic, the story itself ceases to be merely melodramatic, and partakes of true dreams - T.S. Eliot Like Poe before him and Conan Doyle after, Wilkie Collins shifted easily from rational domains to the "supernatural". Like them, he is famed for original contributions to "ratiocinative" (detective) literature, but often preferred to indulge his occult predilection - a lifelong indulgence. His first published story The Last Stage Coach Man (1843) was a supernatural allegory of trains; perhaps his last lucid effort (before ill health and opium drained his powers) was his short novel, The Haunted Hotel (1878). Collins' methods and themes, developed and elaborated in his earlier, massive novels, are streamlined and concentrated here into a tight novelette. The same relentless pace and narrative power, the same attention to plot and backdrop detail that distinguish The Moonstone and The Woman in White are evident here, as is the obsession with destiny and willful struggle against it. Collins' much-loved Venice provides the scenery and fatal beauty, the grim waterways and palaces the author will haunt with mysterious woman, grotesques and bloody conspiracies. The Countess Narona is one of Collins' cosmopolitan enchantresses; she acts, but as a tool of her doom. T.S. Eliot wrote, The principal character, the fatal woman, is herself obsessed by the idea of fatality; her motives are melodramatic; she therefore compels the coincidences to occur, feeling that she is compelled to compel them. Collins relieves the tension with some wry characterizations and ironies; the theatrics are sustained. Indeed, theatrical motifs figure heavily, Collins himself being heavily involved with the stage at that period. The Haunted Hotel appears to be loosely based upon a case from teh annals of French crime; the scene, scenery, players and conflicts, and especially the horror, come straight from Collins' overstimulated, no doubt overwrought, most certainly haunted imagination.

30 review for THE HAUNTED HOTEL - Mystery Detective (Illustrated & AUDIO BOOK File Download)

  1. 5 out of 5

    Wendy Darling

    Intriguing opening chapters (view spoiler)[this is how much: I downloaded the Serial Reader app and liked the first chapter so much I couldn't wait for the rest, so I downloaded the free Kindle copy (hide spoiler)] dreadfully dull middle, and suspenseful and exciting horror towards the end. In some ways the writing feels very dated, in others, it still manages to shock and titillate. I really like Serial Reader, though! It's a new free app that delivers a new "issue," or section of a classic, to Intriguing opening chapters (view spoiler)[this is how much: I downloaded the Serial Reader app and liked the first chapter so much I couldn't wait for the rest, so I downloaded the free Kindle copy (hide spoiler)] dreadfully dull middle, and suspenseful and exciting horror towards the end. In some ways the writing feels very dated, in others, it still manages to shock and titillate. I really like Serial Reader, though! It's a new free app that delivers a new "issue," or section of a classic, to your phone every day, with the idea that it allows you to read books in short increments of no more than 20 minutes. Clean, pleasurable interface and reading experience, and it definitely makes tackling old classics you've been meaning to read feel less daunting and more manageable. Small selection so far, but they've just gotten started. I downloaded the app because I posted a photo of A Tale of Two Cities to Litsy, and a couple of people told me they were reading it via SR. I love the idea of people doing that, since Dickens (and Wilkie Collins too) was so well known for having stories published via serials in newspapers. It's a modern day Victorian reading app!

  2. 4 out of 5

    Amy | littledevonnook

    This is my third Wilkie Collins novel and I loved it just as much as the other two. We follow the story of a family who have been told of their relative's death whilst on his honeymoon in Italy. None of them want to believe the letters confirming his death and they all begin to feel rather suspicious of his new wife; especially as rumours are spread around London regarding her past. They decide to set out to Italy themselves to uncover the mystery behind his death. On reaching the hotel each fami This is my third Wilkie Collins novel and I loved it just as much as the other two. We follow the story of a family who have been told of their relative's death whilst on his honeymoon in Italy. None of them want to believe the letters confirming his death and they all begin to feel rather suspicious of his new wife; especially as rumours are spread around London regarding her past. They decide to set out to Italy themselves to uncover the mystery behind his death. On reaching the hotel each family member experiences something of the paranormal and they begin to question whether their relative really died in the innocent ways that have been described to them - the mystery deepens. What happened to their relative in the hotel? What will they uncover whilst sleeping under the roof where he died? A brilliantly written and enjoyable read! I would highly recommend Collins to any lover of Agatha Christie!

  3. 5 out of 5

    Tristram Shandy

    “The Countess now occupies the stage alone, and indulges in a soliloquy which develops her character.” Wilkie Collins has always been a writer for me whose female characters – both the nice ones and the cunning ones – generally arouse deep interest within the reader. If I have ever fallen in love with a character from a novel, I have fallen in love with Collins’s Lydia Gwilt, who had an overwhelming presence in a novel I did not particularly like. In The Haunted Hotel, a rather short novel, we ha “The Countess now occupies the stage alone, and indulges in a soliloquy which develops her character.” Wilkie Collins has always been a writer for me whose female characters – both the nice ones and the cunning ones – generally arouse deep interest within the reader. If I have ever fallen in love with a character from a novel, I have fallen in love with Collins’s Lydia Gwilt, who had an overwhelming presence in a novel I did not particularly like. In The Haunted Hotel, a rather short novel, we have two central female characters: Shed all over in the brightest light of virtue and virtually dripping with the milk of human kindness (but also the camomile tea of boredom) we find Agnes Lockwood, and in the other corner, there is the infamous Countess Narona, a woman around whom dark rumours entwine and who has a cruel sparkle in her eyes (at least, at times). Between these two women, there is Lord Montbarry, who eventually jilts Agnes for the Countess and thereby signs his own death warrant. In this short novel, Collins skilfully blends elements of horror with elements of mystery and has us witness a very intricate murder plot which seems to be inspired as much by circumstance as by the antagonist’s propensity for evil. Let us listen once more to the Countess describing her own character: ”It is at once a dangerous and attractive character. Immense capacities for good are implanted in her nature, side by side with equally remarkable capacities for evil. It rests with circumstances to develop either the one or the other.” Not only does this show that Collins avoids the use of one-dimensional scoundrels in favour of psychologically more interesting characters, but the Countess’s self-description is also remarkably typical of what a wrong-doer would say of himself: If only circumstances had been more favourable and I had been treated better by others, I would never have stooped to doing the things I eventually did. There may be a lot of truth in it, but it is also the common reasoning of most people – my bad actions are attributable to society, whereas my good ones are entirely my own merit. What is deplorable, however, is that, all in all, the Countess does not get a lot of time in the novel, and so we hardly have the opportunity to see her good inclinations wrestle with the darker sides of her soul. Maybe, to have stuck with the Countess more would have ruined the mystery plot to a certain degree, and that is why Collins decided against it. Thinking about the writer’s decisions, one may say that the blend of mystery and the supernatural works well – although it has some deus ex machina effect and brings about poetical justice – but that the story does has some few lengths, which can mainly be put down to Collins’s having made the Lord’s family too large and having all sorts of minor characters – Montbarry family members and those linked to them by marriage – parade the stage and make matters unnecessarily complicated without really adding to the mystery. The last few chapters, however, will surely cast a spell on the reader and acquaint him with a murder plan that must have been extremely shocking to Collins’s contemporaries. Therefore, this little book is really worth taking a plunge.

  4. 4 out of 5

    Piyangie

    Wilkie Collins was an important Victorian mystery author. He contributed heavily toward the mystery genre becoming an indispensable author of the genre. Centuries later, he is still mostly noted for his association with the mystery genre. The Haunted Hotel is yet another proof to justify the linking of Collins with the genre. Fusing drama, supernatural, and borrowed characteristics from gothic mystery, Collins creates a modern mystery of a haunted hotel. A ghost of a late English Lord haunts a Wilkie Collins was an important Victorian mystery author. He contributed heavily toward the mystery genre becoming an indispensable author of the genre. Centuries later, he is still mostly noted for his association with the mystery genre. The Haunted Hotel is yet another proof to justify the linking of Collins with the genre. Fusing drama, supernatural, and borrowed characteristics from gothic mystery, Collins creates a modern mystery of a haunted hotel. A ghost of a late English Lord haunts a newly opened hotel in Venice. When his family members come to stay there while holidaying in Venice he seems to be appealing to them for retribution. A suspicious finger is raised at his widow and her brother. Is it all conjecture or has the late Lord been truly murdered? This is the story of The Haunted Hotel. It is a good mystery, methodically narrated, clearing up the puzzle step by step. The ending is indistinct, and that gives an overall mystifying effect. The story is presented dramatically with a touch of melodrama, reminding us of his love for theatre. There were a few strong characters to hold the reading attention. The only problem I could find was the want of atmosphere. Collins has staged the story through the characters neglecting the atmosphere. It would have been more effective if he had created the ambiance of the haunted hotel and balanced the scale. Overall it was an entertaining read, and I had quite a fun time reading it. As was said above the ending is indistinct, but I thought it suited this story (and this is coming from a person who favours decided endings :)). The Haunted Hotel is not a best work by Collins but it has enough merit to worth your precious reading time.

  5. 4 out of 5

    Krystal

    Ehhhhhhhhh not sure about this one! Very slow on the suspense and intrigue and creepiness, but I was definitely suckered in by the foreshadowing. Absolutely fascinating characters, and I quite enjoyed the way the Countess was introduced, as it garnered instant sympathy for her and her troubled spirit. Agnes was pretty bland, considering how much hinged on her, but it was balanced by the enigmatic Henry through his devotion to her. The characters were all introduced in different contexts which reall Ehhhhhhhhh not sure about this one! Very slow on the suspense and intrigue and creepiness, but I was definitely suckered in by the foreshadowing. Absolutely fascinating characters, and I quite enjoyed the way the Countess was introduced, as it garnered instant sympathy for her and her troubled spirit. Agnes was pretty bland, considering how much hinged on her, but it was balanced by the enigmatic Henry through his devotion to her. The characters were all introduced in different contexts which really enhanced that idea that nothing was as it seemed. I liked that I questioned everyone's motives, and each different tale. It was cleverly written, that's for sure. I guess what I didn't like was that it all felt like a bit of an anti-climax to me. It's called 'The Haunted Hotel' but the hotel doesn't even exist until well over halfway through the story. The opening chapter was superb, but the rest was really dragged out. There just wasn't any horror, and aside from (view spoiler)[the missing courier (hide spoiler)] there wasn't a great deal of mystery, either. That ending though, wow! that really hooked me. (view spoiler)[I feel like maybe that terrible, decaying head might haunt my dreams a little tonight (hide spoiler)] Overall, a decent expression of atmosphere and an okay tale of intrigue. If you're looking for horror or major chills, though, I'd probably look elsewhere.

  6. 5 out of 5

    ᴥ Irena ᴥ

    3.5 The last chapters transform this story from decent to pretty good. The title promises ghosts, but the way that is handled is subtle and never in your face. The supernatural element is there, but it never gets the attention you'd expect in a story like this. I found some of the characters beyond annoying though. The Haunted House is also a murder mystery. You are left questioning what you've read in the end. 3.5 The last chapters transform this story from decent to pretty good. The title promises ghosts, but the way that is handled is subtle and never in your face. The supernatural element is there, but it never gets the attention you'd expect in a story like this. I found some of the characters beyond annoying though. The Haunted House is also a murder mystery. You are left questioning what you've read in the end.

  7. 5 out of 5

    Cheryl

    Really 2 and 1/2 stars. This felt more like an outline of a novel, as the characters were not well-developed nor very interesting. The two main female characters (Agnes and The Countess) were pretty annoying at times. There was a big "info dump" at the end that seemed like lazy writing on the author's part. Not as well-written as some of the author's earlier books, and not as much fun to read. Don't start with this book, if you are new to Wilkie Collins. He does write some good novels - this boo Really 2 and 1/2 stars. This felt more like an outline of a novel, as the characters were not well-developed nor very interesting. The two main female characters (Agnes and The Countess) were pretty annoying at times. There was a big "info dump" at the end that seemed like lazy writing on the author's part. Not as well-written as some of the author's earlier books, and not as much fun to read. Don't start with this book, if you are new to Wilkie Collins. He does write some good novels - this book just isn't one of them.

  8. 5 out of 5

    Zaphirenia

    Charming short novel by dear Wilkie Collins, full of drama, mystery, ghost story, social critique and good humour. Great page-turner with lovely language and very carefully structured to satisfy the reader with a well-deserved climactic ending. I absolutely love Collins for his ability to combine styles, themes and techniques in his books and cannot get enough of his excellent, very enjoyable writing.

  9. 5 out of 5

    Danielle The Book Huntress

    I liked this story. It was multifaceted in that it was not just a haunted house story, but also a murder mystery. Collins builds the suspense and the feeling of curiosity that keeps the reader engaged. I found the writing to be far from dated. The language was not antiquated, but felt almost modern in some ways. The print for my copy is rather small, and that's the only reason I didn't read it faster. Yesterday, I kept saying, I'll read to this point, and to that point, before I knew it, it was I liked this story. It was multifaceted in that it was not just a haunted house story, but also a murder mystery. Collins builds the suspense and the feeling of curiosity that keeps the reader engaged. I found the writing to be far from dated. The language was not antiquated, but felt almost modern in some ways. The print for my copy is rather small, and that's the only reason I didn't read it faster. Yesterday, I kept saying, I'll read to this point, and to that point, before I knew it, it was quite late and I had to put the book down to go to bed. I didn't find the prose melodramatic. Instead, I found that Collins is matter of fact in describing horrors. It's merely in the reading of such things that the horror is evoked. I was quite surprised at the horrible things that had occurred, and it wasn't due to that Campy Gothic or Victorian Penny Dreadful tendency to use outlandish language to evoke a dark, sinister tone. I liked his subtle but hilarious humor, particularly in the part in which Francis Westwick goes to the room in question. I was laughing out loud on that part. The Haunted Hotel starts out in an curious manner, with a false narrator. Which is quite brilliant. This beginning narrator never makes another appearance, and I was left to wonder how this plot thread would end up in the titular place. Further reading shows Collins' tendency to continuously introduce new point of views, leaving it up to the reader to see how it ties together. As I consider this novella, I wonder if this was not his way of revealing the intriguing character of the Countess through different eyes. So one cannot easily make up their mind about her. (view spoiler)[ I have to admit that I felt sympathetic to her up to almost the end of the story. While what she does is completely heinous and terrible, I felt that her allegiance to her awful brother was no small factor in her moral failing. In the end, she seemed to merely live down to everyone's expectations of her, instead of reaching higher. Instead of staying true to what I felt was an inner cord of strength, she followed that fatal path to destruction. So I admit that in the end, I still pitied her despite her actions. I was in no small way surprised that she actually was guilty. I thought perhaps she was just a victim of a bad reputation. My feelings towards the Countess make me admire this story more for the clever way in which it was written. (hide spoiler)] Now an impatient reader will wish for Collins to get to the point, but I rather enjoyed the journey. I found the characters interesting, all of which evoking sympathy to some extent (except the Baron, who I found totally repugnant). Collins has a way of writing characters that is quite appealing to me. Even the lesser important characters come to life and earn their screen time when they come into the scenes. I enjoyed the roundabout way of presenting a story that was actually quite chilling in parts. I appreciated how intricately the mystery builds to a satisfying climax for this reader. In the end, I was impressed with this novella by Mr. Collins. I will read more of his work because I think he has a way of writing mystery and suspense that is timeless, drawing me into his writing and not easily letting me go. His characters have impact and come to life for this reader, not sacrificed to a greater goal of evoking horror or terror, as can sometimes happen in this genre. I for one recommend this story to fans of classic/gothic horror and suspense. Read out of The Haunted Hotel & Other Stories.

  10. 5 out of 5

    Kim

    "The Haunted Hotel" is a novel by Wilkie Collins was serialised from June to November 1878. The full title of the novel is "The Haunted Hotel: A Story of Modern Venice." I'm not sure what was so modern about Venice, knowing almost nothing about it, and I'm also not sure if a book of only 200 pages or so is called a novel or a novella, but I'm calling it a novel, so far anyway. I suppose it would be called a mystery, it certainly was mysterious, or perhaps it is considered a ghost story, after al "The Haunted Hotel" is a novel by Wilkie Collins was serialised from June to November 1878. The full title of the novel is "The Haunted Hotel: A Story of Modern Venice." I'm not sure what was so modern about Venice, knowing almost nothing about it, and I'm also not sure if a book of only 200 pages or so is called a novel or a novella, but I'm calling it a novel, so far anyway. I suppose it would be called a mystery, it certainly was mysterious, or perhaps it is considered a ghost story, after all there is a haunted hotel. Perhaps it is a gothic novel, there is a ghost after all, and a creepy castle that unfortunately gets turned into a hotel, I suppose that would be considered modern, Some people disappear and others mysteriously die (or do they?), so I suppose it is gothic. But for me it was mostly mysterious, and the most mysterious thing about it was the book itself. The pages of the book I mean. Every other page was different. By that I mean that one page would be typed out just like you would expect in a book, but the other one would be an obvious copy from a different book. It looked something like this: I was confused about this the entire book. On the "copied" page the words are smaller and you can see the line down the page where the spine of the book would be, and part of the other page. I don't really care if it was copied or not, but why would you only copy every other page? It seems like it would have been easier to either type both pages or copy both pages, but that's not how it was done and the entire 200 pages were like this. Mystery number one. My second mystery was the missing words. Sentences such as "Not one of the five...." was really "N t one of th five...." and because it bothered me I would carefully write in the missing letters. This also went on for the entire book. My husband asked me what I was doing and when I told him he looked at me like I was crazy, but he often does that. OK, not clearing up the two first mysteries I'll move on to the story. In the first chapter one of our main characters "Countess Narona" goes to see a doctor because she thinks she is going mad. Now this doctor is just one of your regular physicians ( sorry to all the doctors out there I just called regular) he treats colds, sore throats, broken bones, that sort of thing. So I'm wondering why she would go to this type of doctor if she thinks she is going mad, but she does and he listens to her heart, and feels her pulse and asks her questions and finds nothing the matter with her, so she leaves very unsatisfied. I can't figure out why she went there at all, if I start going mad, or thinking I am, calling the doctor who gives me my high cholesterol medicine and migraine medicine wouldn't occur to me. Until now that is. Anyway, now we have met the Countess and the doctor fades away from the story back to seeing his other patients I suppose. The Countess is about to be married to Lord Montbarry and no one wants this marriage to take place. As near as I can tell everyone in this novel hates the Countess and for most of the book I can't figure out why. She is going to marry a man who was engaged to another woman, a cousin of his, who as near as I can tell everyone loves. The Countess had no idea that Lord Montbarry was engaged when she agreed to marry him and as she says: "I have innocently robbed her of her lover, and destroyed her prospects in life." After finding out the truth the Countess tries to break the engagement: "I implored him to release me from my promise. He refused. I declared I would break my engagement. He showed me letters from his sisters, his brothers and his dear friends - all entreating him to think again before he made me his wife; all repeating reports of me in Paris, Vienna, and London, which are so many vile lies. "If you refuse to marry me," he said, "you admit that these reports are true - you admit that you are afraid to face society in the character of my wife." What could I answer? There was no contradicting him - he was plainly right; if I persisted in my refusal, the utter destruction of my reputation would be the result. I consented to let the wedding take as we had arranged - " Now everyone in the novel involved in any of this admits that the Countess knew nothing of his engagement, so why in the world do they all hate her? If they are going to be mad at someone then go be mad at the awful Lord. I'm also not sure what our good, sweet, much loved heroine loved about Lord Montbarry in the first place. The countess is called all sorts of awful names before they even have a reason to call her anything in my opinion. She is: "that awful woman", "wicked", "False", "superstitious", "inveterately cruel" all sorts of things before anyone knows anything bad about her. Except she is crazy enough to marry into this family. But now the Lord and the Countess are married and go off to a very old castle in Venice described as a "damp, moldy, rambling old palace", and that's where the people disappear from, or run away from, or die in, before some more people come along and make the whole thing into a hotel. I didn't want the palace turned into a hotel, I hate when old houses and mansions are turned into businesses; lawyers offices, doctors offices, dentists, I hate when that happens. Just read what happens to the poor palace: "The outside of the building, with its fine Palladian front looking on the canal, was wisely left unaltered. Inside, as a matter of necessity, the rooms were almost rebuilt—so far at least as the size and the arrangement of them were concerned. The vast saloons were partitioned off into 'apartments' containing three or four rooms each. The broad corridors in the upper regions afforded spare space enough for rows of little bedchambers, devoted to servants and to travellers with limited means. Nothing was spared but the solid floors and the finely-carved ceilings." However, I guess if the place wasn't turned into a hotel there wouldn't have been all the different people coming to stay there to have all the awful things happen to. Insomnia, nightmares, horrid smells, all kinds of things, even this: "Midway between her face and the ceiling, there hovered a human head—severed at the neck, like a head struck from the body by the guillotine." OK, that's all I'm saying, the review will soon be as long as the book was. I read it in one day, so go ahead and read it, if you hate it you haven't spent that much time on it anyway. I didn't hate it, but I know it wasn't fascinating enough for me that I'll remember the story for long. Those pages will stay with me for quite a while though.

  11. 5 out of 5

    Iza Brekilien

    Reviewed for Books and livres and for a Goodreads readalong in the Victorians group. It's called The haunted hotel, but the haunting doesn't appear until the second half of the book. Just saying. In the first part, we meet Contess Narona, a rather agitated and melodramatic woman who seeks advice from a renown doctor. She feels something is going to happen but it seems to be fate, she won't be able to prevent the worse from happening. Nothing medical here. The doctor seems condescending toward wome Reviewed for Books and livres and for a Goodreads readalong in the Victorians group. It's called The haunted hotel, but the haunting doesn't appear until the second half of the book. Just saying. In the first part, we meet Contess Narona, a rather agitated and melodramatic woman who seeks advice from a renown doctor. She feels something is going to happen but it seems to be fate, she won't be able to prevent the worse from happening. Nothing medical here. The doctor seems condescending toward women in general and her in particular. Later, we meet Agnes, the Victorian angel de service : she's faithful, she's pure, she's true, she's "everything a woman should be" according to Victorian principles. She has a stalker - oh, forgive me : a man is in love with her but she doesn't return the love. He persists. She says no. He finally wins her. Of course, because he's in love with her the he deserves to win her ! I didn't like the way women were presented in this novel. I didn't care much about the story, way too melodramatic. It truly deserves the name of sensation novel. It felt really dated, a story where people faint and gasp and throw themselves on their knees begging for forgiveness or mercy. Not for me.

  12. 5 out of 5

    Sean

    The Haunted Hotel is a short ghost story/mystery concerning the death of Lord Montbarry and the strange occurrences that happen at his palace of residence in Venice which is converted into a hotel after his death. This novella skips a lot of the description and detail that is found in his longer and more famous works. Therefore, the story does seem to be rushed and summarized. However, this is good place to start if you want something a little more fast paced and want to get familiar with Collin The Haunted Hotel is a short ghost story/mystery concerning the death of Lord Montbarry and the strange occurrences that happen at his palace of residence in Venice which is converted into a hotel after his death. This novella skips a lot of the description and detail that is found in his longer and more famous works. Therefore, the story does seem to be rushed and summarized. However, this is good place to start if you want something a little more fast paced and want to get familiar with Collins’s writing style. Although it doesn’t stand up to Woman and White or the Moonstone, it was worth reading and gives some variety to Collins’ repertoire.

  13. 5 out of 5

    Natalie Richards

    Classic Wilkie Collins; thoroughly readable and enjoyable.

  14. 4 out of 5

    David Sarkies

    Another Wilkie Mystery 17 August 2018 For some reason, ever since I read The Moonstone at book club I have been somewhat drawn towards works by Wilkie Collins. Maybe it has something to do with him being a lesser known 19th Century British writer, lesser known in the sense that I had never heard of him until they decided to read him. Okay, he has been credited with writing the first detective novel, the aforementioned Moonstone, but this book also seems to come across as a mystery as well. Basica Another Wilkie Mystery 17 August 2018 For some reason, ever since I read The Moonstone at book club I have been somewhat drawn towards works by Wilkie Collins. Maybe it has something to do with him being a lesser known 19th Century British writer, lesser known in the sense that I had never heard of him until they decided to read him. Okay, he has been credited with writing the first detective novel, the aforementioned Moonstone, but this book also seems to come across as a mystery as well. Basically, we have the protagonist Agnes whose fiancé basically leaves her for another woman, the Countess Narona. In fact the Countess, who basically stole Agnes’ fiancé, comes into see a doctor to confess to him, though of course the doctor really isn’t all that interested in listening to somebody’s personal problems. I would say that he isn’t that sort of doctor, but then again I suspect that since we are still at least a quarter of a century away from Sigmund Freud, I’m not entirely sure if any of those sort of doctors actually existed, or at least counselors whose job was to basically tell their client’s that everything is all right, and as long as they aren’t actually breaking the law, then screw morality, just do what feels good. Anyway, Agnes’ ex-fiancé suddenly dies of bronchitis, but for some reason the wife of one of their servants receives a thousand quid out of thin air. This sort of raises some questions, but then the insurance company gets involved, as they are prone to do whenever they are forced to pay out any money, and come to the conclusion that the death was legitimate and settled the policy (though I suspect that like most insurance companies, particularly life insurance companies, they will go to great lengths to not actually pay anything out). So, the book then jumps to Venice, because as it turns out after they had finished their honeymoon they decided to stay in Venice and buy and old, run down palace (as a house in Venice is known as). A few years later, another person purchases the palace and turns it into a hotel, however it turns out that one of the rooms is haunted (or at least believed to be because, well, us rational people really don’t believe in ghosts, do we), in the sense that the people who stay in that room end up having nightmares. Well, this book isn’t one of those Sherlock Holmes, everything has a rational explanation type of stories, though it probably isn’t as much of a mystery as those of Holmes, or more so the later detective writers where they riddled their works with clues so that the reader could attempt to work it out before the author revealed all (not that I’ve ever been all that good at that, but then again I’ve never been a huge fan of detective fiction anyway, other that Holmes of course, but that has a lot to do with him actually being a cocaine fiend that spends his spare time prize fighting and visiting brothels). The other thing is that this book really doesn’t have a big reveal, or at least a big reveal by some French detective with a ridiculously long moustache that looks so bad that it completely put me off the movie. Though we are told a few things, if only because the confession is written as a play. Actually, when the play was being explained, it sort of reminded me a lot of Hamlet, where Hamlet writes a play, or at least gets the players to perform a play, that is so similar to what he believes happened to his father, that the king has a fit and storms out of the room. Yet it makes me wonder whether such a confession would actually be accepted, you know, where the guilty person writes a story that appears to be entirely fictional, but in reality they are basically telling a story based on what they actually done. I guess it has something to do with some people really, really wanting to actually confess to their crimes. Sure, not everybody is like that, many people are so convinced that they haven’t done anything wrong that the feeling of guilt simply does not exist. Yet others get so torn with guilt that the only way that they can overcome that dreaded feeling is to actually say something. Maybe writing it out as a form of fiction is a way to confess one’s guilt without actually outright saying that they committed the crime. Then again, the Countess certainly was the type of person who suffered from guilt, particularly since at the beginning of the play she goes and sees a doctor to confess that she is in the habit of seducing other people’s partners for her own pleasure. Yet it also makes me wonder about this idea of one constantly seeking affirmation for behaving, well, like a jerk. Maybe she wanted to confess because she wanted affirmation from somebody to tell her that what she had done was right. Well, killing somebody certainly doesn’t fall into that category, at least in the case here in this book, but the whole thing of dealing with guilt is an interesting thing, particularly where you basically seek that affirmation from your friends, or simply post it on Facebook to see how many likes you happen to get.

  15. 4 out of 5

    Brenda

    I'm still not sure how I feel about this book. There was not much of a haunting. There seemed to be a lot of discrepancies between character behaviors and a lot of coincidences; for so many characters that disliked each other they all shared a lot of company together; and the end to me was a bit strange. I suppose it was to tie it all together and keep the reader thinking, but again another coincidence that brought enemies together in an odd fashion. I liked the mystery part of it, I thought tha I'm still not sure how I feel about this book. There was not much of a haunting. There seemed to be a lot of discrepancies between character behaviors and a lot of coincidences; for so many characters that disliked each other they all shared a lot of company together; and the end to me was a bit strange. I suppose it was to tie it all together and keep the reader thinking, but again another coincidence that brought enemies together in an odd fashion. I liked the mystery part of it, I thought that was interesting. Unless it's to some gothic standard, but I thought the "haunting" was very tame and almost boring. And I am usually a wimp with ghost/horror stories. I didn't really like most of the characters either. In fact I can't name one that I really did like. This was my first W. Collins read and I wasn't over the top about it. I will read one or two more and see if I warm to him, but as a whole I was on the side of can leave the book on a take it or leave it basis.

  16. 5 out of 5

    James McCormick

    After reading Wilkie Collins’ The Moonstone I was disappointed overall with the Haunted Hotel. It really isn’t in the same class. The start is gripping enough and compelling enough to keep you reading. In fact, Countess Narona (pale skinned and dark haired) who we meet from the start is probably the most interesting character in the story. I expected (and wanted) Gothic melodrama and theatrical dialogue so this in itself wasn’t a problem. Rather it seemed that as a story it just doesn’t hold tog After reading Wilkie Collins’ The Moonstone I was disappointed overall with the Haunted Hotel. It really isn’t in the same class. The start is gripping enough and compelling enough to keep you reading. In fact, Countess Narona (pale skinned and dark haired) who we meet from the start is probably the most interesting character in the story. I expected (and wanted) Gothic melodrama and theatrical dialogue so this in itself wasn’t a problem. Rather it seemed that as a story it just doesn’t hold together. There are too many threads that just seem to fade away. The supernatural ending also was very plodding and apart from Countess Narona’s dark monologue failed to impress.

  17. 4 out of 5

    Toria

    Enjoyed this cozy mystery book a lot, it was such a fun read and it felt very cozy curling up in bed with this book and a cup of tea. Will definitely reread Woman in white and give his other books a go after this!

  18. 5 out of 5

    Amelia

    Well it wasn't to bad but it wasn't good Well it wasn't to bad but it wasn't good

  19. 4 out of 5

    Lucia

    A Haunted Novel The spirit of late Victorian age haunts this sensational novel. "The Haunted Hotel.” Post that in red letters six feet high, on a black ground, all over London – and trust the excitable public to crowd into the theatre! Hovering between the supernatural and crime fiction, The Haunted Hotel revolves around a mysterious death in a forlon, dismal Venetial palace, later transformed into a hotel where strange phenomena take place. Plot-driven and pervaded by a melodramatic tone, this A Haunted Novel The spirit of late Victorian age haunts this sensational novel. "The Haunted Hotel.” Post that in red letters six feet high, on a black ground, all over London – and trust the excitable public to crowd into the theatre! Hovering between the supernatural and crime fiction, The Haunted Hotel revolves around a mysterious death in a forlon, dismal Venetial palace, later transformed into a hotel where strange phenomena take place. Plot-driven and pervaded by a melodramatic tone, this is certainly not Wilkie Collins’s best novel. But it’s a treat for a “dissector” like me. To start with the choice of the obstrusive third person narrator, which is not typical of Collins. This narrator addresses and directs the reader, but cannot answer the questions raised. Definitely one of the most remarkable elements in this book is the indecipherable Countess Narona: I am a living enigma – and you want to know the right reading of me. As a matter of fact, neither her character nor the events can be interpreted. The turn of the century was a period of transition and uncertainty. It struck me that throughout the narrative the word “impression” recurs over and over again, perfectly expressing the sensibility of the time. In this light, the conclusion of the novel does make sense to me: Is there no explanation of the mystery of The Haunted Hotel? Ask yourself if there is any explanation of the mystery of your own life and death.

  20. 5 out of 5

    Colleen

    3.5 Stars *An atmospheric classic horror story with a great beginning and end, but an notably dull middle* I have been meaning to read Wilkie Collins for years. More years than I care to admit. But The Woman in White and The Moonstone are a bit intimidating. So when I came across this novella, I thought it would be a good place to start. The Haunted Hotel opens with a dramatic start: A woman pleading with a doctor to answer if she is evil or insane. The story has some fantastic elements in it: 3.5 Stars *An atmospheric classic horror story with a great beginning and end, but an notably dull middle* I have been meaning to read Wilkie Collins for years. More years than I care to admit. But The Woman in White and The Moonstone are a bit intimidating. So when I came across this novella, I thought it would be a good place to start. The Haunted Hotel opens with a dramatic start: A woman pleading with a doctor to answer if she is evil or insane. The story has some fantastic elements in it: a scorned lover, a controversial marriage, a mysterious disappearance, a deadly premonition, a possible haunting, and of course, the question of evilness versus insanity. The beginning and end of the story are atmospheric and captivating. The problem is the middle of the story. There is a huge chunk of the middle where the characters just sit around discussing what they know and don’t know. And much of that discussion involves tedious talk of wills and insurance policies. It just went on too long in a drawn-out infodump of tedious information. So instead of building tension, it drained the story that part of the story. The other thing I did not like was the character Agnes Lockwood. She embodied that Victorian archetype of guileless paragon of virtue. You know, the type that is so naïve and innocent and forgiving that they make you want to scream. Those brainless fluffs who live to oblige the men in their lives. If Agnes wasn’t offset by the much more interesting and dynamic Countess, then I’d be inclined to call Collins a total Neanderthal. But given that the all-encompassing uselessness in only embodied in Agnes, I’ll give Collins the benefit of the doubt. The story does finish strongly though. If the middle had been trimmed down, this would have been a higher rating for me. As with many classic works, you can see the influence they have had on more modern works, and I also find that fascinating. And despite not loving The Haunted Hotel, I am looking forward to reading more of Collins’ work. RATING FACTORS: Ease of Reading: 4 Stars Writing Style: 4 Stars Characters and Character Development: 3 Stars Plot Structure and Development: 3 Stars Level of Captivation: 3 Stars Originality: 3 Stars

  21. 4 out of 5

    Duane

    This review contains a major spoiler. 3.5 stars. Published almost 20 years after The Woman in White, they were similar in certain aspects, especially switching identities of deceased people. Although entertaining, it is nowhere close to being as good as his earlier classic. But I like the writing style of Collins and I have many more of his books to look forward to. This review contains a major spoiler. 3.5 stars. Published almost 20 years after The Woman in White, they were similar in certain aspects, especially switching identities of deceased people. Although entertaining, it is nowhere close to being as good as his earlier classic. But I like the writing style of Collins and I have many more of his books to look forward to.

  22. 4 out of 5

    Lisa

    I wanted to like this so much more than I did. On the plus side I liked most of the characters (outlines) and the story was good but we were lacking a bit of atmosphere and I didn't feel Venice at all. And there could have been more character development - I only really felt the Countess and Henry. It's worth a read but it is low on horror and is told slowly! I wanted to like this so much more than I did. On the plus side I liked most of the characters (outlines) and the story was good but we were lacking a bit of atmosphere and I didn't feel Venice at all. And there could have been more character development - I only really felt the Countess and Henry. It's worth a read but it is low on horror and is told slowly!

  23. 4 out of 5

    F.R.

    The first Wilkie Collins book I read was The Woman In White, which is excellent and I would heartily recommend. Since then I have always been somewhat disappointed by him. The Moonstone - thanks to a ludicrous denoument - disappoints, while Armadle is a mess. As such I approached this short novel with a sense of mild trepidation, but this is actually a strong tale. A mysterious European countess marries an English Lord who dies shortly afterwards, the ramifications affect his entire family. Writte The first Wilkie Collins book I read was The Woman In White, which is excellent and I would heartily recommend. Since then I have always been somewhat disappointed by him. The Moonstone - thanks to a ludicrous denoument - disappoints, while Armadle is a mess. As such I approached this short novel with a sense of mild trepidation, but this is actually a strong tale. A mysterious European countess marries an English Lord who dies shortly afterwards, the ramifications affect his entire family. Written in a more straightforward style than his more famous works, Collins does succeed in maintaining the mystery and tension throughout. To be fair the supernatural elements are somewhat glossed over, but this tale of sex, guilt and murder does have more than enough grisly twists and turns.

  24. 4 out of 5

    Greg

    AROUND THE WORLD OF CRIME 1878 - (Sometimes I'm convinced everyone in London made it through the Victorian era of severe inhibitions with a very wide assortment of drugs. Things settled down around 1900 and the drug usage moved to Paris. And perhaps Vienna, thus explaining Freud, Klimt, and Mahler, imo.) From 2012 to 2013 I wrote a screenplay set in America and in Venice. I needed a "BIG SECRET" as to why a certain family could not leave their fabulous, ancient palace. I was aware of the prison in AROUND THE WORLD OF CRIME 1878 - (Sometimes I'm convinced everyone in London made it through the Victorian era of severe inhibitions with a very wide assortment of drugs. Things settled down around 1900 and the drug usage moved to Paris. And perhaps Vienna, thus explaining Freud, Klimt, and Mahler, imo.) From 2012 to 2013 I wrote a screenplay set in America and in Venice. I needed a "BIG SECRET" as to why a certain family could not leave their fabulous, ancient palace. I was aware of the prison in Venice that's attached to the Doge's Palace, but I needed to move people from that prison elsewhere, so I 'invented' underground prison cells. Having just discovered and read "Haunted Hotel" I was pleasantly surprised that an author of Collins' stature had used underground rooms in this novella, but for a far different reason than me. And in Collins' story, a family is anxious to get away from the palace/hotel where I'd reversed the issue and had to give the family a reason they couldn't leave. Great minds think alike! Being humble isn't an asset that works in Hollywood. CAST - 4 Stars: Countess Narona is about to marry Baron Montbarry, but the Baron has just dumped the far prettier, saner, kinder Agnes Lockwood. Henry is the youngest brother of the Baron and hasnothing good to say about the Baron. A Dr. Wybrow opens the book and introduces us to the main characters. Ferrari is a courier (today we'd call him a tour director) who disappears, and Mrs. Ferrari is desparate to find him. The Baron has 2 other brothers: Stephen Robert and Francis. Plus, the Baron has 2 sisters, one married and one a widow. After meeting the Countess, the Doctor wants to know "what the world said of Countess Narona," so he goes to his gentlemen's club because, as Collins writes, "There was a time when a man in search of the pleasures of gossip sought the society of ladies. The man knows better now. He goes to the smoking room of his club." A very good, eccentric cast mostly given to over-the-top melodrama, hence my just short of 5 star rating for this element. But that's what Collins does best: melodrama. ATMOSPHERE - 4 stars: The doctor attends the wedding, and aside, the Countess says to him, "One more step, you see, on the way to the end!" The good doctor feels he has been infected in some way with wickedness. The Baron and the Countess return to London after only one week of their honeymoon. When asked about the return, the Countess simply says, "I have seen Switzerland." There is no explanation but I assume the reference is to Switzerland as the land of a thousand therapy facilities. I've been to Venice, and my first impression was one of rot: a severely damaged city. For me, Collins gets it on paper the way it felt to me: creepy. My hotel consisted of 2 old palaces merged together: half of my room was six steps below the bath/dressing area which had originally been part of another building. And as a palace is converted to the titular "Haunted Hotel" by a consortium of investors, it becomes apparent something very odd is going on. The author first goes with a few supernatural elements before ramping up and into the horror genre and oh it's just so much fun. It's PG-13 melodramatic horror, no torture porn or satanism. There will be many screams in the night, lots of hysterical folks fainting. Yes, fun/horror: moonlit lagoons and creepy alleys everywhere. Very late in the story, a character says, "...and I tell you again, I have caught my death in Venice." CRIME - 3: The actual crime isn't anything out of the ordinary. In fact, you should see it clearly coming. Still, the repercussions lead to, say, severe loss of appetites, to say the least. INVESTIGATION - 3: It's pretty much up to the family to find out what has happened, and the young brother Henry leads the quest. When the Countess mentions the loss of her traveling companion in America, Henry's response is a beauty, and perfect. "Shot in a gambling saloon?" he asks. It's funny but sorta sad: even in 1878, America only about 100 years old, the global assumption is that it's a shoot-em-up country. Some things never change. The investigation is a bit on the slow side perhaps (but it's lovingly done, you can just feel Collins trying to one-up Dickens in a literary sense) but for a very good reason... RESOLUTION - 5: ...as the method Collins' utilizes to explain it all is original and done for maximum tension. This is the highlight of the novella and I'll say nothing more other than I don't think I've come across this particular methodology anywhere else. SUMMARY: 3.8. In the introduction, we're told that Nuel Pharr Davis says "The Haunted Hotel is one of the best ghost stories of the century." I tend to agree and highly recommend this to anyone remotely interested in the genre of 'ghost stories.' Plus, there is a tad of gothrom and some very subtle, funny lines. And I've been inspired to take my screenplay out of storage: it was at the time (2013) my 6th of 7 completed screenplays. After all, I've spent the money on purchasing a copyright: it's time to send my screenplay off to a few studios. My genre is not in the realm of a ghost story nor horror but is more like an origin story of Carnavale and of Venice itself. If anyone has del Toro's personal phone number handy, send it on to me! I see Viggo Mortenson as a lead character, perhaps, an American geo-anthropologist hired by the country of Italy to stop the sinking of Venice. And besides, my screenplay of Venice is the middle of a trilogy of films with, unfortunately, blockbuster budgets. After all...reach for the heavens, right? Oh, and my story is far steamier! Now, about my 7th screenplay. It's a political satire and I see Viggo Mortenson as a corrupt politician who likes his sex very, very kinky. So kinky, in fact, that I even have the theme song composed and ready for heavy radio rotation and downloads. (Trump will need bumper songs for his new radio show, right? ) Anyone have Lady Gaga's number, while I'm asking?

  25. 4 out of 5

    Brooke

    Wilkie Collins, a close friend of Charles Dickens, is best known for his novels The Woman in White and The Moonstone, and The Haunted Hotel is very similar in its tone and atmosphere. The Countess Narona steals away Lord Montbarry from Abby Lockwood. Despite Abby's forgiving nature, the Countess is convinced that Abby has doomed her to a tragic ending. When Montbarry dies and his courier disappears, Montbarry's family slowly unravels the mystery that is left behind. Collins has a tendency to cons Wilkie Collins, a close friend of Charles Dickens, is best known for his novels The Woman in White and The Moonstone, and The Haunted Hotel is very similar in its tone and atmosphere. The Countess Narona steals away Lord Montbarry from Abby Lockwood. Despite Abby's forgiving nature, the Countess is convinced that Abby has doomed her to a tragic ending. When Montbarry dies and his courier disappears, Montbarry's family slowly unravels the mystery that is left behind. Collins has a tendency to constantly switch narrators, a technique that is also present here. It can be disconcerting until you meet all the characters and get a feel for each of them. He uses each narrator well, however, as each one is able to fill in parts of the story that the others are not able to. The resolution of The Haunted Hotel is particularly horrific, which is odd, given how simplistic it is compared to the many serial killer and horror novels I've read. The chills come from the total depravity and indifference that the villains exhibit towards the victims and towards each other. The Haunted Hotel is available in many editions; I recommend one that contains Collins' other (very) short stories as well.

  26. 5 out of 5

    Renee M

    Good, Ghostly, Grisly, Melodrama filled with plenty of paranormal activity, a little romance, and a ghoulishly entertaining mystery. Delightfully diverting!

  27. 5 out of 5

    Bbrown

    To me, Wilkie Collins is one of the best exemplars of the idea that popular does not mean good. I understand why his books sold well, they are by-the-numbers mystery thrillers that are exceptionally easy to consume, since you don’t have to worry about masterful writing or interesting ideas bogging you down. Heck, you don’t even have to worry about unexpected twists either. Sure, a character might appear that you thought was dead, but someone you thought was a good guy will never be revealed as a To me, Wilkie Collins is one of the best exemplars of the idea that popular does not mean good. I understand why his books sold well, they are by-the-numbers mystery thrillers that are exceptionally easy to consume, since you don’t have to worry about masterful writing or interesting ideas bogging you down. Heck, you don’t even have to worry about unexpected twists either. Sure, a character might appear that you thought was dead, but someone you thought was a good guy will never be revealed as a villain or vice versa, and all the characters you expect to end up married do indeed get hitched by the end of the story. His books are cotton candy fluff, that dissolve in your mouth leaving nothing of substance. The Haunted Hotel is even less substantial cotton candy than The Woman in White. I was at dinner with a friend and accurately summarized the entire first half of the book in only a few sentences because so little happens. The entire middle of the book is Agnes working as a governess and Collins not so subtly dropping in “little did she know that this would take her one step closer to Venice and the terrible secret hidden there!” It’s simultaneously boring and so lacking in subtlety that it was off-putting. And the worst part of the entire work is the ending, where, instead of the final mystery “reveal” being delivered in an interesting way, Collins has a character write the 1800s equivalent of If I Did It by O. J. Simpson. Poorly done. Perhaps there was enough material in The Haunted Hotel to make for a short story or brief novella, but there certainly wasn’t enough for a novel. Even putting aside the book being overlong, it just wasn’t interesting in any way. As such, I have very little to say about it. 2/5.

  28. 4 out of 5

    Alaina

    With October around the corner, I am all for mystery books. That being said, I was bound to dive into The Haunted Hotel. In it, we are following a family who just found out a family relative has just died. Now this is while they are on their honeymoon, so it was pretty reasonable for them to be a bit skeptical about the death. It also doesn't help that no one really liked the victim's wife either. It's fair to assume who would be suspect #1 in this case. Yet, with rumors, twists, and turns comin With October around the corner, I am all for mystery books. That being said, I was bound to dive into The Haunted Hotel. In it, we are following a family who just found out a family relative has just died. Now this is while they are on their honeymoon, so it was pretty reasonable for them to be a bit skeptical about the death. It also doesn't help that no one really liked the victim's wife either. It's fair to assume who would be suspect #1 in this case. Yet, with rumors, twists, and turns coming my way - I wasn't exactly sure who did it. While reading this book, I definitely thought of Agatha Christie's books. Mostly because the way things flowed in and out just reminded me of her writing. In the end, all the paranormal activity and mystery within this book kept me engaged and made this a page turner. I look forward to my next book by Wilkie.

  29. 4 out of 5

    John

    A Collins novel that's deservedly among his lesser-known pieces yet is still thoroughly entertaining, this combines mystery with the supernatural to generally good effect. All London is aghast when the highly eligible Herbert John Westwick, First Baron Montbarry, chooses to dump his long-time fiancee, the sweet Agnes Lockwood, and marry the Countess Narona, a continental of dubious reputation. Off the couple go on honeymoon, accompanied by Baron Rivar, supposedly her brother but, according to sca A Collins novel that's deservedly among his lesser-known pieces yet is still thoroughly entertaining, this combines mystery with the supernatural to generally good effect. All London is aghast when the highly eligible Herbert John Westwick, First Baron Montbarry, chooses to dump his long-time fiancee, the sweet Agnes Lockwood, and marry the Countess Narona, a continental of dubious reputation. Off the couple go on honeymoon, accompanied by Baron Rivar, supposedly her brother but, according to scandalized gossip, in reality her lover. By the time this odd trio settle down for a while in a crumbling palazzo in Venice, complete with an English maid and a courier, it's widely bruited that the marriage is already on the rocks thanks to the countess's presumed adultery and her husband's extreme tightfistedness. All of this we learn from the viewpoint of relatives and others back in the British Isles, notably Agnes, still steadfast in her love for Lord Montbarry, and Henry Westwick, a younger brother of Montbarry's who has for long loved Agnes unrequited. Lord Montbarry dies in the Venice palazzo, after the maid has resigned and returned to England and the courier has disappeared under mysterious circumstances. The countess and her brother, having collected the insurance money, head off to the US, where he dies of a fever. The palazzo is bought by a group of investors, including young Henry Westwick, to be converted into a swanky hotel. There's a sense that everyone's picking themselves up again after a tragic digression. But then Henry spends a night at the hotel he co-owns, sleeping in the room where his brother breathed his last . . . As I say, this novel is in part a murder mystery (although there's no real detection involved) and in part a ghost story. The supernatural manifestations do help in the resolution of the riddle, so they're not just tacked on; at the same time, the tale might have been stronger had Collins written it as an unadulterated mystery. That said, he knew his readership better than I do so that's probably an asinine comment of mine. Of especial interest is the portrayal of the countess. In the opening scene she consults a London doctor, seeking some sort of release from the evil she's convinced inhabits her, and the destiny which that evil has charted out for her. (He tells her he can't help.) It's an intriguing conundrum: the sinner who seeks to rid herself of sin is surely no sinner, unless the concept of redemption is illusory. In other words, the countess is a femme fatale against her will, and, although she becomes an accomplice to crime, the blame for the tragedies that ensue from the marriage between her and Montbarry really lies at his feet, as we shall learn, rather than hers. Back when I was in my late teens and early twenties I read most of Collin's novels thanks to the efforts of the London publisher Anthony Blond, through his Doughty Press, to bring a bunch of them back into print; the excellent St. Bride's Library, near where I worked in Fleet Street, stocked not just those but a number of Collins's other works. More recently I've reread The Moonstone and The Woman in White with great enjoyment, especially the latter. I've kept meaning to read/reread more, but it's only now, with The Haunted Hotel, that I've actually gotten around to it. I was pretty certain this was one of the ones I hadn't read before; I'm now even more so. As noted, it's very decidedly a lesser work and has some highly visible flaws. Yet I found it a compelling read -- a great shocker! -- and enough fun to encourage me to dig out some more of Collins's books (thanks, Project Gutenberg!) to read in the not-too-distant future.

  30. 4 out of 5

    Franky

    As with many other Wilkie Collins novels, The Haunted Hotel has elements of fate, romance, danger, deception, murder and mystery. The story begins with Lord Montbarry breaking off his engagement to Anges Lockwood. Countess Narona, who will marry Lord Montbarry, comes to see a doctor to evaluate her sanity. The Countess seems to be under a good deal of stress about this marriage, as she was unaware Montbarry had already been engaged. There is an aura of fatalism about the Countess, as she feels a As with many other Wilkie Collins novels, The Haunted Hotel has elements of fate, romance, danger, deception, murder and mystery. The story begins with Lord Montbarry breaking off his engagement to Anges Lockwood. Countess Narona, who will marry Lord Montbarry, comes to see a doctor to evaluate her sanity. The Countess seems to be under a good deal of stress about this marriage, as she was unaware Montbarry had already been engaged. There is an aura of fatalism about the Countess, as she feels an impending sense of dread about this situation.However, the marriage goes through, and it seems that the Countess and Agnes Lockwood will cross paths several times. When a mysterious death takes place a bit later, followed by a disappearance of equal mystery, then things get more complicated. Fate seems to beckon all key characters to an ill-fated hotel with one seriously spooky room. The novel’s conclusion, where all is unraveled in the denouement, is probably the most effective part of the book and mystery to the plot. As always, Collins knows how to put everything together in amazing fashion and hold our interest by delaying major plot developments. This makes the final few chapters quite compelling, as we await the fates of key characters and the mysteries involved with the hotel. I also really enjoyed the “book within a book” approach that Collins utilizes as a key component in the mystery. Still, I think that several of Collins longer books are much more effective at creating a well-timed pacing and building the appropriate amount of suspense and tension. The pacing for The Haunted Hotel seems to be off, with long bouts of romance and trivial developments in the first half that stall the story. At these moments where we learn a bit of the background the plot moves at a plodding pace, with no sense of tension or real drive to get going anywhere. It is only when several character motives are in plain view, and when the hotel becomes the focus, that the suspense takes off and heads to a fitting conclusion.

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