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Monday, September 18, 2006

R.I.P. #4 The Haunted Hotel

First published in 1879 in Belgravia Magazine, The Haunted Hotel: A Mystery of Modern Venice is set in 1860. At only 127 pages, the blurb says it is "perhaps [Collins'] last lucid effort (before ill health and opium drained his powers)." It is a fast-paced little novel that may have been based on an actual French crime. Collins' version has a mysterious countess, a murder, a secret room, a dungeon converted to a chemistry lab, a ghost, and a love story.

Definitely not a feminist novel, both the heroine and the villainess ask forgiveness for their feminine frailties on more than one occasion. Although Collins may really have intended to create frail and sensitive women, both the heroine and villainess exhibit a good deal more strength of will than do their male counterparts, they just make sure to request patience with the weaknesses of their gender. A good book for a "dark and stormy night." Gothic and Victorian and fun.

I had no idea when I chose my books that 3 of them would be so short.
The Le Fanu novel is longer, I think. Having so many that are such quick reads means I can start considering which "bonus" books to read in the R.I.P. vein.


  1. ooh.. this looks great!
    and here, most of my RIP books are longer than expected :P

  2. Angela, THH was quite entertaining. I'm reading some of the reviews on other blogs that look interesting for my bonus books, but right now will concentrate on A Map of Glass and other library books that are stacked and waiting.

  3. This one sounds great. I am really enjoying Woman in White and am sure that more Collins will be in my future after that!

  4. I'm so glad you came up with this challenge, Carl. Reading all of the reviews and comments on other blogs has been a treat in itself!
    Wilkie Collins must have had a lot of fun, don't you think?

  5. Yes, I'd like to read more about him as he seems like an interesting character based on his novels.

  6. Carl, I did read somewhere that during his time, he was more popular than Dickens. I can imagine how entertaining these novels must have been in the late 1800's!