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.