The Haunted Hotel and Other Stories Paperback
Edited by David Stuart Davies
Part of the Tales of Mystery & the Supernatural series
Edited and with an Introduction by David Stuart Davies. 'Have you ever heard of the fascination of terror?' This is a unique collection of strange stories from the cunning pen of Wilkie Collins, author of The Woman in White and The Moonstone.
The star attraction is the novella The Haunted Hotel, a clever combination of detective and ghost story set in Venice, a city of grim waterways, dark shadows and death.
The action takes place in an ancient palazzo coverted into a modern hotel that houses a grisly secret.
The supernatural horror, relentless pace, tight narrative, and a doomed countess characterise and distinguish this powerful tale.
The other stories present equally disturbing scenarios, which include ghosts, corpses that move, family curses and perhaps the most unusual of all, the Devil's spectacles, which bring a clarity of vision that can lead to madness.
- Format: Paperback
- Pages: 336 pages
- Publisher: Wordsworth Editions Ltd
- Publication Date: 20/07/2006
- Category: Classic fiction (pre c 1945)
- ISBN: 9781840225334
Showing 1 - 2 of 2 reviews.
Review by eleanor_eader
A collection of nine stories with varying degrees of supernatural creepiness. The title story is a neatly unfolding crime mystery with a convincingly chilling atmosphere; although it lacks something of the character of Collins’ better novels, it is easily interesting enough to keep the reader involved. Of the eight shorter stories, several rely on coincidence rather more heavily than Collins’ straightforward mysteries seem to – or perhaps coincidence is simply more obvious in a shorter setting – but there are one or two gems in here that absolutely must be read by fans of gothic, Victorian or supernatural literature. I speak of <i>The Devil’s Spectacles</i>, the last and shortest, most particularly, if only because the premise is so bizarre at the end of a book of straightforward ghostliness, that it made me sit up and gape with that worried happiness that applies when something gets under the skin of a hardened reader of creepy tales. <i>Mrs Zant and the Ghost</i> is lovely, and <i>The Dream Woman</i>, despite the singularly dull title, is one of my favourite short ghost stories by virtue of having a strongly written, if pitiable, protagonist.Not the best collection in the genre, but far from being a waste of the reader’s time!
Review by passion4reading
This collection of supernatural tales begins with the novella of the title, The Haunted Hotel. Contrary to general opinion, I didn't think much of it; all the characters appeared like caricatures of themselves, especially the Countess Narona, and her nemesis, Agnes Lockwood; the villainess is portrayed as too evil, her counterpart as too good and saintly to be wholly believable. I found the entire set-up too overblown, the dialogue too pompous (no doubt that the Victorians loved exactly the drama of it), and the climax in the hotel bordering on the ridiculous. I'm afraid I could never engage with any of the characters, and the inevitability of the plot unfolding left me cold. I'm surprised to see that it's regarded as such a classic.I'm afraid the other short stories included in this anthology (The Dream Woman; Mrs Zant and the Ghost; Miss Jeromette and the Clergyman; Blow Up with the Brig!; Nine o'Clock; The Devil's Spectacles) aren't much to write home about either and follow pretty much the well-known formula, no surprises there or much room for characterisation. The two exceptions are the rightly famous A Terribly Strange Bed, and The Dead Hand. The Terribly Strange Bed must surely be one of Wilkie Collins' best-loved stories, rightly celebrated for its daring originality, and reminiscent of Edgar Allan Poe. The Dead Hand starts in a similar way, turning an innocuous and familiar situation on its head and infusing it with terror; unfortunately the whole story is then let down by one of these truly incredible coincidences that the Victorians seemed to have been so fond of.One for collectors and connoisseurs of the genre.