The Beetle : A Mystery, Paperback Book
4 out of 5 (3 ratings)


With an Introduction by David Stuart Davies. 'I saw him take a different shape before my eyes. His loose draperies fell about him...and there issued out of them a monstrous creature of the beetle tribe...'From out of the dark and mystic Egypt comes The Beetle, a creature of horror, 'born of neither God nor man', which can change its form at will.

It is bent on revenge for a crime committed against the devotees of an ancient religion.

At large in London, it pursues its victims without mercy and no one, it seems, is safe from its gruesome clutches. Richard Marsh's weird, compelling and highly original novel, which once outsold Dracula, is both a horror masterpiece and a fin de siecle melodrama embracing the fears and concerns of late Victorian society.

Long out of print, The Beetle is now available in this Wordsworth edition, ready to chill you to the marrow and give you nightmares.


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Showing 1 - 3 of 3 reviews.

Review by

So frustratingly nearly brilliant - the writing is thrilling, the idea is wonderful, the villain is horribly odd and bizarre and the climax is certainly one of the best of it's kind (also helps that I know the trainline in question from childhood)... yet... yet... so many flaws! Firstly the victim of sorts - Lessingham - comes across as a complete knob. The hero of a kind, Atherton, is a less likeable character in many ways but is also far more believable and enjoyable a figure to spend time with compared to the prissy politician. Certainly the major female lead comes across as even duller than the love interest in "The Woman in White" which I never thought to be possible. And similarly the final revelation of the link between the Beetle and Lessingham is a bit of a let down as well... good god, Marsh could have managed something *brilliant* if Lessingham were more flawed, Marjorie closer to Marion Halcombe than to Laura Fairlie and the Beetle had a bit more of a reason to commit his/ her/ it's reign of terror. As it is... it never quite worked. Close - so close - but so frustratingly far as well. Heigh ho.

Review by

Apparently, this novel once outsold Bram Stoker's Dracula, and it is easy to see why. It tells the strange tale of the creature called The Beetle that plays tricks on and catch with London's polite society, a secret and ancient Egyptian cult, human sacrifice of innocent maidens, mesmerism, a nobody rising to political power who might be hiding a mysterious secret in his past, and you can see why it may have intrigued and fascinated its readership. It does have its faults: its language and settings feel quite old-fashioned today and some of the plot developments are full of melodrama and incredible coincidences. That said, it is still a cracking good read, with the plot gathering pace after the first third of the book, and the passages where the heroine, Marjorie Lindon, is left alone with the creature in her room are truly terrifying.

Review by

This is a very entertaining book. It is regarded as a classic horror but it is also a mystery and a romantic comedy of the Victorian era. I would describe it as a cross between Dracula and The Importance of Being Earnest with a tiny bit of Sherlock Holmes thrown in.The book also provides me with more supporting evidence for my “Do not read the introduction to fiction until after having read the book” belief. While I agree with most of what David Stuart Davies has to say about the novel, I would not have enjoyed the story half as much as I did had I read the introduction first.

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