Wednesday, December 23, 2009

The Haunted Hotel - post I

The Haunted Hotel – post I

This time of year is often associated with ghost stories. The most well known if of course A Christmas Carol with the ghosts of Marley and the various tenses of Christmas visiting Scrooge. But there are other collections of spooky stories and books that seem to chime in with the dark nights and the cold.

It is perhaps no surprise that as a result the BBC has chosen to dramatise the Turn of the Screw as one of its big Christmas dramas.

But the book chosen from my shelf has been The Haunted Hotel by Wilkie Collins. The book manages to have a refreshing style to it despite being penned in the 1880s and you are dragged into the mystery in a relatively short number of pages.

A countess, who is both described as wicked or in terms of being a victim of gossip marries a Lord who has thrown over his former fiancé for the mysterious and hated woman. But the Countess herself feels threatened by the former fiancé and even after her husband dies on a trip to Venice she still seems to believe that it is her life that is under threat.

Collins leaves the reader struggling to develop any serious sympathy for the Countess and as you suspect her brother Baron Rivar for being involved in murder it becomes harder still to come down on the side of anyone other than the former fiancé.

More tomorrow...

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