‘The Haunted Hotel’ – Wilkie Collins

the haunted hotel

A contemporary of Dickens, Collins is not the kind of writer you tend to stumble across. I first came across his works when I had to read ‘The Woman in White’ as part of my studies, and I was intrigued by the idea of ‘The Moonstone’ being the first detective novel. I had never read this, and decided it was about time to try something a little different.

The first thing that I have to say about this novel is that it focuses on a rather straightforward mystery, but is made that little more special due to the fascination with the supernatural.

Lord Montbarry breaks off his engagement to Agnes Lockwood, he marries the mysterious Countess Narona (about which there are more than one or two rumours) and then travels to a┬árun-down palace in Venice. We learn of Montbarry’s death, and the mysterious circumstances surrounding it. Suspicious, Montbarry’s brother travels to Venice to try and determine exactly what happened. The palace in Venice where Montbarry was staying has been turned into a fashionable hotel, but mysterious things are seen there.

I shan’t give away the specific details of what transpired, but it was a well-plotted and interesting story. What really stuck out to me was the deep interest in the supernatural that Collins shows. Some of the descriptions were quite horrific, but I thoroughly enjoyed this novel.