Goodreads helps you keep track of books you want to read.
Start by marking “The Scarlet Mansion” as Want to Read:
The Scarlet Mansion
Enlarge cover
Rate this book
Clear rating
Open Preview

The Scarlet Mansion

4.03  ·  Rating Details ·  101 Ratings  ·  17 Reviews
The Scarlet Mansion is a novel based on the life of Herman Mudgett, alias Dr. Henry Holmes, one of the most notorious serial killers of all time, who in the late 1800's, murdered no less than 133 people. A fascinating view of this highly dangerous person from the time of his first murder, when he is only 12 years old, to his adult years when he built a huge, 105-room mansi ...more
Paperback, 500 pages
Published April 1st 2000 by (first published 1985)
More Details... edit details

Friend Reviews

To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up.

Reader Q&A

To ask other readers questions about The Scarlet Mansion, please sign up.

Be the first to ask a question about The Scarlet Mansion

Community Reviews

(showing 1-30)
filter  |  sort: default (?)  |  Rating Details
Nov 17, 2012 Laura rated it really liked it
Shelves: nonfiction
Astounding! Eckert's carefully researched telling of the 19th century serial killer Herman Mudgett, alias Dr. Henry H. Holmes, is a great read, although I feel like I should give my brain a shower after filling it with too much information about this deplorable man.

I should probably give The Scarlet Mansion five stars for two reasons. First, I am still thinking about this book even after I have finished it. Why have I never heard about possibly the most notorious serial killer in America until I
Lori Shafer
Apr 25, 2015 Lori Shafer rated it it was amazing
This was a new twist for Eckert. I have been a huge fan of his for years. I love his book on the Native Americans from the Appalachian region.

The Scarlet Mansion was nothing like those books. Yes, it was well researched and written. But this book was about the serial killer Holmes. It is excellent. I must say I was not expecting it to been so interesting. I just was not expecting this type of novel from the man who wrote Sorrow in the Heart. Very excellent book, I would recommend it to anyone w
Oct 07, 2009 Robert rated it really liked it
I read this book years and years ago and had forgotten the titles until today, but the story and many of the scenes I still remember to this day. This is the story of one of the first US serial killers and the insane mansion he built full of traps and torture devices and how he was caught and brought down. This person murdered over 133 people, this book is a truly haunting recount of his life.
Jan 01, 2010 Brian is currently reading it
H H Holmes was one of the most prolific serial killers in Ameircan history. It happened around the time of the Chicago World's Fair, so that is why he isn't very well known. They still don't know how many he offed.
Jul 24, 2009 Amy added it
I've read this book three times now and continue to gain new insights into Mudgett as well as newfound respect for the immense scope of historical research by the author. If you are a history buff, look at "The Frontiersmen," the first in the Narratives of America series.
Apr 03, 2009 Debra rated it it was amazing
I read this years ago. It's about Herman Mudgett, a mass-murderer who lived in the late 19th century in Chicago. It will make your hair stand on end!
Mar 22, 2008 Leo rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I used this fictional account of the life of H.H. Holmes to help write my 10th grade history fair project. Who knew crime could read so profoundly interesting?
Aug 01, 2008 Karen rated it it was amazing
As dark as they get! If you love books about serial killers, you can't miss this one!
Mar 12, 2017 Erinn rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
After reading The Devil in the White City, of course I had to run over to this novel. This one provides even more unnerving insight on America's first serial killer. Maybe a bit too much, if I may add.
Jan 30, 2012 Heather rated it liked it
Title: The Scarlet Mansion

Author: Allan Eckert

ISBN: 9780553259254

Publisher: Bantam

Summary (from A novel based on the life of Herman Mudgett, alias Dr. Henry H. Holmes, one of the most notorious serial killers of all time, who, before the turn of the century, murdered no less than 133 people. A fascinating view of this dangerous person from the time of his first murder, when he is only 12 years old, to his adult years when he has built a huge, 105-room mansion in Chicago, with most of th
Elspeth G. Perkin
The Scarlet Mansion had its vivid moments of terrifying believable scenes where I would catch myself wanting to shout out warnings to the unfortunate numerous victims in the pages but left me in the dark many other times at the uneven dialogue, repetitive chapters (containing either flashbacks of schemes, senseless murders with animated violence dominating the passages or meetings with another trusting mark) and ultimately so many wasted opportunities for this novel to really shine with an omino ...more
The lightly fictionalized story of America's first known serial killer, Herman Mudgett alias Dr. Henry Holmes, who, during the 1800's, murdered at least 133 people. His 105-room Chicago mansion contained mostly toture devices, gas chambers, and incinerators. In a dramatic cross-country pursuit by Indianapolis Detective Frank Geyer, Mudgett is finally arrested in Boston and executed.


A true story about a psychopath who builds a house in Chicago where he murders people. He sometimes sell their
Peggy Hendrick
Nov 03, 2012 Peggy Hendrick rated it liked it
I borrowed this book from the library. I really wanted to read Erik Larson's "The Devil in the White City", but it wasn't available....Scarlet Mansion's was ok, a little (ok, a LOT) overlong..I don't think every swindle, fraud, murder he committed needed to be told in such detail as many of these people had little bearing on the book....Mudgett was a monster, plain and simple, and I think a better book could have been written by, say, Lincoln Child & Doug Preston, although they did have one ...more
Nov 24, 2011 Monte rated it it was amazing
A gruesome and twisted tale told in Eckert's masterful tone that brings history to life.

That the life of Holmes/ Mudgett was even more gory than told thanks to Eckert leaving out some of the episodes that were unnecessarily sensationalist episodes.

A terrific account of a serial killer and his ultimate undoing.
Dec 06, 2010 Angie rated it liked it
Shelves: historical, suspense
Creepy, graphic and scary! Just what you want a book about H.H. Holmes to be. Great research and depth of character.
Jul 25, 2012 Bj rated it it was amazing
One of the best mysteries of all times. Allan was a personal friend of mine; so I read almost everything he wrote.
Richard Schick
Feb 17, 2014 Richard Schick rated it really liked it
So many plot twists that if it were fiction we would criticize it for being unbelievable , yet it is based on and is true to the facts.
Michelle N
Michelle N rated it it was ok
Jan 30, 2015
Christine Monaco
Christine Monaco rated it it was amazing
Mar 04, 2010
Mir rated it it was amazing
Dec 12, 2007
Diana Smiley
Diana Smiley rated it really liked it
Oct 11, 2015
Daniel Jordan
Daniel Jordan rated it it was amazing
Sep 29, 2015
Sue rated it liked it
Jul 17, 2012
Rebecca rated it really liked it
Feb 01, 2016
Michelle Stuart
Michelle Stuart rated it really liked it
Jan 20, 2012
Don Duckett
Don Duckett rated it it was amazing
Jul 24, 2011
Shirley rated it it was amazing
Apr 24, 2012
Boris rated it liked it
Dec 05, 2010
Natasha Gromadin
Natasha Gromadin rated it it was ok
Dec 28, 2016
Kirsten rated it liked it
Feb 09, 2012
« previous 1 3 4 next »
There are no discussion topics on this book yet. Be the first to start one »
  • The Bonehunters' Revenge: Dinosaurs, Greed, and the Greatest Scientific Feud of the Gilded Age
  • The Gilded Dinosaur: The Fossil War Between E.D. Cope and O.C. Marsh and the Rise of American Science
  • The Haunting of L
  • Gildenford (Norman Quartet, #1)
  • The Fiend in Human
  • Wife to the Bastard
  • A Serial Killer in Nazi Berlin: The Chilling True Story of the S-Bahn Murderer
  • Prima Donna
  • Charlie Chan: The Untold Story of the Honorable Detective and His Rendezvous With American History
  • The Victorian Underworld
  • Stradivari's Genius: Five Violins, One Cello, and Three Centuries of Enduring Perfection
  • Lusitania: An Epic Tragedy
  • Disease: The Story of Disease and Mankind's Continuing Struggle Against It
  • The Altarpiece (The Cross and the Crown, #1)
  • The Perfect Prince: The Mystery of Perkin Warbeck and His Quest for the Throne of England
  • Weird N.J., Vol. 2: Your Travel Guide to New Jersey's Local Legends and Best Kept Secrets
  • Majestie: The King Behind the King James Bible
  • Tainted (A Dr. Zol Szabo Medical Mystery #1)
Allan W. Eckert was an American historian, historical novelist, and naturalist.

Eckert was born in Buffalo, New York, and raised in the Chicago, Illinois area, but had been a long-time resident of Bellefontaine, Ohio, near where he attended college. As a young man, he hitch-hiked around the United States, living off the land and learning about wildlife. He began writing about nature and American hi
More about Allan W. Eckert...

Share This Book