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The Evil Guest by J. Sheridan Lefanu, Fiction, Horror
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The Evil Guest by J. Sheridan Lefanu, Fiction, Horror

3.15  ·  Rating details ·  257 Ratings  ·  25 Reviews
The family could hardly refuse him. But they would come to rue that letter, and the invitation that followed it; it was the beginning of the end for all of them. Of course it was! Common sense tells us not to take on . . . THE EVIL GUEST (Jacketless library hardcover.)
Hardcover, 160 pages
Published November 15th 2002 by Borgo Press (first published 1895)
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Oct 15, 2015 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
A dark tale of murder, secrets, manipulation and tragic fate with some intriguing and mysterious characters.
I randomly picked this audiobook on LibriVox thinking I'd play it in the background and listen with a distracted ear, but instead I quickly found myself completely captivated by the mystery. I ended up dropping what I was doing and listened to the whole thing in one sitting. :)

This was surprisingly good, it had tension and a few gruesome moments. I particularly enjoyed the elegant, gothic
DeAnna Knippling
Le Fanu protests in the intro that this isn't a sensationalist novel--but it's hard to see where it isn't. A proto-muder mystery, very similar to Lady Audley's Secret. However, much more tightly written, and with a minimum amount of "o woe is me."
Sep 11, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
A good Gothic tale that keeps the reader guessing, strong at the start but fading away as the book progresses. The literary style and Le Fanu's wizardry with the English language make this a must read for all fanciers of 19th century horror.

Consider elegantly spun sentences such as: "And how soon, my dear Richard, do you intend fixing his arrival?" she inquired, with the natural uneasiness of one upon whom, in an establishment whose pretensions considerably exceeded its resources, the perplexin
Marts  (Thinker)
Through labeled as a gothic read this definitely isn't, however it is a classic murder mystery which takes a bit long to get back to the plot's focus at times. All in all its a pretty ok classic read through...
Another great gothic mystery written by Sheridan Le Fanu.
Better to stick with Le Fanu's short stories, I think. This is beyond purple prose—D.H. Lawrence was over-the-top for my tastes, and this novel is even more labyrinthine. Grammatically, Le Fanu allows himself a brace of liberties that challenge even the diligent reader. Asides, parentheticals, supplementary insertions and incidentals all conspire to befuddle and occlude casual comprehension. It is not enough to describe an action: Le Fanu must also pack in the condition of the actor's hair, the ...more
Apr 14, 2015 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Following up on the heels of Carmilla, this was not nearly as good. It's still interesting and I'm always a fan of books that take on the more psychological side of horror, but I fear its weaknesses were enough to downgrade a star.

Honestly, I think the biggest problem is that this piece is presented as one long narrative. Carmilla was broken up into chapters, and even if the action in one chapter bled into the start of the next, it still had that break. Kind of like allowing the reader to breath
Aug 21, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
A surprising read

I have long been a fan of Le Fanu's Gothic tales of horror so was expecting this to be in the same vein.

It isn't at all. The only monsters within this story are people. Any fear is due to the characters feelings of inadequacy, a hope of love that is never fulfilled and the betrayal of one of the most loyal, yet burdended, players within the story.

At it's heart it is a mystery, a whodunnit, and the circumstances around one particular event. Information that is given to a characte
Somewhat difficult to follow at times but was an ok read. Short.

Best descriptive quote which takes you back to the title of the book....

"Had Ithuriel touched with his spear the beautiful young woman, thus for a moment, as it seemed, lost in a trance of gratitude and love, would that angelic form have stood the test unscathed? A spectator, marking the scene, might have observed a strange gleam in her eyes--a strange expression in her face--an influence for a moment not angelic, like a shadow of s
BJ Haun
This is the second book I have read that was written by this author, the other being the vampire-tale Carmilla, which I enjoyed. Sadly, this book much less interesting. What starts out looking like a somewhat interesting period-piece murder mystery turns into a slow, plodding story of a miserable man and his family. It just wasn't any fun to read, and I wouldn't really recommend it.
Aug 17, 2012 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: z-2012
This started off with a lot of promise of being a dark and deeply gothic murder mystery. Secrets were hinted at and there were tantalising glimpses at what had occurred in the Marston household. Disappointingly, the ending was neither mysterious nor particularly dark and far less exciting or satisfying than the possibilities I had entertained while reading.
The ending of thie book left me with more questions than the mystery through out the book. It wasn't worth the read. Stick to other gothic novels. Try The Scarlet Pimpernel. Much more entertaining and fewer questions left.
Slow to start, but I expected that based on the author's era. The story does pick up eventually, but it never quite makes it to a racing finish. For my first exposure to Le Fanu, I was disappointed in the story, but I will try another of his works. Perhaps I simply chose poorly for my first book.
Lara Galgani
Oct 31, 2016 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
I cannot see the point of this little story, there is no suspense, no horror, nothing. The title has no real meaning, lots of points are left unanswered and, even taking into account when it was written, the writing is dull.
Mar 04, 2011 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Oh, brother. Well, it was free on my Kindle.
Tabitha Ormiston-Smith
Wonderful gothic stuff.
Carla Remy
Sep 24, 2011 rated it liked it
Shelves: 19th-century-lit
Readable, gothic, funny overuse of adjectives (in the gothic fashion). But a pretty pointless, transparent plot.
A good story, but convoluted and hard to follow. Carmilla is much better.
Jan 17, 2011 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Another free Kindle book; I read it while in Tucson and will write a review after I enter all the books I read while there.
Ryan Mcintire

Disappointingly vapid psuedo-gothic tale with a flimsy premise.
Peter Steele
This just didn't seem to hold up through the years I had a hard time holding my interest with it.

I'll try "Carmilla". That may work better
Feb 18, 2012 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: audio-books
I didn't think it was as good as Carmilla, and it was largely interesting to me as a historical document.
mansions, french governesses, visitors and death. oh yeah, this is a le fanu book
Emily Ryley
rated it it was ok
Sep 23, 2015
Jack Kelleher
rated it really liked it
Jan 24, 2014
rated it did not like it
Feb 16, 2010
James Christman
rated it did not like it
Apr 09, 2015
Melissa Mccoul
rated it really liked it
Jan 04, 2018
Chuck Gass
rated it liked it
Jul 21, 2015
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Joseph Thomas Sheridan Le Fanu (28 August 1814 – 7 February 1873) was an Irish writer of Gothic tales and mystery novels. He was the leading ghost-story writer of the nineteenth century and was central to the development of the genre in the Victorian era. M.R. James described Le Fanu as "absolutely in the first rank as a writer of ghost stories". Three of his best-known works are Uncle Silas, Carm ...more
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