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The Haunted Hotel: A Mystery of Modern Venice

3.48  ·  Rating details ·  5,241 ratings  ·  552 reviews
Is there no explanation of the mystery of The Haunted Hotel? Is The Haunted Hotel the tale of a haunting -- or the tale of a crime? The ghost of Lord Montberry haunts the Palace Hotel in Venice --- or does it? Montberry's beautiful-yet-terrifying wife, the Countess Narona, and her erstwhile brother are the center of the terror that fills the Palace Hotel. Are their malefac ...more
Hardcover, 228 pages
Published May 1st 2002 by Borgo Press (first published 1879)
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Faranae It is in the Public Domain. You can also download it for free from Project Gutenberg or get an audiobook of it for free from Librivox.

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Average rating 3.48  · 
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 ·  5,241 ratings  ·  552 reviews

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Wendy Darling
Intriguing opening chapters (view spoiler) dreadfully dull middle, and suspenseful and exciting horror towards the end. In some ways the writing feels very dated, in others, it still manages to shock and titillate.

I really like Serial Reader, though! It's a new free app that delivers a new "issue," or section of a classic, to
Amy | littledevonnook
Apr 15, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: classics
This is my third Wilkie Collins novel and I loved it just as much as the other two.

We follow the story of a family who have been told of their relative's death whilst on his honeymoon in Italy. None of them want to believe the letters confirming his death and they all begin to feel rather suspicious of his new wife; especially as rumours are spread around London regarding her past. They decide to set out to Italy themselves to uncover the mystery behind his death. On reaching the hotel each fami
Ehhhhhhhhh not sure about this one!

Very slow on the suspense and intrigue and creepiness, but I was definitely suckered in by the foreshadowing. Absolutely fascinating characters, and I quite enjoyed the way the Countess was introduced, as it garnered instant sympathy for her and her troubled spirit.

Agnes was pretty bland, considering how much hinged on her, but it was balanced by the enigmatic Henry through his devotion to her.

The characters were all introduced in different contexts which reall
ᴥ Irena ᴥ
The last chapters transform this story from decent to pretty good. The title promises ghosts, but the way that is handled is subtle and never in your face. The supernatural element is there, but it never gets the attention you'd expect in a story like this.
I found some of the characters beyond annoying though.

The Haunted House is also a murder mystery. You are left questioning what you've read in the end.
Rebecca McNutt
This is an excellent anthology from a gifted writer, with stories of the supernatural, but also stories of those perceptive enough to understand it.
Aug 22, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Charming short novel by dear Wilkie Collins, full of drama, mystery, ghost story, social critique and good humour. Great page-turner with lovely language and very carefully structured to satisfy the reader with a well-deserved climactic ending. I absolutely love Collins for his ability to combine styles, themes and techniques in his books and cannot get enough of his excellent, very enjoyable writing.
 Danielle The Book Huntress (Back to the Books)
I liked this story. It was multifaceted in that it was not just a haunted house story, but also a murder mystery. Collins builds the suspense and the feeling of curiosity that keeps the reader engaged. I found the writing to be far from dated. The language was not antiquated, but felt almost modern in some ways. The print for my copy is rather small, and that's the only reason I didn't read it faster. Yesterday, I kept saying, I'll read to this point, and to that point, before I knew it, it was ...more
Jul 09, 2015 rated it liked it
Really 2 and 1/2 stars. This felt more like an outline of a novel, as the characters were not well-developed nor very interesting. The two main female characters (Agnes and The Countess) were pretty annoying at times. There was a big "info dump" at the end that seemed like lazy writing on the author's part. Not as well-written as some of the author's earlier books, and not as much fun to read. Don't start with this book, if you are new to Wilkie Collins. He does write some good novels - this boo ...more
The Haunted Hotel is a short ghost story/mystery concerning the death of Lord Montbarry and the strange occurrences that happen at his palace of residence in Venice which is converted into a hotel after his death. This novella skips a lot of the description and detail that is found in his longer and more famous works. Therefore, the story does seem to be rushed and summarized. However, this is good place to start if you want something a little more fast paced and want to get familiar with Collin ...more
Natalie Richards
Jun 13, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: owned-book
Classic Wilkie Collins; thoroughly readable and enjoyable.
David Sarkies
Aug 09, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: mystery
Another Wilkie Mystery
17 August 2018

For some reason, ever since I read The Moonstone at book club I have been somewhat drawn towards works by Wilkie Collins. Maybe it has something to do with him being a lesser known 19th Century British writer, lesser known in the sense that I had never heard of him until they decided to read him. Okay, he has been credited with writing the first detective novel, the aforementioned Moonstone, but this book also seems to come across as a mystery as well.

3.5 Stars

*An atmospheric classic horror story with a great beginning and end, but an notably dull middle*

I have been meaning to read Wilkie Collins for years. More years than I care to admit. But The Woman in White and The Moonstone are a bit intimidating. So when I came across this novella, I thought it would be a good place to start.

The Haunted Hotel opens with a dramatic start: A woman pleading with a doctor to answer if she is evil or insane. The story has some fantastic elements in it:
Well it wasn't to bad but it wasn't good
James McCormick
Aug 08, 2018 rated it it was ok
After reading Wilkie Collins’ The Moonstone I was disappointed overall with the Haunted Hotel. It really isn’t in the same class. The start is gripping enough and compelling enough to keep you reading. In fact, Countess Narona (pale skinned and dark haired) who we meet from the start is probably the most interesting character in the story. I expected (and wanted) Gothic melodrama and theatrical dialogue so this in itself wasn’t a problem. Rather it seemed that as a story it just doesn’t hold tog ...more
This review contains a major spoiler.

3.5 stars. Published almost 20 years after The Woman in White, they were similar in certain aspects, especially switching identities of deceased people. Although entertaining, it is nowhere close to being as good as his earlier classic. But I like the writing style of Collins and I have many more of his books to look forward to.
Oct 21, 2018 rated it liked it
I wanted to like this so much more than I did.
On the plus side I liked most of the characters (outlines) and the story was good but we were lacking a bit of atmosphere and I didn't feel Venice at all.
And there could have been more character development - I only really felt the Countess and Henry.
It's worth a read but it is low on horror and is told slowly!
Apr 16, 2020 rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: Lover's of ghost/light horror stories from Victorian England.
1878 - (Sometimes I'm convinced everyone in London made it through the Victorian era of severe inhibitions with a very wide assortment of drugs. Things settled down around 1900 and the drug usage moved to Paris. And perhaps Vienna, thus explaining Freud, Klimt, and Mahler, imo.)
From 2012 to 2013 I wrote a screenplay set in America and in Venice. I needed a "BIG SECRET" as to why a certain family could not leave their fabulous, ancient palace. I was aware of the prison in
Jun 12, 2007 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Dickens fans
Shelves: classics, horror, 2007
Wilkie Collins, a close friend of Charles Dickens, is best known for his novels The Woman in White and The Moonstone, and The Haunted Hotel is very similar in its tone and atmosphere. The Countess Narona steals away Lord Montbarry from Abby Lockwood. Despite Abby's forgiving nature, the Countess is convinced that Abby has doomed her to a tragic ending. When Montbarry dies and his courier disappears, Montbarry's family slowly unravels the mystery that is left behind.

Collins has a tendency to cons
Apr 21, 2009 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
The first Wilkie Collins book I read was The Woman In White, which is excellent and I would heartily recommend. Since then I have always been somewhat disappointed by him. The Moonstone - thanks to a ludicrous denoument - disappoints, while Armadle is a mess.

As such I approached this short novel with a sense of mild trepidation, but this is actually a strong tale. A mysterious European countess marries an English Lord who dies shortly afterwards, the ramifications affect his entire family.

Renee M
Jan 09, 2015 rated it liked it
Good, Ghostly, Grisly, Melodrama filled with plenty of paranormal activity, a little romance, and a ghoulishly entertaining mystery. Delightfully diverting!
Onaiza Khan
Mar 24, 2015 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
It's a great story, liked it
The only acceptable story of a haunted hotel is the Disney classic Tower of Terror, don't @ Me.

I had nightmares for DAYS.
May 17, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
A Collins novel that's deservedly among his lesser-known pieces yet is still thoroughly entertaining, this combines mystery with the supernatural to generally good effect.

All London is aghast when the highly eligible Herbert John Westwick, First Baron Montbarry, chooses to dump his long-time fiancee, the sweet Agnes Lockwood, and marry the Countess Narona, a continental of dubious reputation. Off the couple go on honeymoon, accompanied by Baron Rivar, supposedly her brother but, according to sca
Oct 07, 2012 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: mystery
As with many other Wilkie Collins novels, The Haunted Hotel has elements of fate, romance, danger, deception, murder and mystery. The story begins with Lord Montbarry breaking off his engagement to Anges Lockwood. Countess Narona, who will marry Lord Montbarry, comes to see a doctor to evaluate her sanity. The Countess seems to be under a good deal of stress about this marriage, as she was unaware Montbarry had already been engaged. There is an aura of fatalism about the Countess, as she feels a ...more
Mar 15, 2016 rated it really liked it
Nice mystery, revolving around a neat twist. Collins isn't as profuse in his writing as his friend, Dickens, thankfully, and the story zips along at a fair (if occasionally improbable) pace. On the other hand, his characters aren't as vivid as Dickens' either. There's no one much who stands out in the book as a strong character, though at least the young women have some personal strength compared to the overly romanticised heroines Dickens often produced.

Anyway the book isn't really about chara
Jul 05, 2012 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This was a fun read!
Written around the late 1870's, it's a mysterious tale with a hint of the supernatural.
The story is woven around around both the old and the young between the cities of London and Venice. Mr. Collins keeps the pace moving by revealing small pieces of the mystery at a time and then reeling the reader in with them.
I thought that this tale would lean more towards the supernatural side, but the mystery was well conceived and told and I enjoyed myself anyway.
Evelina | AvalinahsBooks
This is quite weak and mediocre for Wilkie Collins, but nobody can write only masterpieces I suppose. It wasn't bad and it was generally enjoyable, although a little dragged and boring at times. It has more of that 'weekly column in a newspaper' feel than a real book (which was very likely the case of its first being published as well).
It's a pretty average murder mystery but the use of humour and the various characters make this old tale still enjoyable to read. The "horror" bit is a bit weird but I guess that was the level of ghoulishness permitted in writing at the time.
May 29, 2014 rated it really liked it
The Haunted Hotel is a mystery in the typical Collins style I’ve come to love, but unlike the novels I’ve read prior to this one this one was over in a flash and contains supernatural events.
On a mere 200-something pages I was swept through madness, fate, coincidence, conspiracy, superstition, love, and dark secrets.
Because of the uncustomary length of the novel it did not hold the same level of intrigue and intricacies, neither was the depth of the characters as profound as I have grown used t
Jun 04, 2010 rated it it was amazing
Published in 1878. A fascinating mix of mystery fiction and the gothic, nicely ambiguous and very atmospheric.
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A close friend of Charles Dickens from their meeting in March 1851 until Dickens' death in June 1870, William Wilkie Collins was one of the best known, best loved, and, for a time, best paid of Victorian fiction writers. But after his death, his reputation declined as Dickens' bloomed.

Now, Collins is being given more critical and popular attention than he has received for 50 years. Most of his bo

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