John's Reviews > The Uninhabited House

The Uninhabited House by J.H. Riddell
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Jul 12, 2017

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Ever since her moneylender father committed suicide years ago, Helena and her wildly eccentric spinster aunt, Miss Bell, have lived largely off the proceeds of renting out the house he left them. The trouble -- as Miss Bell's solicitor, Mr. Craven, in charge of the lettings, knows all too well -- is that it's hard to find a tenant who'll live there the full period of the lease. The place appears to be haunted by the ghost of the old skinflint.

Mr. Craven's clerk (and our narrator), Harry Patterson, who has not uncoincidentally fallen in love with Helena, agrees to live in the house for a few months to see if he can get to the root of the problem.

What follows is part ghost story, part murder mystery. As a ghost story it's not terribly frightening and as a murder mystery it contains few surprises, but the whole is entertaining enough nonetheless. It took me a little while to get into Charlotte Riddell's writing style -- for the first chapter or more, there seemed as many commas in each sentence as in a tank of tadpoles, and to roughly similar (for me) visual effect -- but after a while either I became inured to them or Riddell's 1875 typesetter went on strike. Whatever the case, once I'd cleared that hurdle I found myself reading along happily. A neat little outing for a rainy day.
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Started Reading
July 12, 2017 – Shelved
July 12, 2017 – Finished Reading

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