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Uncle Silas
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Archived Group Reads 2018 > Uncle Silas: Week 5: Chapter 54 to End

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message 1: by Renee, Moderator (new) - rated it 4 stars

Renee M | 1998 comments Mod
Posting early because I just finished and I’m scaring the neighbors.

1) Did anyone expect that gruesome murder?
2) For What reasons might Silas insist that his son use such a vicious tool?
3) What are your thoughts on the ending?
4) What elements were most satisfying? What most dissatisfying?
5) I’ve read that LeFanu did not consider this novel a sensation novel but a locked-room mystery. How would you classify it?


Rosemarie | 218 comments I thought this novel was much more of a sensation novel. The deceptions planned to get Maud out of the way were creepy and sinister. It was certainly a page turner.
I thought they would poison her, not drug her. Oh well, Madame got what was coming to her, but maybe it could have been less gruesome.


message 3: by Renee, Moderator (new) - rated it 4 stars

Renee M | 1998 comments Mod
I expected poison, too! Or smothering. But, yikes! Straight to skull smashing! It seemed out of character...

So I have to wonder why LeFanu was going for the shock factor.


Rosemarie | 218 comments I was disappointed that Silas died before he could be judged for his horrible crimes, but at least this way the family "name" wasn't besmirched.

I still can't get over Maud's father's ridiculous will, ridiculous in that he placed the family "name" above his daughter's health and happiness.


Nina Clare | 135 comments I was a bit puzzled by the ending - presumably, Dudley entered the room expecting to find Maud lying drugged, and thought it was her he had murdered in the dark? But would he not have expected Maud and Madame R there? Did he not wonder why there was only one person? did he think he had killed Maud? Perhaps I read it too quickly and missed something...?
Also very dissatisfied that Dudley got away with such a brutal crime.


Nina Clare | 135 comments Renee wrote: "I expected poison, too! Or smothering. But, yikes! Straight to skull smashing! It seemed out of character...

So I have to wonder why LeFanu was going for the shock factor."


I agree - a horrible way to kill someone! But I suppose it was foreshadowed by the equally gruesome death of Mr Charke.


message 7: by Renee, Moderator (new) - rated it 4 stars

Renee M | 1998 comments Mod
When she brought up the tray, Madame R said Maud would have the room to herself for the night. Silas told Madame R to apart, but not that the wine was drugged. She drank the wine because Maud (wisely) refused it.


Nina Clare | 135 comments Renee wrote: "When she brought up the tray, Madame R said Maud would have the room to herself for the night. Silas told Madame R to apart, but not that the wine was drugged. She drank the wine because Maud (wise..."

Ahh - I did read it too fast to notice that detail. I was racing to the end to find out what was going to happen! Thanks for clearing that up.


message 9: by Renee, Moderator (new) - rated it 4 stars

Renee M | 1998 comments Mod
From Dudley’s reaction it seems Silas told him that Maud would be killed instantly by the hammer & might know/suffer nothing if he crept in without waking her.

Personally, I suspect that Silas wanted to have something over his son & that’s why he went with something so brutal. That way, he could threaten him with exposure later if he got out of line again... And maybe as punishment for offering to take Maud away.


Rosemarie | 218 comments When Maud nursed Pegtop's daughter out of kindness, she gained a friend. This saved her life because she was warned not to drink anything they gave her, which saved her life.


message 11: by Nina (new) - rated it 3 stars

Nina Clare | 135 comments Rosemarie wrote: "When Maud nursed Pegtop's daughter out of kindness, she gained a friend. This saved her life because she was warned not to drink anything they gave her, which saved her life."

Yes - that was a nice touch, and I'm glad poor 'Beauty' got a happy ending after her life of abuse.


message 12: by Nina (new) - rated it 3 stars

Nina Clare | 135 comments Renee wrote: "From Dudley’s reaction it seems Silas told him that Maud would be killed instantly by the hammer & might know/suffer nothing if he crept in without waking her.

Personally, I suspect that Silas wa..."


And perhaps, had Maud's body been found during a future investigation, the marks of violence would preclude Silas from being the murderer. He would be judged too feeble to smash her skull, thus it was another part of his sinister scheme.


Laurene | 158 comments Renee, thank you for being the moderator for Uncle Silas! Although I did not participate that much to the discussion -- found myself reading ahead -- I would have never read this novel if it was not for this group.


message 14: by Renee, Moderator (new) - rated it 4 stars

Renee M | 1998 comments Mod
Im so glad you did! It was definitely a hard book to put down!


Rosemarie | 218 comments I enjoyed the book and the discussion. I am definitely going to read more of LeFanu's books.


message 16: by Nina (new) - rated it 3 stars

Nina Clare | 135 comments Laurene wrote: "Renee, thank you for being the moderator for Uncle Silas! Although I did not participate that much to the discussion -- found myself reading ahead -- I would have never read this novel if it was no..."

Same here on both counts - thanks to Renee for moderating, and I also would never have picked this book if it wasn't for the group read. It's still not my kind of book, (I'm too squeamish for gruesome murders!) but I did enjoy the suspense and atmosphere.


message 17: by Renee, Moderator (new) - rated it 4 stars

Renee M | 1998 comments Mod
The gruesome murder was a surprise for me, too. Although I don’t mind them if they add to the story. ... Here, I’m not sure that it did.

Glad to have had the opportunity to read with you. :)


Diane | 152 comments Rosemarie wrote: "...I still can't get over Maud's father's ridiculous will, ridiculous in that he placed the family "name" above his daughter's health and happiness."

I think that also asking her, when he was talking about Silas' disgrace, if there was any "honorable sacrifice she would shrink from to dispel the disgrace under which our most ancient and honorable name must otherwise languish?" was horrible. I think that was the main reason why she kept insisting on staying with Uncle Silas no matter.


Diane | 152 comments One expression that was fun was when Lord Ilbury and Milly were bantering at Maud's expense and he mentioned "Twenty-girl power!" It has such a 2018 ring to it.


message 20: by Renee, Moderator (new) - rated it 4 stars

Renee M | 1998 comments Mod
Yes, I agree he put a terrible burden on her. On the other hand, all Silas had to do was not kill her off. She wasn’t a financial burden; not demanding or difficult. In fact, she was quite the opposite on all counts. For me, Silas was a cross between an evil spider and a giant putz.


Rosemarie | 218 comments Don't forget drugfiend, Renee.


Diane | 152 comments Silas was horrible and it was unfortunate that his bother, Maud's father, could not see it. His blindness to his brother's true character came close to costing Maud her life.


message 23: by Renee, Moderator (new) - rated it 4 stars

Renee M | 1998 comments Mod
One of these days we should do a comparison read with The Woman in White and Uncle Silas. They’re very different, yet have so many similarities.


Rosemarie | 218 comments I can't remember the name of the creepy villain in Woman in White, but
I think Silas was much more evil because he wanted to kill his own niece.


Diane | 152 comments Rosemarie wrote: " I think Silas was much more evil because he wanted to kill his own niece."

And in such a brutal way.


message 26: by Renee, Moderator (new) - rated it 4 stars

Renee M | 1998 comments Mod
I was thinking the same thing!! I wanted to shake them both until their teeth rattled!


message 27: by Renee, Moderator (new) - rated it 4 stars

Renee M | 1998 comments Mod
Lucia wrote: "I regret I could not actively take part to the book discussion, but enjoyed both the book and  the comments, which I eagerly read. Many thanks to Renee for her valuable questions (on Silas's portra..."

Very kind. We are always glad to have you participate as much or as little as you can.


message 28: by Renee, Moderator (new) - rated it 4 stars

Renee M | 1998 comments Mod
Good point! I hadn’t thought about that, but, yes, it does seem that he is drawn to motion by the violence. How interesting!


Another similarity with WWIW is the carriage ride which ultimately brings the ladies right back to their incarceration.


message 29: by Renee, Moderator (new) - rated it 4 stars

Renee M | 1998 comments Mod
Agreed. Those two, in particular, make TWIW stand apart.


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