I had heard about the reputation of this novel, apparently a minor masterpiece waiting to be re-discovered, and having read it, I think much of the praise heaped on it by critics and readers is, by and large, justified.
It is not a novel, strictly a long short story as it only runs to one hundred and thirty pages of text; it deals with the discovery of a Stradivarius violin and how this affects the central character, John Maltravers.
The story is written in elegant, matter of fact prose which serves to heighten the supernatural happenings and the fact that the narrators are recalling events which occurred fifty years previously, also adds to the sense of a mysterious tale unfolding from the depths of the past.
However, 'The Lost Stradivarius' is not scary; it won't keep you awake at night. It is, however, unsettling and is really about a man's obsession and the power of music, for good as well as evil.
The story starts off excellently with lots of atmosphere, but does tail off slightly halfway through before recovering to reach its conclusion. Some readers may find the use of coincidences unconvincing, but for me they added to the story's texture rather than detracting from it.
There are aspects of 'The Lost Stradivarius' which reminded me of 'The Picture of Dorian Gray' and indeed of its author Oscar Wilde, which Tom Paulin, in his introduction to the Hesperus edition, makes apparent.
'The Lost Stradivarius' would make an excellent Radio 4 'Book at Bedtime' and the producers of that series have my permission to take me up on the idea.