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The Suicide Club (Dover Thrift Editions) Paperback – 1 Dec 2000

4.0 out of 5 stars 2 customer reviews

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Product details

  • Paperback: 64 pages
  • Publisher: Dover Publications Inc.; Unabridged edition (1 Dec. 2000)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0486414167
  • ISBN-13: 978-0486414164
  • Product Dimensions: 13.3 x 0.4 x 21 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 532,363 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Product Description

About the Author

Novelist, poet, and travel writer, Robert Louis Stevenson (1850-1894) wrote captivating tales for readers of all ages, including Treasure Island, Kidnapped, and The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde.


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Format: Paperback
The Suicide Club is a really eye-catching title; once I saw Robert Louis Stevenson's name attached to it, I wasted little time in taking this little book home with me. I must say it's also rather striking to see a book of only 59 pages bearing a note that it is unabridged. Obviously, it's something of a short read, but it's also an enjoyable one. This is far from Stevenson's best-known work, but it's no secret that the author was a master storyteller.
The book consists of three interrelated short stories built around a most unusual prince and an even more unusual "social club." Prince Florizel of Bohemia indulges his thirst for adventure by undertaking all manner of secret excursions in disguise, aided always by his friend and Master of the Horse, Colonel Geraldine. While in London, one such late-night adventure leads them to the doors of The Suicide Club. This secret club serves an unusual purpose - it's essentially an assisted-suicide service. Suicide is a messy business - a lot of desperate men just can't bring themselves to take their own lives, and most also do not wish to cause a scandal among the friends and families they leave behind. For a fee, The Suicide Club arranges for the "accidental" deaths of its members. The luck of the draw determines who will die - and who will do the killing - on any given night. Anxious to put an end to such a barbaric society, Prince Florizel sets out to bring the murderous president of the club to justice, thereby setting the stage for the following two stories.
"Story of the Physician and the Saratoga Trunk" finds a young American in France deceived by intrigues and seemingly framed for murder as he finds a dead body in his bed.
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By reader 451 TOP 1000 REVIEWER on 19 Nov. 2012
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
In three short stories that combine to form a novella, the prince of Bohemia battles the master of the suicide club, an evil soul who profits by the deathwish of others. Delightfully full of the clichés of the era and gently thrilling.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)

Amazon.com: HASH(0x919cb93c) out of 5 stars 15 reviews
13 of 13 people found the following review helpful
HASH(0x917e739c) out of 5 stars Welcome to London's most unusual social club 4 Jun. 2005
By Daniel Jolley - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback
The Suicide Club is a really eye-catching title; once I saw Robert Louis Stevenson's name attached to it, I wasted little time in taking this little book home with me. I must say it's also rather striking to see a book of only 59 pages bearing a note that it is unabridged. Obviously, it's something of a short read, but it's also an enjoyable one. This is far from Stevenson's best-known work, but it's no secret that the author was a master storyteller.

The book consists of three interrelated short stories built around a most unusual prince and an even more unusual "social club." Prince Florizel of Bohemia indulges his thirst for adventure by undertaking all manner of secret excursions in disguise, aided always by his friend and Master of the Horse, Colonel Geraldine. While in London, one such late-night adventure leads them to the doors of The Suicide Club. This secret club serves an unusual purpose - it's essentially an assisted-suicide service. Suicide is a messy business - a lot of desperate men just can't bring themselves to take their own lives, and most also do not wish to cause a scandal among the friends and families they leave behind. For a fee, The Suicide Club arranges for the "accidental" deaths of its members. The luck of the draw determines who will die - and who will do the killing - on any given night. Anxious to put an end to such a barbaric society, Prince Florizel sets out to bring the murderous president of the club to justice, thereby setting the stage for the following two stories.

"Story of the Physician and the Saratoga Trunk" finds a young American in France deceived by intrigues and seemingly framed for murder as he finds a dead body in his bed. A mysterious doctor in the next room engineers a plan for the innocent young man to avoid an undeserved fate - this is where the Saratoga trunk comes in, as it's the perfect size for hiding a corpse. The young man and his luggage are able to exit the country in the company of Prince Florizel, but there is more than one surprise in store for the prince when he learns what his new friend is secretly transporting. It is nothing less than a most disturbing calling card from Florizel's enemy, the former president of The Suicide Club.

"The Adventure of the Hansom Cab" brings the saga to a close. A young war hero just back from India finds himself selected in a most unusual manner for a secretive mission, one which culminates in a final confrontation between Prince Florizel and the president of The Suicide Club.

The book gets less exciting as you progress through the second and third stories, but the opening "Story of the Young Man with the Cream Tarts" is a great read. The atmosphere inside The Suicide Club is palpable, from the Prince's initiation to the strained jocularity of the nervous society members to the tension of the high stakes card games designed to close out each evening's activities. It's a great concept, but the power of the original inspiration is lost somewhat as the two successive stories wander rather far afield before being directed back toward Prince Florizel and his campaign against The Suicide Club in the end.
7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
HASH(0x917e73f0) out of 5 stars Imaginative, Ghastly Premise - But the Sequels Prove Unexceptional 1 Oct. 2006
By Michael Wischmeyer - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback
In 1882 Robert Louis Stevenson published The New Arabian Nights, a collection of his short stories that included The Suicide Club, itself comprised of three, loosely connected stories: The Story of the Young Man with the Cream Tarts, Story of the Physician and the Saratoga Trunk, and The Adventures of the Hansom Cab. These three tales are found unabridged in this Dover edition (2000) reprint, The Suicide Club.

The Suicide Club is based on an imaginative, ghastly premise, a secret club dedicated to facilitating the suicide of its own members. In the first tale, The Story of the Young Man with the Cream Tarts, Stevenson not only fully develops this macabre concept, but also introduces his two protagonists, Prince Florizel of Bohemia and his personal aide, Colonel Geraldine, that play key roles in these three stories as well as in later stories.

Unfortunately, although the two sequels, Story of the Physician and the Saratoga Trunk, and The Adventures of the Hansom Cab, initially are suspenseful, the endings seemingly fizzle out, and neither story quite achieves its promise. Nonetheless, these three stories in combination still rate 3.5 to 4 stars and will appeal to fans of Robert Louis Stevenson.

Point of interest: The film, The Suicide Club, was released in 2000; Roger Corman was the producer, Rachel Samuels was director, and the actors include Jonathan Pryce, David Morrissey, Paul Bettany, and Catherine Siggins (in the film version there is a female member of the exclusive suicide club). This film was also marketed under the title The Game of Death.
5 of 6 people found the following review helpful
HASH(0x917e7828) out of 5 stars Intriguing Premise Falls Flat 10 Feb. 2005
By RCM - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback
From the description given on the back of the book, one would expect "The Suicide Club" to be a stalwart mystery, full of heart-pounding drama and shocking twists. And perhaps in its day it was just such a mystery. However, as intriguing as the premise is, the stories fall far short of expectation.

"The Suicide Club" is a collection of three short stories. The first story is by far the strongest. There is a thin strand of connection between all three stories that remains uncovered until the end of each piece. In the first story, Prince Florizel of Bohemia and his companion, disguise themselves and attend a party of men who wish to end their lives. In what is termed a 'suicide club' men are dealt cards - with certain cards signifying roles that they are destined to play. Each night two men are chosen - as executioner and the one to be executed in a proscribed manner. Prince Florizel is sickened at this discovery and vows to hunt down the president of the club to exact his vengeance, hence the two succeeding stories.

Robert Louis Stevenson begins with an interesting story idea, but the succeeding two stories subtract more than they add. If he had developed the first story in a different direction, "The Suicide Club" might hold the readers' interest for the entire book. Although a quick read, the last two stories drag through contrivances that are too far-flung to successfully complete the story.
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
HASH(0x917e7bf4) out of 5 stars The Suicide Club 4 Feb. 2005
By JMack - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback
I became interested in these stories when I read in a Charlie Chaplin biography by David Robinson that Chaplin considered making a movie of the story. To be honest, I am not certain if I could picture a movie version of "The Suicide Club". Since I could not picture the Chaplin character in any role in the book, I am glad he chose not to pursue the project.

"The Suicide Club" deals with the adventures of Prince Florizel and Colonel Geraldine. While incognito, they discover a suicide club. Each night at the club a member is randomly chosen as an executioner and another as a killer. After the prince is nearly executed, the story goes in strange directions. The main characters only make a brief appearance in the second story/chapter to transfer a mysterious body that turns up in a character's bed. The dead man turns out to be Colonel Geraldine's brother. The third chapter/story shows the prince and colonel to be exacting revenge on the president of the Suicide Club in a duel that is arranged through odd circumstances.

With the interesting story that introduces the book, my attention was peaked. The Suicide Club in itself is an interesting concept. After the suicide club is dissolved, the rest of the story tails off disappointingly.
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
HASH(0x917e7cd8) out of 5 stars Par but not his best 4 April 2005
By Blusuede - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback
RLS is a fabulous writer. These stories are not necessarily his best but they give a flavor of his obsessions with the dark side of the puritanical Victorian soul. He catalogues the trials of men in demanding circumstances, often self-imposed, with a 19th century sensibility that oozes subversion. He winks at us with glittering language.
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