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on 4 December 2008
Wordsworth Editions have done it again!
Another excellent volume at dirt cheap prices. And just because it's cheap does not mean a sub standard product. Far from it in fact.
"The Haunted Hotel & Other Stories" is a wonderful volume. Running to 317 pages this book is big enough to keep even the most avid reader quiet for some time.
The book contains 9 wonderful tales by Wilkie Collins. These are;
"The Haunted Hotel"
"The Dream Woman"
"Mrs Zant and The Ghost"
"A Terribly Strange Bed"
"Miss Jeromette and the Clergyman"
"The Dead Hand"
"Blow up with the Brig!"
"Nine O'Clock"
and
"The Devil's Spectacles".
All are marvelous tales and are the perfect antidote to those dark, boring evenings.
Buy two, one for yourself and one for the lover of ghostly tales. It'll fit perfectly in a Christmas stocking.
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on 3 January 2010
A marvellous collection of Victorian ghost stories by this masterful writer. Lacking the gore that many modern readers expect these stories are psychologically chilling and atmospheric. The title story is long enough to constitute a novella; the story ranges from London to Ireland and via Paris, to Venice. Collins is a writer 'on par' with Dickens.
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on 17 July 2017
Although the named novella takes up almost half the length of this volume, a further eight tales can be found between its covers, a number of which I found more satisfying than ‘The Haunted Hotel’ itself. This is not to say that I did not enjoy the latter, for I did, but it struck me as being less polished than some of the shorter works.

Whereas Collins is best known for his mystery novels ‘The Woman in White’ and ‘The Moonstone’, with the second title being widely hailed as the first detective novel written in English, he was also rated highly as a writer of ghost stories, and ‘The Haunted Hotel’ is, unsurprisingly, just such a story. However, the reader has to wait a long time before any form of ghostly manifestation materialises, with much of the novella reading more as a conventional mystery. Although I may be mistaken in taking this view, it struck me that Collins had, perhaps, originally intended his novella to be a full-length novel, but had grown tired of it, and thus decided to abridge it. Thus, the author appears to have employed the device of allowing one of his leading characters to divulge the hidden course of events by passing off his own unrealised notes in the form of notes for an as yet unwritten play. It left me feeling that it could have become something greater than it was.

It was, therefore, the short stories that I found most to my taste in this collection, particularly ‘The Dream Woman’, ‘A Terribly Strange Bed’, ‘Nine O’Clock!’, and ‘The Devil’s Spectacles’. Only the first of these four can be described as a true ghost story, although ‘Nine O’Clock!’ does feature a doppelganger and deathly prophecy.

‘The Dream Woman’ centres upon a premonitory haunting, in which the tale of an unfortunate ostler is recounted by his current employer – the landlord of an inn – to the narrator. It is an atmospheric classic, in which Collins builds an eerie tension that is sure to hook the attention of any lover of a good ghostly yarn. The concluding story in this collection – ‘The Devil’s Spectacles’ – is a supernatural oddity, and all the better for it. In this, the protagonist is gifted a pair of spectacles by the most unsavoury of characters, and the powers that they bestow upon the wearer prove to be of a suitably Mephistophelian nature; they are not what could be termed ‘rose tinted’. Still, this engaging morality tale possesses a somewhat mythic quality, as well as a devilish dose of humour, and is my joint favourite in this collection.

Overall, I would rate this book as 3.5 out of 5 if the choice were there, but as I found some of the tales a little overly melodramatic for my taste, I’ll award it a solid three. As this Wordsworth edition is so cheap, I’d recommend it to anyone who is interested in classic mysteries with a dash of the supernatural.
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VINE VOICEon 15 November 2010
This collection published by Wordsworth Editions includes the novella The Haunted Hotel and eight other short stories, all with a ghostly, spooky or supernatural theme.

Part ghost story and part gothic mystery, The Haunted Hotel begins in London but soon moves to Venice, an atmospheric setting complete with dark canals and ancient palaces. At the heart of the story is the mysterious Countess Narona, who marries Lord Montbarry after he breaks off his engagement to Agnes Lockwood. When Montbarry dies in Venice soon after insuring his life for ten thousand pounds, rumours abound that the Countess may have had something to do with his death.

While I enjoyed The Haunted Hotel, I wouldn't class it among Collins' best work and the shortness of the story means the characters aren't as well developed. I did love the second half of the story in which the palace where Montbarry died is converted into a hotel. There's a very creepy sequence of events where each member of the Montbarry family who stays in the hotel feels a ghostly influence that manifests itself in a different way to each person.

You can buy The Haunted Hotel on its own, but I recommend looking for this edition because the additional short stories are well worth reading too. In every story, Collins gradually builds the suspense and draws the reader into the story. One of my favourites was Miss Jeromette and the Clergyman, a short ghost story in which the ghostly happenings are accompanied by mysterious clouds of white fog. I loved the way even though the story was quite predictable, it was still a pageturner. Another favourite was A Terribly Strange Bed, an Edgar Allan Poe-like tale which creates a feeling of claustrophobia and terror as the narrator finds himself trapped in a room with a very unusual bed.

I don't generally like reading short story collections straight through from beginning to end, but I didn't have a problem with this book. There are only eight stories (plus The Haunted Hotel) and most of them are less than twenty pages long.
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on 29 September 2009
This is a great introduction to 19th century detective mystery novels. I've been in this genre for a few years now and only recently came upon these short stories. I use this book when I recommend Wilkie Collins to other, before bringing them to the longer 'Armadale' or ''No Name'.
I highly recommend this collection as an alternative to more recent historic novels, because these are more grounded in the era.
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on 3 August 2017
The Haunted hotel begins by boring the reader with an interminably long and boring preamble that sets the scene for an underwhelming 'butter won't melt in her mouth' versus 'wicked witch' finale.
Guaranteed cure for insomnia.
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on 20 December 2014
The Haunted Hotel & Other Stories is a wonderful volume of short stories by Wilkie Collins, who in my opinion is one of the best Victorian novelist but sadly often overlooked in favour of more popular authors like Dickens, Conan Doyle and Hardy.

In this collection, we're treated to the novella of the title plus eight other short stories - The Dream Woman; Mrs Zant and the Ghost; A Terribly Strange Bed; Miss Jeromette and the Clergyman; The Dead Hand; Blow Up with the Brig!; Nine o'Clock; and The Devil's Spectacles. Each one could certainly be accused of being formulaic, but the modern reader should remember the era in which these were written and the audience they were aimed at. For the times, they would have been shocking and quite unique and for that reason I really enjoyed reading them.

Although the title story is clearly meant to be the 'main event' of the collection, I have to say it wasn't my favourite. Had it have been a book similar in length to 'The Woman in White', I'm certain I would have thoroughly enjoyed it, but the length is what lets it down as there's no room or time to really develop the characters. As a result, the story feels rushed and the ending is bought to a very quick resolution, which would have benefitted instead from being a little longer with a bit more detail around the whys and wherefores.

The accolade for favourite tale definitely goes to 'A Terribly Strange Bed' and perhaps 'Blow Up with the Brig!'. Both are tense, atmospheric thrillers which really immerse you in the story, and see the main characters thrust into situations which put them in grave danger with no obvious signs of escape.

If you're looking to expand your reading knowledge of Collins or are looking to introduce yourself to his works, this really is a good place to start. All the stories are very well written and have a real authentic air of the era they were written in, which is something I personally love.
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VINE VOICEon 15 October 2011
This collection of supernatural tales begins with the novella of the title, The Haunted Hotel. Contrary to other reviewers, I didn't think much of it; all the characters appeared like caricatures of themselves, especially the Countess Narona, and her nemesis, Agnes Lockwood; the villainess is portrayed as too evil, her counterpart as too good and saintly to be wholly believable. I found the entire set-up too overblown, the dialogue too pompous (no doubt that the Victorians loved exactly the drama of it), and the climax in the hotel bordering on the ridiculous. I'm afraid I could never engage with any of the characters, and the inevitability of the plot unfolding left me cold. I'm surprised to see that it's regarded as such a classic.

I'm afraid the other short stories included in this anthology (The Dream Woman; Mrs Zant and the Ghost; Miss Jeromette and the Clergyman; Blow Up with the Brig!; Nine o'Clock; The Devil's Spectacles) aren't much to write home about either and follow pretty much the well-known formula, no surprises there or much room for characterisation. The two exceptions are the rightly famous A Terribly Strange Bed, and The Dead Hand. The Terribly Strange Bed must surely be one of Wilkie Collins' best-loved stories, rightly celebrated for its daring originality, and reminiscent of Edgar Allan Poe. The Dead Hand starts in a similar way, turning an innocuous and familiar situation on its head and infusing it with terror; unfortunately the whole story is then let down by one of these truly incredible coincidences that the Victorians seemed to have been so fond of.

One for collectors and connoisseurs of the genre.
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on 18 February 2014
I like the old style of writing with the excpetion of certain approahces.

Good story line and great fun to read.
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on 17 February 2014
It was a present for a friend for Xmas he loved it he can't keep nook down now. Would buy other books from author.
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