The Haunted Hotel – Wilkie Collins

For those of you that have read Wilkie Collins’ The Haunted Hotel and loved it, I have a word of warning – despite my best efforts, I have not finished the book, nor do I intend to. Before, I go any further, let it be known I tried. Hard. Really, really hard, to get past the first 100 or so pages. Alas, it was not to be.

From what I can gather from my own reading and other reviews of Collins’ novel, the narrative concerns the Palace Hotel in Venice, where the inhabitants are haunted by the ghost of Lord Montberry…or so it seems. Embroiled in the mystery surrounding Montberry’s death is his wife the Countess Narona and her brother, whose paths seem to continually cross that of Agnes Lockwood, the former fiancée of Montberry himself.

So far so good. But what was a promising start to the novel, a woman desperate to learn whether she is going mad or not, becomes increasingly stilted, long-winded and uninteresting. The intrigue that Collins establishes within the first chapter soon loses momentum, and sadly never picks up again (or at least it didn’t so far as I read)…

In fairness to Collins however, perhaps it should be mentioned that other readers found the novel a quick and interesting read. Even so, I’m in no way compelled to continue in my efforts – the characters were entirely unremarkable, the plot ambling, and the style of writing far from gripping.

For anyone who thoroughly disagrees with my sentiments, feel free to convince me otherwise – who knows I might even be tempted to give The Haunted Hotel a second chance…


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