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The Evil Guest

Joseph Sheridan Le Fanu

Book Overview: 

Le Fanu’s inimitable style continues with The Evil Guest, a murder mystery fraught with dark imagery and mysterious characters. An unwanted guest visiting a dreary and isolated home is murdered; the thriller leads the reader down countless ‘dead’ ends before revealing the identity of the guilty party.

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Book Excerpt: 
. . .friends, and never fail one another, of course, at a pinch. I take it for granted that I owe your presence at our interview which I am resolved shall be, as respects mademoiselle, a final one, to a message from that intriguing young lady—eh?"

"I have had no message, Richard," said Mrs. Marston; "I don't know—do tell me, for God's sake, what is all this about?" And as the poor lady thus spoke, her overwrought feelings found vent in a violent flood of tears.

"Yes, madame, that is the question. I have asked him frequently what is all this anger, all these reproaches about; what have I done?" interposed mademoiselle, with indignant vehemence, standing erect, and viewing Marston with a flashing eye and a flushed cheek. "Yes, I am called conspirator, meddler, intrigant. Ah, madame, it is intolerable."

"But what have I done, Richard?" urged the poor lady, stunned and bewildered; "how have I offended y. . . Read More

Community Reviews

This is the second book I have read that was written by this author, the other being the vampire-tale Carmilla, which I enjoyed. Sadly, this book much less interesting. What starts out looking like a somewhat interesting period-piece murder mystery turns into a slow, plodding story of a miserable ma

Le Fanu protests in the intro that this isn't a sensationalist novel--but it's hard to see where it isn't. A proto-muder mystery, very similar to Lady Audley's Secret. However, much more tightly written, and with a minimum amount of "o woe is me."

A good Gothic tale that keeps the reader guessing, strong at the start but fading away as the book progresses. The literary style and Le Fanu's wizardry with the English language make this a must read for all fanciers of 19th century horror.

Consider elegantly spun sentences such as: "And how soon,

A surprising read

I have long been a fan of Le Fanu's Gothic tales of horror so was expecting this to be in the same vein.

It isn't at all. The only monsters within this story are people. Any fear is due to the characters feelings of inadequacy, a hope of love that is never fulfilled and the betrayal

Somewhat difficult to follow at times but was an ok read. Short.

Best descriptive quote which takes you back to the title of the book....

"Had Ithuriel touched with his spear the beautiful young woman, thus for a moment, as it seemed, lost in a trance of gratitude and love, would that angelic form hav

Following up on the heels of Carmilla, this was not nearly as good. It's still interesting and I'm always a fan of books that take on the more psychological side of horror, but I fear its weaknesses were enough to downgrade a star.

Honestly, I think the biggest problem is that this piece is presented

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