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Uncle Silas

Joseph Sheridan Le Fanu

Book Overview: 

Uncle Silas is a Victorian Gothic mystery/thriller novel by the Anglo-Irish writer J. Sheridan Le Fanu. It is notable as one of the earliest examples of the locked room mystery subgenre. It is not a novel of the supernatural (despite a few creepily ambiguous touches), but does show a strong interest in the occult and in the ideas of Swedenborg. (Summary by Wikipedia)

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Book Excerpt: 
. . .Very pink and white cheeks she had, very black glossy hair and bright eyes—fat, bold, and rather cross, she looked—and in her bold way she examined us curiously as we passed.

I mistook the situation. It had once happened before that an intending visitor at Knowl had entered the place by that park-road, and lost several hours in a vain search for the house.

'Ask him, Madame, whether they want to go to the house; I dare say they have missed their way,' whispered I.

'Eh bien, they will find again. I do not choose to talk to post-boys; allons!'

But I asked the man as we passed, 'Do you want to reach the house?'

By this time he was at the horses' heads, buckling the harness.

'Noa,' he said in a surly tone, smiling oddly on the winkers, but, recollecting his politeness, he added, 'Noa, thankee, misses, it's what they calls a picnic; we'll be takin' the road now.'

He was smiling now on a little buckle . . . Read More

Community Reviews

This is the most frightening book I have ever read. Before I picked this up, I had read some of Le Fanu's short fiction, the ghost stories based on Irish legends, and, of course, CARMILLA. This book, however, is horrifying. Too often, writers and directors of horror regie solely on blood and gore...more

Uncle Silas isn’t a great novel, but it does exactly what it sets out to do. It is an effective “novel of sensation” in the tradition of The Woman in White, presenting us with a likable heroine in increasingly perilous situations, leading to a hair-raising—and extremely well-executed—climax.

Ther...more

Rating Clarification: 3.5 Stars

I'm happy to report that Uncle Silas has made the cut of classic gothic literature that I've read (and even more important- enjoyed ). Although I'll never have the intellectual reading prowess to make a sustained diet of 19th century literature, I've tried over the...more

I wanted to give this book five stars but I just couldn’t do it. According to my rating system, a five star book is one of the best I have ever read. Uncle Silas is not. Don’t let this mislead you. This book had one of creepiest and most sinister plots in all of Victorian literature but it someho...more

7/5 stars~~~~~~~
This book.........
This is one of my ALL TIME FAVORITES RIGHT HERE!!!
There was so much depth and darkness to this book, but it also had so much joy and it was funny! I found my self laughing outloud tons of times!
Then again, this book is TERRIFYING. I was so freaked out while I wa...more

I decided to reread this book a few weeks ago when someone online was asking about a Victorian mystery and this one popped into my head. Well, there's that, plus the fact that many months ago, I'd bought a dvd of the old BBC adaptation of Uncle Silas called "The Dark Angel" and really wanted to...more

I had such high expectations for this old classic that seemed almost impossible to get my hands on. My idea of a “cozy mystery” is a Gothic/Victorian Era mystery so when this finally became available to me I was thrilled to read it. I loved the sound of the premise: After the death of her father,...more

4.5 stars - this was just awesome Victorian fun. Lots of twists and turns. Very atmospheric. I listened to the audio narrated by BJ Harrison. He did a great job. For the first hour or so I had a hard time with a male narrator since the MC, Maud is a young girl but he did the other voices so well...more

Are Gothic novels respectable? Let's talk about it. Would this be a good time to sit backwards on my chair? Fuck yes it would, Let's Get Real. I recently read Anthony Trollope's landmark Serious Novel The Way We Live Now, from around the same time to (1875 to Silas's 1864), so let's use that one...more

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