10/19/2015

Book Look - Guy Deverell, by Sheridan LeFanu


Le Fanu is better known for his gothic novels, but much like his contemporary, Wilkie Collins, he also penned stories of suspense and mystery. Guy Deverell is an example of the latter genre. Though the tale does include some elements of gothic horror (a wicked Baronet, a mouldering old manor house, a purported ghost), the tale itself is grounded firmly in the familiar tropes of Victorian fiction: a beautiful and virginal young heiress, her handsome and noble suitor, a slick foreigner who is Up To No Good, a proud old estate, a gentile house party featuring the de rigueur list of Victorian party guests (a bishop, a clergyman, a military general, a self-important roué, intolerable in-laws, and various unmarried ladies accompanied by chaperones), lawsuits, subterfuges, and a disputed inheritance.

Yes, anyone paying attention to the clues Le Fanu liberally sprinkles along the way is going to figure out the "big reveal" long before it is formally revealed. Happily, however, the book offers so many other delights - among these, Le Fanu's lovely use of language and his satirical portrayal of Victorian society - that this doesn't necessarily detract from the fun. For fun this is, in its Victorian way, from the novel's unusually well-drawn cast of characters (especially Sir Jekyl Marlowe, the novel's protagonist, an unapologetic and entirely entertaining rogue)to the sinister and pleasingly preposterous plot involving a duel, a mysterious death, love, lust, revenge, and an ominous "Green Chamber" housing some sort of malignant secret.

In summary, if you're a fan of Collins, Dickens or Austen, I predict you'll find plenty here to enjoy; and if you're not, Guy Deverell works as an entirely satisfying introduction to the venerable Victorian mystery/suspense genre.

10/08/2015

A Thousand Words - Attempted Murder


SOURCE: https://www.buzzfeed.com/virginmobilelive/20-moments-that-got-real-punny-5l87?sub=2137189_1057917&utm_term=.ldMyP4eQp#.fn35j1JLQ