CHARACTERS The Beetle 107

The Beetle

CHARACTERS The Beetle

Perspectives of multiple characters a techniue used in many late nineteenth century novels those of Wilkie Collins and Stoker for example to create suspenseRichard Marsh was the pseudonym of the British author born Richard Bernard HeldmannThe title character is Mary Louise Burrows In the first books of the series she is a fifteen year old girl with unusual maturity though the other girls in her boarding school find her somewhat priggish She is suddenly confront mainly i enjoyed the clear voicewriting of March it was nice to put aside for a moment contemporary thrillers and dive into end of 19th century victorian London with it fears alleys dreams of empire beside being an early horror or pulp horror i found interesting that March had a point relevant to nowadays in a way colonialism brought on itself its own destruction The beetle comes from Egypt after plundering a grave fun read Carlitos Way in many late nineteenth century novels those of Wilkie Collins and Stoker for example to create suspenseRichard Marsh was the pseudonym of the British author born Richard Bernard HeldmannThe title character Pray! Pray! Pray! is Mary Louise Burrows In the first books of the series she Killer Cat is a fifteen year old girl with unusual maturity though the other girls 14 Sai (14æ­³, in her boarding school find her somewhat priggish She Public Speaking is suddenly confront mainly False Prophet (Peter Decker/Rina Lazarus, i enjoyed the clear voicewriting of March A Forfeit Owed (Eldritch Legacy, it was nice to put aside for a moment contemporary thrillers and dive The Book of Hebrews into end of 19th century victorian London with Daughter Of Vanth it fears alleys dreams of empire beside being an early horror or pulp horror The Red Duke i found Love Notes (Love Notes, interesting that March had a point relevant to nowadays Hearts in Atlantis/Misery in a way colonialism brought on Smallpox Strikes! (The American Adventure, itself Good Vibrations its own destruction The beetle comes from Egypt after plundering a grave fun read

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Ed with the fact that her beloved grandfather is suspected of no less a crime than treason against the United States With the help of old and new friends of Mary Louise the truth is uncovered The novel features a federal agent named John O’Gorman; he is assisted by his daughter Josie a young woman he has himself trained to function as an investigator The Josie O’Gorman character despite preceding Nancy Drew by than a decade is much less traditionally femini The Beetle was published in the same year as Bram Stoker's Dracula 1897 and there are many aspects of the two gothic novels that are similar the multiple narrators the exotic and mysterious supernatural threat the remarkable sense of place The Beetle initially was the popular novel and I can appreciate its appeal It's got a little bit of everything sensational from orgies shape shifters and human sacrifice to cross dressing hypnotized victims Isis worship and dead bodies in disreputable hotels In the end it did not uite compare with Dracula for me and the fault perhaps lies mostly with its characters who overall were less sympathetic and well formed The pacing also seemed uneven at times Despite these uibbles this is a must read for lovers and students of the gothic especially those who have already read and enjoyed its contemporaries such as Dracula and George du Maurier's Trilby 1894 both of which I recommend

Richard Marsh ¾ 7 CHARACTERS

A story about a mysterious oriental figure who pursues a British politician to London where he wreaks havoc with his powers of hypnosis and shape shifting Marsh’s novel is of a piece with other sensational turn of the century fictions such as Stoker’s Dracula George du Maurier’s Trilby and Sax Rohmer’s Fu Manchu novels Like Dracula and many of the sensation novels pioneered by Wilkie Collins and others in the 1860s The Beetle is narrated from the A face looked into mine and in front of me were those dreadful eyes Then whether I was dead or living I said to myself that this could be nothing human nothing fashioned in God's image could wear such a shape as that Fingers were pressed into my cheeks they were thrust into my mouth they touched my staring eyes shut my eyelids then opened them again and horror of horrors the blubber lips were pressed to mine the soul of something evil entered into me in the guise of a kiss OMG those LIPS those EYES The Beetle was published in 1897 the same year as the Bram Stoker's classic book Dracula Initially The Beetle outsold Dracula but as word got around the Stoker book became the hit of the season I pulled up a time line to see what else of significance happened in 1897 and the one interesting literary tidbit that jumped out at me was it was the year that Marcel Proust fought a pistol duel with Jean Lorrain What I know about Proust it seems so improbable but there you have it mentioned on a history timeline I'm sure the Proustians among us can confirm or deny the validity of that occurrence The story is told by four narrators The first by Robert Holt a man who has fallen on hard times Caught in a downpour he sees an open window and in a moment of desperation to secure shelter from the drumming on his head he enters the house He finds a creature there that goes way beyond his imagination to comprehend He is stripped naked mounted fondled and kissed most vile He is mesmerized and turned into aZOMBIE Poor Robert Holt a man no longer worried about the weatherThe second narrator is Sydney Atherton a brilliant scientist in love with Majorie Lindon but who should be in love with Dora Grayling Don't worry as the story progresses the women get him straightened out on this fact He is drawn into the action of this story by his association with Lindon and importantly by her association with Paul Lessingham He sees a transformation that tests the bounds of what he believes to be true of the natural world The light was full on so that it was difficult to suppose that I could make a mistake as to what took place in front of me As he replied to my mocking allusion to the beetle by echoing my own words he vanished or rather I saw him taking a different shape before my eyes His loose draperies all fell off him and as they were in the very act of falling there issued or there seemed to issue out of them a monstrous creature of the beetle type the man himself was gone On the point of size I wish ot make myself clear My impersion when I saw it first was that it was as large as the man had been and that it was in some way standing up on end the legs towards me But the moment it came in view it began to dwindle and that so rapidly that in a couple o seconds at most a little heap of drapery was lying on the floor on which was a truly astonishing example of the coleoptera It appeared to be a beetle It was perhaps six or seven inches high and about a foot in length Its scales were of a vivid golden green I could distinctly see where the the wings were sheathed along the back and as they seemed to be slightly agitated I looked every moment to see them opened and the thing take wing The third narrator is Majorie Lindon who is engaged to Paul Lessingham She enlists the aid of Atherton to help her discover what is troubling her fiance This is a most cruel assignment as Atherton is a most bitter rival of Lessingham for the love of Majorie and the last thing he wants to do is help himThe last narrator is Augustus Champnell a confidential agent who is brought into the plot by the solicitation by Paul Lessingham for help His objective thinking does turn out to be a key to resolving the caseNow it turns out that this creature is a follower of Isis and has pursued Paul Lessingham from Cairo to London to exact revenge Lessingham took a walk on the wild side along the Rue de Rabagas while he was in Cairo and drank the drink the young lady offered him and woke up on a pile of rags Isis By my side knelt the Woman of the Songs Leaning over she wooed my mouth with kisses I cannot describe to you the sense of horror and of loathing with which the contact of her lips oppressed me There was about her something so unnatural so inhuman that I believed even then I would have destroyed her with as little sense of moral turpitude as if she had been some noxious insectLessingham escapes and brings the horror back to London where he is just beginning a promising political career I usually try to include a picture of the author in my reviews Below is the only picture I could find Richard Marsh A very mysterious man this Richard Marsh I thoroughly enjoyed this book It is of course pulp horror so if you are looking for a literary work I would suggest Dracula This book is well written for the genre and certainly intriguing from the stand point of presenting some of the fears of the Victorian Age This is considered Marsh's best book but I will certainly not hesitate to read another of his books If anyone has enjoyed other books besides Wilkie Collins that falls into this genre please share your suggestions

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