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The Evil Guest

The Evil Guest is set on the Irish country estate of a man, his wife, and  young daughter.   The wife's closest companion is the French tutor for the daughter.   The French tutor is described over and over as beautiful.   She acts as sweet as can be but there is a sinister feel behind her.   The story is set toward the end of the 18th century in Ireland.   The relationship of the couple is now more formal than intimate.   The man goes through many moods and is given to long brooding silences.   One day a letter arrives from his cousin, a 50 something year old bachelor, another stock character, the overly polite highly refined aging  roue.   In the letter he basically invites himself for an extended visit.   The husband is worried as there seems to be a very old cloud on the title of the property and he thinks the man may have a claim on the estate.   When he arrives strange things begin to happen.  Given the title I was inclined to think he was the evil guest but Le Fanu spends so much time building up the atmosphere and introduces some other possibilities such as his son away at school, the French tutor (I think we know that it is not a good idea for married women in Victoria novels whose husband no longer cares to visit their separate bed chamber to employ beautiful young tutors or maids, especially French ones), and some house hold servants.   We also meet a very well done cleric and we are confused when some of the servants, who have been at the house for decades, tell the man that they feel they must quit as they have forebodings of great evil.  The visit roue is found with his throat cut and a servant is seemingly the murderer.   I will leave the rest of the plot untold.


 2022-11-26  4h19m