Una mañana muy temprano, Ramón descubre el cadáver de Adela en unos campos de avena cerca de Loma Grande. Ramón apenas había visto a Adela en un par de ocasiones, pero en el mismo instante en el que el muchacho cubre con su camisa el cuerpo desnudo de la muerta, comienza a difundirse el rumor de que Adela era su novia. A partir de ese momento, los hechos se irán desencadenando irremediablemente y Ramón se verá obligado a vengar la muerte de la joven. Su corazón es quien le obliga actuar, su corazón y un pueblo entero que se convierte en el protagonista de la novela, en el creador de una ofensa y de una venganza inevitable. Un dulce olor a muerte es una novela fascinante en que la pasión y el orgullo dictan cada una de las decisiones de los personajes, la venganza se convierte en destino y la verdad se muestra en su faceta más ambigua y demoledora.
Title: Un dulce olor a muerte (Sweet Scent of Death)
Item Number: 9788496694040
Publication Date: September 2007
Universal Product Code (UPC): 9788496694040
WonderClub Stock Keeping Unit (WSKU): 9788496694040
Rating: 3.5/5 based on 2 Reviews
Image Location: https://wonderclub.com/images/covers/40/40/9788496694040.jpg
Weight: 0.200 kg (0.44 lbs)
Width: 0.000 cm (0.00 inches)
Heigh : 0.000 cm (0.00 inches)
Depth: 0.000 cm (0.00 inches)
Date Added: August 25, 2020, Added By: Ross
Date Last Edited: August 25, 2020, Edited By: Ross
|$99.99||Digital||WonderClub(9288 total ratings)|
Steven Excellreviewed Un dulce olor a muerte (Sweet Scent of Death) on June 21, 2017
Miss or Mrs?
A thriller/sensational story: Richard Turlington falls in love with his best friend Sir Joseph's daughter, Natalie. Natalie is in love with her cousin and close friend, Launce. Turlington is accustomed to getting what he wants. The secret lovers devise a scheme to prevent Turlington from getting what he wants in this case. The story moves forward at a decent pace, and the characters are developed well enough to make their actions and motives clear and consistent. The ending is a bit anticlimactic, but the conflict is resolved, and the resolution is justified by earlier events. Overall, I give this story three stars because it was interesting but not great.
The Haunted Hotel
The Countess Narona (what a great name!), with her pale skin and black eyes, visits a London doctor and asks him if she's crazy. He examines her and tells her that he thinks she's perfectly healthy and sane. He wonders why she fears otherwise. She tells him that she is to be married to a man who had been engaged to Agnes Lockwood but broke his engagement with her to propose to the Countess instead. For some reason, though she wasn't aware of his prior engagement to Agnes, the Countess feels a terrible dread and rising feeling of impending doom when she meets Agnes for the first time. This is why she fears for her mental stability--Agnes was perfectly forgiving and civil, so the Countess can't explain her sense of foreboding. Events follow that explain that sense of foreboding perfectly. This story is suspenseful and intriguing. I particularly like Agnes and her cousin Henry. I enjoyed the scenes that take place in Venice, where the titular hotel is located. Collins did a wonderful job at turning the setting into a character in itself. The explanation of the mystery is revealed in an interesting and creative way. The resolution is perfect. I give this story four stars because I liked the characters, the story, the mystery, and the plot.
The Guilty River
Gerard Roylake returns home to his family's estate in England after years of schooling in Germany. His father has passed away, and he is the new landlord of half the town he lives in. On his first night home, rather than accompanying his stepmother on her dreadful social excursion, Roylake takes a walk along the stream that he hasn't seen since he was a child. He is looking for moths, a hobby that he had formed years ago, but he becomes distracted when he meets Cristel, an old childhood friend and the miller's daughter. That same night, he meets the Lodger staying with Cristel and her father. The Lodger is beautiful--Roylake thinks he could have been a woman if he didn't have the strength of a man in his mouth and jaw. But the Lodger is also bitter about his progressive deafness, the result of a long illness about a year ago. Once Roylake is reacquainted with Cristel and newly acquainted with the Lodger, the story moves forward from there. Unlike the first two novellas, this one is written in the first-person. I enjoy Roylake's narrative and his observations and thoughts. He writes as an older man looking back on himself at twenty, so there is some self-criticism in his reflections and some disbelief in how naive he was at the time of the events. Also, talk about turning the setting into a character! The story opens with a description of the features of Gerard Roylake's land, particularly the Loke, the titular river, whose name is said to be as ugly and distasteful as the waters themselves. Throughout this story, descriptions of the setting add to the atmosphere and drama of the plot. I give this story four stars because of its narrative, the plot, the characters, and the resolution, which is also clever and creative.
Just a warning: The Lodger's deafness is not cultural. He doesn't sign because he is newly deaf, and he is very bitter about his hearing loss. He won't even use a horn (an early hearing aid) to amplify sound. Therefore, there are disparaging remarks about deafness, mostly from the Lodger himself. Some people may find the pity offered to the man merely because of his deafness as offensive, but I found that it is consistent with human nature and that Collins' narrator was no different than many people still are today when they don't understand the experiences of others. Some people also may find the characterization of a deaf man as the villain to be offensive. However, he claims to be an evil man by inheritance, not because of his hearing loss. His hearing loss is important to the story--the long illness and the loss that follows are turning points for the man, who was a successful doctor beforehand but whose vanity and self-absorption, rather than his deafness, are his downfalls.
I highly recommend this collection of three Collins novellas. Collins himself states that these are "Stories in outline" because they are so short, but his writing doesn't suffer from being condensed for serialization. He's still a gifted author and an early master of mystery, suspense, and sensationalism.
Charles Burkereviewed Un dulce olor a muerte (Sweet Scent of Death) on June 06, 2012
This was my first time reading Wilkie Collins. It's something I've intended to do for years and simply never got round to, so when one of my groups suggested we do a group read of The Haunted Hotel I dusted my copy off and eagerly got down to it. Although not quite what I was expecting and far from perfect as either a ghost story or a murder mystery, I enjoyed the story so much that instead of picking up another book I went straight back to page 1 and got started on the other novellas in this collection. And while I would love to say they didn't disappoint, the truth is that the last one did. However, each story had some strong things going for it, and each well worth the read, especially if you're a fan of gothic literature.
The first story in this book, Miss or Mrs? is the most grounded and mundane. The atmosphere and threat come not from a sinister setting or some supernatural force, but a brutally human antagonist. Richard Turlington is your typical nasty, controlling, older man who plans to marry a girl in her teens and has an unpleasantly strong influence over her father to make it happen. To be honest there is nothing particularly interesting about him - he's heavily hinted to be a very bad guy from the first chapter and then goes on to prove himself a very bad guy. Quelle surprise! What was interesting was the heroine - Natalie is fifteen years old and mixed race (mostly of white extraction but with visible signs of her 'Negro blood and French blood'). There are some unfortunate implications that it is this non-white blood that makes her sexually mature at such an early age but, for the most part, her appearance is described without unpleasant fetishisation, as both beautiful and desirable. Tall, dark, athletic, and a little bit booby, she's about as far as I can imagine from the stereotypical Victorian 'damsel in distress'. And she's got a likable personality too, I wasn't shouting at her not to be an idiot at any point - she doesn't love Turlington, she has no intention of marrying him and defies his commands to stop seeing her friends, but at the same time she's a fifteen year old nervous at the thought of escaping by eloping with the man she does love and abandoning her father and that conflict was well played out. She actually read like a (mature) teenager rather than either an adult or a child, as often happens. A modern audience does need to take in account the time period when considering the hero however, cause whatever way you look at it and however much he may love her, he's still a man in his twenties getting it on with his fifteen year old cousin (strangely enough at fifteen I would have been less bothered by the age than the 'cousin' thing while now at 23 it's the other way round).
Overall though it was an enjoyable story. The legal intricacies and hypocrisies of the law that Collins uses were an interesting way to go about trying to solve the conflict and the clandestine marriage, at least, was directly taken from an incident in Collins' own life which always adds another layer of interest. The contrast and relationship between Natalie and her best friend, who married for a title and money and now regrets it, was a nice example of female friendship (even if their conversations, by necessity of length, all revolved around men) and the comic banter between Natalie's father and her aunt constantly interrupting each other was well played and not too exaggerated. In the end, however, Miss or Mrs? turned out to be one of those awkward-length stories where an ending that would be absolutely fine in a shorter story just feels rushed and not-quite-right once you've spent this much time getting to know the characters. It's a danger with the novella form, and one that's hard to avoid, but I just felt a littleâ€¦cheated I guess with how quickly everything resolved itself at the end.
The Haunted Hotel is, I believe, the best known of these three novellas - and not without reason. As I said before, it's not at all what I was expecting going in and it's not 'perfect' as either a ghost story, murder mystery, or relationship drama and occasionally the three threads don't always mesh well together, but it's a very enjoyable read and certainly not without merit. Here I confess I found the opposite problem to Miss or Mrs? and found the plot far more interesting than the characters. Agnes is alright I suppose, her refusal to blame the 'other woman' for her fiancÃ©e leaving her is definitely admirable - since the other woman didn't know he was engaged I'd have had much less sympathy with Agnes if she had blamed her. And her conflicted feeling after he dies mysteriously shortly after his wedding are believable and well portrayed. But eeeeugh, Henry. I just can't stand men who go by the theory 'if I ask her enough she'll say yes eventually'. No! If you keep pressuring a girl who's not interested all you do is make her uncomfortable. In fairness this was actually well portrayed and other characters did tell him off for his timing, but he still gets the girl in the end. The one character I really liked though was the villainess of the piece - the strangely pale and beautiful Countess Narona who snatched Lord Montbarry away from Agnes by being way more interesting but a lot less nice. A victim of numerous scandals, you're never sure quite how much she deserves and quite how much of it is malicious gossip that in turn drives her even further away from societal norms and into more scandal.
But onto the plot. I was very surprised to that almost the whole first half of the novel is set in England, rather than Venice and that the Hotel barely features until the latter chapters. The early stuff sets up the characters, the relationships, and the mystery - Lord Montbarry's death in a Venetian palace while on his honeymoon - but the supernatural gothic stuff I was expecting doesn't show up at all until the last half. Which results in a slightly disjointed story and me wondering quite why the supernatural stuff was included at all. Don't get me wrong the idea of a dead man's relatives staying in the room where he died and each experiencing supernatural visions, odours, or dreams that hint at his death being a concealed murder is a powerful idea. As a plot for a ghost story I like it, it just doesn't quite work with there being such a very long and mundane set up to it. It feels a bit awkward and out of place, especially when all the clues needed are already there to work out what happened. I'll give Collins a little credit here and say that the familiar murder-mystery trope used here probably wasn't as overused in 1878 as it is now in 2012, and that Victorian audiences probably hadn't been quite so exposed to it, but I still managed to solve the murder within a paragraph of the first real clue appearing - well before any ghostly activity at all.
I was a little disappointed too that not much had been done with Venice itself. It's such a beautiful, unique, and almost intrinsically gothic city that I wanted to see it getting a bit more love - but the hotel might as well have been anywhere else in the world for all the use that was made of the setting of the city itself. We get lots on the Venetian architecture within the former palace, but very little of the rest of Venice, not even just to add to the already creepy atmosphere. Buuut, that's just my love of Venice speaking I guess. It's a compelling story, even if you do get to the conclusion before the characters. It also leaves you with plenty of interesting questions, particularly about the Countess, whilst wrapping the plot itself up quite nicely. Is the Baron really her brother as she claims? Or her lover as is strongly implied by everything else in the story? Personally I think definitely the second, but quite possibly both. Is her folly self-inflicted or spurred on by some supernatural force? Her premonition that Agnes would destroy her genuine? or merely self-fulfilling paranoia?
And now, The Guilty River, the weak link of the book. And it started so well too, a sympathetic protagonist, a sympathetic antagonist, a feisty love interest but thenâ€¦ Eugh, the protagonist lost my sympathy when he refused to condemn the antagonist's threatening and scary behaviour towards the love interest. When the girl who you fancy's father says 'my lodger threatened to kill anyone who tries to take my girl away from him' the appropriate response is not to think the father must have wound him up into saying something silly. When a girl makes it clear she finds a man's advances uncomfortable and threatening you don't feel sympathy for the guy and admire his patience and devotion against adversity. You just don't. And I don't care that he's a pacifist and not the jealous type - you don't need to be an overprotective jerk to realise that that behavior is totally out of line and not something to sympathise with. It shows a basic lack of respect for the girl that had me hoping that neither of them got her.
And the antagonist - obviously I lost sympathy with him too for this behavior. Suddenly losing your hearing might excuse you from being incredibly depressed and a dick to people for a while but it does not excuse you from sexual harassment. And then the 'its in the blood' excuse. Oh of course, you're a villain because your father abandoned a girl, your uncle cheated at dice and your grandfather was a murderer! Clearly the descent into villainy was almost predetermined! Yeah - not buying it.
Despite a wonderfully realised setting, some humourous fish-out-of-water moments with the protagonist trying to get to grips with Victorian high society, and an interesting storyline, the characters just bothered me too much to rate this one any higher than a 3 star. The only character I felt genuine concern for in this tale of murder and jealousy was the loyal, evil-detecting, dog.
Overall though I think there's something to appreciate in each of the stories. Although it took me a while to get through the last story I am glad I read the whole book instead of just stopping after The Haunted Hotel. Wilkie Collins writing is much more accessible than I had expected and am now really looking forward to reading The Woman in White for another group next month.
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