Mrs. Zant and the Ghost by Wilkie Collins
I read it as an: audiobook
Narrator: Gillian Anderson
Source: my own collection
Publisher: Audible Studios
Mrs. Zant and the Ghost starts off with a chance encounter in Kensington Park between Mrs Zant and Mr Rayburn and his daughter. Mrs Zant appears to be mad to young Lucy Rayburn and she is initially frightened by her. When Mr Rayburn approaches her, he realizes she might perhaps be ill and takes it upon himself to find where she lives so he might make sure she is being cared for. He becomes swept up in Mrs Zant’s drama, trapped in the clutches of her brother in law, who took over her care after his brother died just weeks after marrying Mrs Zant. She is convinced, and rightfully so, that the ghost of her husband is guiding her and protecting her. Ultimately, Mr Rayburn and Mrs Zant uncover the truth about her visions and her BIL’s motives.
A good old fashioned Gothic ghost story, told with the lovely, overblown language I expect from Victorian literature. I have to say that I do not understand Victorian mannerisms; Mr Rayburn would be a stalker today if he had followed some random woman home, no matter what his motives. To modern sensibilities, he seems pushy and nosy, but of course times change and we can’t judge another time by our own standards. Maybe it was better then since he is obviously concerned for her and acts upon it. Today, people ignore each other or hurt each other.
For sure, the best part was Gillian Anderson narrating this. I cheerfully admit I only got this because she was the narrator, but I enjoyed the story anyway. Her voice adds to the overall otherworldliness of the book’s tone. I don’t know if that’s a lingering effect of her being Scully or if it’s just because she has a nice voice but it worked. It is also fun to hear her natural British accent since she has been classified as bi-dialectical. I used to think first of Scully when I think of her, but more and more I’m thinking of her as DSI Stella Gibson than Dana Scully.
Overall, this was an interesting and fast read. Listen. Whatever. I was in the mood for a Victorian story and this scratched that itch quite nicely.