Customer Reviews: The House of Dr. Edwardes (RosettaBooks Into Film)
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on August 16, 2011
I started reading the Kindle version of this last night, and I regret to report that the prologue has several completely garbled sentences as well as some incorrect punctuation. If the whole book is like this, it will be unreadable.

Sloppy work, Rosetta Books. Sloppy.

UPDATE: I left a lengthy example of this in comments, but it probably makes sense to put it here, too, as you can't read comments on the Kindle:

"Sometimes the road midday when it appeared. We were turning a corner and I saw a big notice stuck out on the cliff with 'Gorge du Diable' written on it. The Devil, by the went through tunnels. It was most exciting. I suppose it must have been about way, is pretty frequent in these parts. He has gorges and rocks and chimneys in every direction."

That goes beyond minor misspellings, which I don't like, but can live with. I have no idea what this passage is supposed to mean.

I've notified Amazon of this, so maybe it will be corrected.
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on August 21, 2011
I thought this was a good read for a free kindle book. There were errors in spelling, but I have found that to be true with pretty much all kindle books. This story was interesting. I have never seen the movie but I will now. Considering the time period it was written in I thought it was interesting. The plot kept me reading.
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on August 27, 2011
I had never heard of the book or the Hitchcock movie based on the book, but it was free so downloaded it to the Kindle. As another reviewer pointed out, there is some garbled text. But that is not the author's fault.

The writing style seems typical of the 1920s and 30s: slow, lengthy, and overwrought. For that, 3 stars only. Rather disappointing that the "trick" in the plot is given away before the trick is actually sprung.

One reviewer says this book is better than the movie. That's usually the case, but it seems a perfect plot for a movie, and could be done better than the book. I hope Hitchcock in fact does so.
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on August 27, 2011
i really liked the book. for its day, it was pretty modern. freud's methods were becoming known and used to treat patients.

the main character, constance, is an newly graduated m.d.(despite having had to take the test 3 times). still, despite her inexperience, she's intrepid. her instincts are good - even though she ignores them at the beginning.)

constance is flawed and her flaws are mostly being 'female' but she overcomes that. she doggedly digs for truth when she discovers inconsistencies. she finds her strength and in fact, heroically plans and leads an escape.

characterization of the 8 patients is believable. despite their craziness, the patients are for the most part, likable, not unlike unruly children. their insanity is being manipulated by a super crazy mastermind. but constance is observant enough to notice the changes in their personalities. she notices late night activities and noises that awaken her suspicions.

the setting and geography are important. it is located in the "devil's gorge". it's a gated, secluded, former castle in the wooded mountains. the locals are afraid of the asylum and have to be paid high wages for their loyalty. only the very brave among them will work there.

as for the suspect that people are not who they say they are. dr. edwardes himself is not even there to welcome constance. the asylum is under the supervision of his assistant, dr. murchison while dr. edwardes takes 'a rest'.

in the movie the evil is the postwar nazis and their secrets. the evil in the book is not a political philosophy, but perverted religious beliefs. in both stories, innocents are sacrificed for evil.
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on July 26, 2015
The House of Dr Edwardes, a madhouse ifor English expatriates, is no ordinary asylum, It is a converted Chateau, high in the French Alps and set in beautiful surroundings. The patients have to be rich, or have rich families, but that is not the only criterion for admission. They also have to suffer from interesting delusions and "no ordinary lunatic need apply." Inmates include a retired colonel who reminisces about his campaigns in India, a failed business magnate who believes he is still the head of a large commercial establishment in the City of London and an English spinster who suspects a variety of males of harboring lecherous thoughts towards her.

The story begins with the arrival of two new residents: Dr Murchison, who will relieve Dr Edwardes during his absence and an aristocratic and dangerous devil worshipper who believes in human sacrifices. Both men identify themselves as Dr Murchison and accuse the other of being the mad aristocrat. A recently graduated female doctor (Constance Sedgwick) whose knowledge of mental disorders is rudimentary, is unable to identify the impostor and almost dies as the result of her error.

The book, written almost a century ago, moves at great speed with only occasional poetic or repetitious distractions. Some of the descriptions of these insane Victorian personages are quite hilarious.. An excellent read/
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on March 21, 2015
Originally published, in 1928, as the 'House of Dr Edwardes', this is something of a `penny dreadful': there is a damsel in distress placed in great peril in a gothic castle high in the foothills of the French Alps. The castle is now home to an asylum for the insane and the `damsel' is the newly qualified Dr Constance Sedgewick. The story opens as she takes up her post at the asylum under the direction of Dr Murchison, an assistant of Dr Edwardes, who remains in charge while the latter is on vacation.

I'd always wanted to read the book that inspired the Hitchcock film and didn't realize that it had been published in paperback form as 'Spellbound' in 1987. However, for those who've seen the film, the similarities between the two are only superficial: the action takes place in an asylum, both plots feature an imposter as a central character, both have a Dr Murchison, and the heroine's first name in each is Constance. Unlike the film, there is very little psychobabble in the book: Freud is mentioned once and, apart from the fact that the asylum's six, generally harmless, patients appear to be suffering from delusions of varying severity, psychology and the unconscious feature very little.

Thus, it was something of a disappointment for me but for all that it was mildly diverting, well written and demonstrated what the seed of a story could be developed into by a master story teller like Hitchcock.
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on September 13, 2012
By now, the twist premise (which I'm not going to spoil for you) has been so overused that it doesn't seem strong enough to carry a novel alone, but the first two-thirds are still a classic example of keeping things ominous without obviously telegraphing all of what's going on.
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on December 9, 2011
I slogged my way through this book even though the errors referenced by other reviewers annoyed the heck out of me. I find it hard to believe this inspired Hitchcock, but oh well, I guess it did. I like a good mystery and a good scare, but this was neither for me...
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on September 19, 2015
I haven't actually read this book, but I mistakenly picked the book titled "Spellbound," erroneously thinking it was the basis of the Hitchcock film. How wrong I was! The book "Spellbound" had little or nothing to do with the film, and I think that names could have been switched around between the original novel, "House of Dr Edwardes," and the novel "Spellbound" (set in France, not Vermont) but otherwise, there was no resemblance between the two. I saw the film as a very young boy with my mother, but several images have remained with me my entire life: the brother impaling himself on a spiked iron fence, the Dali sets, and the ski scene. I regret wasting my time on the book "Spellbound," which I disliked, but I look forward to reading "The House of Dr Edwardes."
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on November 15, 2011
I thought this was funny, interesting, and intriguing. It's more of a light read but still has it's "mystery" to keep you wanting to read more. A little short (I'd like to seen more "book") but was worth the time!
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