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Top 5 gothic mysteries, selected by acclaimed queer author CA Castle

The writer of The Manor House Governess shares his favourite atmospheric thrillers

Image: Sandy Flowers on Pixabay

Unsettling and uncanny, these gothic mysteries are perfect winter reads for those who enjoy a light spooking.

Rebecca by Daphne du Maurier

A psychologically gripping gothic novel that follows an unnamed young woman whose life is overturned after her marriage to the older Maxim de Winter and her move into the beautiful estate of Manderley, where secrets, death and sinister housekeepers abide.

The Turn of the Screw by Henry James 

A horror story about an unnamed governess who comes to care for two children, who may or may not be possessed, in the remote country house of Bly. Henry James’s wonderful novella is the perfect gothic mystery. 

Carmilla by Sheridan Le Fanu 

A vampiric novella (1872) that predates the more famous Dracula by Bram Stoker, Carmilla is a seductive story of sapphic desire that should sit at the top of everyone’s to-be-read pile.  

Northanger Abbey by Jane Austen

Austen’s first full novel to be written is a parody of the gothic genre following the naive Catherine Morland, whose fancy for fiction might just get her into trouble.  

Jane Eyre by Charlotte Brontë

This Victorian novel follows the titular character’s journey through class, religious and sexual struggles. Jane gets her fairy-tale-like ending, and the novel is considered one of the most famous romances ever to be written. 

The Manor House Governess by CA Castle

The Manor House Governess by CA Castle is out now in paperback (Black & White, £8.99). You can buy these titles from The Big Issue shop on Bookshop.org, which helps to support The Big Issue and independent bookshops.

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