1909 ***** 271 pages
There have been many, many, many adaptations of this story for stage, television, and film, but none of them compare to the brilliance and depth of Gaston Leroux's original novel. Told from different perspectives as the the story unfolds, the first third of the book is told by following Raoul, the young man who is infatuated with a beautiful singer named Christine Daae. As the mystery unfolds, we finally hear the story from Christine's point of view. Then, as the action builds to its climax, a mysterious man who had been lurking in the shadows even less prolific than the Phantom tells us the rest. What makes this novel so great is that every time you read it, you can read it as a different genre. Upon one reading, it is a mystery/crime story. On another, a gothic horror story. Yet even another reading reveals a romance. It's a novel that always surprises, no matter how well you think you know the story.