Strange things are going on at the Paris Opera House: a mysterious phantom - a skeleton in dinner dress - is wreaking havoc amongst the singers and backstage staff. When the new managers take over, and dismiss the rumors of the Opera Ghost, the terror really begins. Who is the mysterious figure stalking the stage at night? How can he be everywhere at once, and enter and leave locked rooms at will? And what is his connection to the beautiful and talented young soloist, Christine?
Gaston Leroux's brilliant and disturbing book is best known, perhaps, through its its many stage and screen adaptions, but the original text outdoes them all in its gothic tension and haunting horror...
From the Collectors Library edition of
"The Phantom of the Opera"
About the Author - Gaston Leroux
Fittingly, the Author of The Phantom of the Opera novel, a classic tale of the bizarre, began life unconventionally. On 6 May 1868, his parents were on their way from le Mans to their home in Normandy. They had to change trains in Paris, and it was there that Marie-Alphonsine went into labour. She was immediately rushed to a house, where she gave birth to a baby boy.
Years later, the young Leroux returned to Paris, looking for the house. He found an undertaker's business: "There, where I sought a cradle, I found a coffin."
The child, christened Gaston Louis Alfred was raised in Normandy, spending much of his time in the costal villiage of St Valery-en-Caux. After acquiring his baccalaureate at Caen, he was sent to Paris to begin law studies, but already he was writing short stories and poems.
In 1889, the year he gained his law degree, his father died and left him a million francs, a seizable sum. Young Leroux succumbed to temptation, managing to squander the money on drink, gambling and unwise speculations inside six months.
Faced by the need of an income, but hating the practice of law, he applied for a post on L'Echo de Paris, a paper that had already printed some of his verses. His legal training made him a good courtroom reporter and soon he was offered a better position on the important daily newspaper, Le Matin. This offered him scope for invertigative writing, which was rapidly becoming his forte.
On one occasion, he aceived an extraordinary scoop:pretending to be a prison psychologist, he was allowed to interview a prisioner who had been remanded for a serious crime. He then wrote a brilliant article that conclusivly demonstrated the mans innocence, to the discomfiture of the court officials and police.
In 1907 he started work as a novelist, changing career once again. He found critical and commercial success with works such as 'The Mysery of the Yellow Room' (1907) and 'The Phantom of the Opera' (1911). Leroux continued to be a profilic writer until his death in 1927 - the resulat of complications following an operation.
From 'The Phantom of the Opera Companion'