The Time Machine by HG Wells? (novella, but probably long enough to count) If a book of short stories would be ok, the early Raffles books (eg The Amateur Cracksman) would just squeak in at 1898 and rattle along. (Or Sherlock Holmes, of course - Study in Scarlet is 1887.)
Around the world in 80 days, mine's done it as part of the curriculum in year 3-4? So he should know it. It's not exactly a short novel though, is it? Huckleberry Finn? I seem to remember it was shorter that Tom Sawyer.