It has been said that for well sustained story interest and intriii cacy of plot, Wilkie Collins has no peer in English fiction and i the best examples of his genius are found in The Moonstone 4(issued with our first Comdie Humaine Series) and The Woman in White. Though ranking below his great contemporaries Thackeray, Dickens and George Eliot when one considers the tiigher reaches of the novelists art, as a story-tefler, pure and simple Collins outranks them all. Says Mr. Swinburne of one of his novels, Dickens never wrote and Thackeray never tried to write a story so excellent in construction and so persistent in its hold on the readers curiosity a curiosity amounting, in the case of the younger ana more impressible readers, to absolute.anxiety. The Woman in White, published in i860, made Col Hns sreputation as a novelist; and one of the characters in this remarkable I mystery story Count Fosco, an unctuous type of villain is thought by many to be his masterpiece of portraiture. The literary career of William Wilkie Collins (bom in 1824) coincides very nearly with the second half of the nineteenth cen tury. His first novel, A ntonina, was published in 1850, and Kfrom that date until his death in 1889 his stories followed one ;another in uninterrupted succession. The list of his more important publications, including several volumes of short stories, .comprises twenty-seven titles. His life, which was uneventful, was passed in his birthplace, London, with the exception of several periods of travel one of which (1873-4) was spent in the .U nited States.
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'A hypochondriac uncle, two girls who look identical, a count with a penchant for mesmerism and vanilla bonbons, a lunatic asylum, an evil husband... What more could you want?' - Maggie O'FarrellFrom the Back Cover:
'The most popular novel of the nineteenth century, and still one of the best plots in English literature' Sarah Waters
Marian and her sister Laura live a quiet life under their uncle's guardianship until Laura's marriage to Sir Percival Glyde. Sir Percival is a man of many secrets - is one of them connected to the strange appearances of a young woman dressed all in white? And what does his charming friend, Count Fosco, have to do with it all? Marian and the girls' drawing master, Walter, have to turn detective in order to protect Laura from a fatal plot and unravel the mystery of the woman in white.
See also: The Turn of the Screw
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