Wilkie Collins's classic thriller took the world by storm on its first appearance in 1859, with everything from dances to perfumes to dresses named in honor of the "woman in white." The novel's continuing fascination stems in part from a distinctive blend of melodrama, comedy, and realism; and in part from the power of its story.
The catalyst for the mystery is Walter Hartright's encounter on a moonlit road with a mysterious woman dressed head to toe in white. She is in a state of confusion and distress, and when Hartright helps her find her way back to London she warns him against an unnamed "man of rank and title." Hartright soon learns that she may have escaped from an asylum and finds to his amazement that her story may be connected to that of the woman he secretly loves. Collins brilliantly uses the device of multiple narrators to weave a story in which no one can be trusted, and he also famously creates, in the figure of Count Fosco, the prototype of the suave, sophisticated evil genious. The Woman in White is still passed as a masterpiece of narrative drive and exruciating suspense.
Introduction by Nicholas Rance
(Book Jacket Status: Jacketed)
About the Author
English novelist and playwright Wilkie Collins was a prolific writer with a body of work comprising thirty novels, over sixty short stories, more than a dozen plays, and a wide range of non-fiction pieces. Collins is best known for his novels The Woman in White, an early sensation novel--a genre combining shocking gothic horror with everyday domestic settings--and The Moonstone, which is credited as one of the first modern mystery novels. In the 1850s Collins met Charles Dickens and the two struck up a friendship, which lead to Collins becoming a frequent contributor to Dickens's journals Household Words and All the Year Round. Many of his stories have been adapted for film, including Basil, A Terribly Strange Bed, The Moonstone and The Woman in White. Collins died in 1889 at the age of 65.
“Collins was a master craftsman, whom many modern mystery-mongers might imitate to their profit.” —Dorothy L. Sayers