Woman in White (Wordsworth Classics) (Wordsworth Collection)

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9781853260773: Woman in White (Wordsworth Classics) (Wordsworth Collection)

With an Introduction and Notes by Dr Scott Brewster, University of Central Lancashire Wilkie Collins is a master of mystery, and The Woman in White is his first excursion into the genre. When the hero, Walter Hartright, on a moonlit night in North London, encounters a solitary, terrified and beautiful woman dressed in white, he feels impelled to solve the mystery of her distress. The intricate plot is peopled with a finely characterised cast, from the peevish invalid Mr Fairlie to the corpulent villain Count Fosco and the enigmatic woman herself.

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"There in the middle of the broad, bright high-road-there, as if it had that moment sprung out of the earth or dropped from the heaven-stood the figure of a solitary woman, dressed from head to foot in white garments." Thus young Walter Hartright first meets the mysterious woman in white in what soon became one of the most popular novels of the nineteenth century. Secrets, mistaken identities, surprise revelations, amnesia, locked rooms and locked asylums, and an unorthodox villain made this mystery thriller an instant success when it first appeared in 1860, and it has continued to enthrall readers ever since. From the hero's foreboding before his arrival at Limmeridge House to the nefarious plot concerning the beautiful Laura, the breathtaking tension of Collin's narrative created a new literary genre of suspense fiction, which profoundly shaped the course of English popular writing. Collins other great mystery, The Moonstone, has been called the finest detective story ever written, but it was this work that so gripped the imagination of the world that Wilkie Collins had his own tombstone inscribed: "Author of The Woman In White. . . "

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Still unsurpassed as a masterpiece of narrative drive and excruciating suspense, 'The Woman in White' is also famous for introducing, in the figure of Count Fosco, the prototype of the suave, sophisticated evil genius. The first detective novel ever written, it has remained, since its publication in 1860, the most admired example of the genre.

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