From the hero's foreboding before his arrival at Limmeridge House to the nefarious plot concerning the beautiful Laura, the breathtaking tension of Collins's narrative created a new literary genre of suspense fiction, which profoundly shaped the course of English popular writing.
Generally considered the first English sensation novel, The Woman in White features the remarkable heroine Marian Halcombe and her sleuthing partner, drawing-master Walter Hartright, pitted against the diabolical team of Count Fosco and Sir Percival Glyde. A gripping tale of murder, intrigue, madness, and mistaken identity, Collins's psychological thriller has never been out of print since its publication in 1860.
While Collins's other great mystery, The Moonstone, has been called the finest detective story ever written, 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."
Audie Award Finalist, Classics, 2011
"Collins was a master craftsman, whom many modern mystery-mongers might imitate to their profit." (Dorothy L. Sayers)
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Customer ReviewsMost Helpful
By sjtroddy on 20-11-10
the wonderful woman in white
This has been a lovely, gentle book to wallow in - the easy flowing narrative, the delightful style harking back to a finer age in time and the clever weaving and wandering of the story line. There is simplicity in the romanticsim and ideas of the book but this really doesn't mattter when on a higher plane there is much to enjoy: beautifully constructed characters, delightful descriptions of people, places and scenes and the inevitability of where the story eventually ends up. A wonderful audio book that I recommend highly - for a historical setting with a relevant theme (jealousy, greed, love, boys-meets-girl, etc, etc), gentle pace with no shocks (no bad language, no violoence, etc) and a mystery cleverly woven through PLUS its an enjoyable listen! I think that the 'listen' is half the pleasure of some audio books - I would never have the time to have read The Woman in White but I was able to 'catch it' in the car, doing the housework, etc.
13 of 13 people found this review helpful
By Liz on 14-02-12
This was a really excellent way to read The Woman in White. I would strongly recommend purchasing this version of the audiobook over any other which doesn't have such an extensive cast. The narrator changes many times throughout, and the shifts in narrator (each embodying the character very well) made this highly enjoyable, in a way which a single narrator may have lacked.
If you're looking for something short and sweet, um, stay away from 19th Century literature? But the mystery, plot turns, and suspense work for a modern reader, although some of the social anxieties about asylums might not.
7 of 7 people found this review helpful
Customer ReviewsMost Helpful
By JGrace on 29-06-11
Another multi-cast winner
his famous nineteenth century novel is the perfect choice for a multi-cast reading, and this is a wonderful production. Almost 26 hours long, Roger Rees, Rosalyn Lander, John Lee and Judy Geeson create every character distinctly as the author intended. Originally published as a serial, each character tells their own part of the mystery as if they are giving testimony in a court of law. The sense of mystery, tension and horror increases with every change of perspective until the final d??nouement.
The structure of this novel seemed amazingly modern. Had it not been for the jarring racial and social stereotypes sprinkled throughout the book, I could have believed that it was historical fiction written by a contemporary author. After many suspenseful twists and turns of the plot, Collins wraps up all of the loose ends and comes to a mostly satisfying happily ever after. It only left this twenty-first century reader with one unanswered question; how could Walter Hartright possibly prefer the vapid Laura to the courageous Marian?
27 of 27 people found this review helpful
By Elana on 15-05-12
Wicked Dastardly Fun
If you are a fan of mysteries, detective stories and/or British storytelling, this book is for you.
I gave it a five star rating for all categories. The performances were delicious, the story was engaging and the characters were well-crafted, and multi-dimensional:The brilliant but evil Count Fosco, the worthless Uncle Frederick Fairlie, and of course the love story between Walter and Laura.
The plot has enough twists and turns to keep you guessing until the very end and the performances are stellar. Every time I turned on my iPod it felt like I was getting a front row seat at the hottest show on Broadway.
16 of 16 people found this review helpful