I have a bit of a confession to make. I have only just "discovered" Wilkie Collins. And I'm not quite sure why it took me 26 years. I knew about his books, I read about them on other people's blogs, I watched the films of The moonstone and The woman in white, I even borrowed some of his books from the library for K to read. But I'd not read any of them myself. I think partly it was the fact that most of the editions I saw were v. dense with v. small writing.
I'm not quite sure what changed. I picked up a copy of The dead secret, which Hayley wrote about on her blog, partly after I discovered that it was set in Cornwall, one of my favourite places. I thought it might appeal to K, who hadn't been reading much at that time (he's got back into it now, and read 2 books in 3 days over the weekend). He got about 10 pages into it, started reading something else, and I, without a book to hand, started reading it. After all, as Hayley says in her post, "Autumn feels like the perfect season for Victoriana, particularly the sensational kind".
And what a read it was! The denseness and small writing didn't matter a jot as I was absolutely gripped and hooked into Wilkie Collins. I won't say much more about the plot as Hayley did an excellent job and you might as well read her review than me repeating her here.
I followed it up with Legacy of Cain, which was good, but not so as The dead secret, so I took it back to the library rather than leaving it for K to read (as he's still to reunite himself with The dead secret). I've got The haunted hotel to read next from the library, which seems perfect to read in the next ten days as we approach Halloween. But most of all I'm excited as he has a long back catalogue of books for me to work my way through.
Fellow Wilkie Collins fans, and I know there must be plenty reading this blog, because I've seen you writing about his books - which is your favourite one (apart from the two most famous - Woman in white/Moonstone...)?
The Hawks of Delamare - Edward Marston
2 days ago