Wilkie Collins

The Lady Detectives
  • The Lady Detectives

  • Catherine Louisa Perkis

    A series of BBC radio short stories from the Golden Age of crime, featuring four female sleuths to rival Sherlock Holmes himself

    The Redhill Sisterhood by Catherine Louisa Pirkis
    Autumn,1897. Victorian undercover agent Loveday Brooke investigates some suspicious nuns who appear to have forsaken their vows – and turned to burglary.

    Mr Bovey’s Unexpected Will by LT Meade and Robert Eustace
    Brilliant, beautiful Miss Florence Cusack is one of Victorian London’s most respected consulting detectives. Here, she investigates the extraordinary case of a man whose fate depends on his weight in gold.

    The Golden Slipper by Anna Katharine Green
    Vivacious debutante Violet Strange sparkles in New York society – but leads a secret life as a professional agency detective. In this case from 1910, she investigates 'The Inseparables', four wealthy young women suspected of a series of thefts.

    The Law and the Lady by Wilkie Collins
    In this sensational Gothic tale from the author of The Woman in White and The Moonstone, new bride Valeria Woodville sets out to clear her husband of murdering his first wife.

    Starring Gayanne Potter as Loveday Brooke, Elizabeth Conboy as Florence Cusack, Teresa Gallagher as Violet Strange and Abigail Docherty as Valeria Woodville.

Wilkie Collins was born in 1824 in London, the son of the landscape painter William Collins. He was educated at private schools in London and travelled in Italy for two years with his family. In 1846 he was called to the bar, but his real interest lay in writing. His first book, a memoir of his father published in 1848, was followed by a historical novel, Antonia: or, The Fall of Rome (1850), and Rambles Beyond Railways (1851) which detailed a walking tour in Cornwall. In 1851 Collins met Charles Dickens and began contributing to his literature periodicals, Household Words and All the Year Round. Together they wrote two melodramas, The Lighthouse (1855) and The Frozen Deep (1857). Collins’ own work consisted mainly of short stories and novels; these included Hide and Seek (1854), The Dead Secret (1857), The Woman in White (1860), Armadale (1866) and The Moonstone (1868). The 1860s saw him hone his craft as a master of suspense and mystery. Although Collins’ popularity remained high for the duration of his writing career, critically his later works were thought to be inferior. He was dogged by ill health towards the end of his life and was reportedly addicted to opium. He died in 1889 and his last novel, Blind Love (1890) was posthumously completed by Walter Besant.