Books

The Haunted Hotel

Wilkie Collins

An eminent doctor is visited by a desperate woman with a question: am I evil, or insane?

When the letters from Italian servant to his wife in London suddenly cease, she is convinced he has been murdered.

In the darkened bedroom of a mouldering palazzo by the Grand Canal, an English lord sickens and suddenly dies.

How are these little mysteries connected? Spend the night in Room 14 of Venice’s finest hotel, and find out the truth – if you dare…

INCLUDES THE GHOST STORY ‘THE DREAM WOMAN’

The Woman in White

Wilkie Collins (and others)

Toby Stephens and Juliet Aubrey star in a BBC Radio 4 full-cast dramatisation of Wilkie Collins’ chilling Gothic drama

A lonely stretch of road on Hampstead Heath is the venue for Walter Hartright’s midnight first encounter with a mysteriously distressed figure in white. As he helps the woman to escape from unnamed pursuers, he has little understanding of the way she will affect his future.

At Limmeridge House, in Cumberland, Walter meets and falls in love with Laura, who strangely resembles the woman in white. She, however, is soon to marry the financially embarrassed Sir Percival Glyde. Events at Limmeridge take a surprising turn when Anne Catherick arrives, and Walter recognises her as the mystery figure.

It appears that Anne’s recent incarceration in a mental asylum was at the behest of Sir Percival, who is all too aware of the secret she holds. More than one life will be lost before Walter’s mystery of the woman in white can be fully explained.

A strong cast brings Wilkie Collins’ tale to life in this BBC Radio 4 production, recorded on location at Beacon Hill, London in 2001

The Woman in White

Wilkie Collins

The Penguin English Library Edition of The Woman in White by Wilkie Collins

'In one moment, every drop of blood in my body was brought to a stop ... There, as if it had that moment sprung out of the earth ... stood the figure of a solitary Woman, dressed from head to foot in white'

The Woman in White famously opens with Walter Hartright's eerie encounter on a moonlit London road. Engaged as a drawing master to the beautiful Laura Fairlie, Walter is drawn into the sinister intrigues of Sir Percival Glyde and his 'charming' friend Count Fosco, who has a taste for white mice, vanilla bonbons and poison. Pursuing questions of identity and insanity along the paths and corridors of English country houses and the madhouse, The Woman in White is the first and most influential of the Victorian genre that combined Gothic horror with psychological realism.

The Penguin English Library - 100 editions of the best fiction in English, from the eighteenth century and the very first novels to the beginning of the First World War.

The Moonstone

Wilkie Collins

The Penguin English Library Edition of The Moonstone by Wilkie Collins

'Here was our quiet English house suddenly invaded by a devilish Indian Diamond - bringing after it a conspiracy of living rogues, set loose on us by the vengeance of a dead man'

When Rachel Verinder's birthday present - the Moonstone, a large Indian diamond - is stolen at her party, suspicion and the diamond's mysterious curse seem set to ruin everyone and everything she loves. Only Sergeant Cuff's famous detective skills offer any hope of peace and a future for them all. The intricate plot and modern technique of multiple narrators made Wilkie Collin's 1868 work a huge success in the Victorian sensation genre. With a reconstruction of the crime, red herrings and a 'locked-room' puzzle, The Moonstone was also a major precursor of the modern mystery novel.

The Penguin English Library - 100 editions of the best fiction in English, from the eighteenth century and the very first novels to the beginning of the First World War.

The Woman in White

Wilkie Collins (and others)

The Woman in White famously opens with Walter Hartright's eerie encounter on a moonlit London road. Engaged as a drawing master to the beautiful Laura Fairlie, Walter is drawn into the sinister intrigues of Sir Percival Glyde and his 'charming' friend Count Fosco, who has a taste for white mice, vanilla bonbons and poison. Pursuing questions of identity and insanity along the paths and corridors of English country houses and the madhouse, The Woman in White is the first and most influential of the Victorian genre that combined Gothic horror with psychological realism.

No Name

Wilkie Collins

After the tragic deaths of their parents, Magdalen and Norah discover the devastating news that they are both illegitimate and not entitled to any inheritance. Norah is forced to become a governess to earn her keep but Magdalen has grander plans and embarks on an elaborate scheme of revenge against her cold-hearted relatives.

The Moonstone

Wilkie Collins (and others)

WITH AN INTRODUCTION BY AUDREY NIFFENEGGER

When Rachel Verinder receives a gift of an astonishing yellow diamond from her bitter old uncle for her eighteenth birthday, she has no idea that the stone brings great danger with it. When the diamond goes missing during the night the ensuing investigations gradually bring to light the sinister history of the jewel and the passions and plots of those close to Rachel.

The Haunted Hotel

Wilkie Collins

Horror lies waiting.

A sinister Countess is driven mad by a dark secret. An innocent woman is made the instrument of retribution. A murdered man’s fury reaches beyond the grave.

When Countess Narona marries Agnes Lockwood’s fiancé and takes him to live in a rundown Venetian palace, strange things start happening, a servant mysteriously vanishes and the husband dies a recluse. But the dead won’t rest. When the palace is transformed into a hotel the two women are drawn to its chambers, where a force stronger than death is waiting to wreak its vengeance ...

The Woman in White

Wilkie Collins

Marian and her sister Laura live a quiet life under their uncle's guardianship until Laura's marriage to Sir Percival Glyde. Sir Percival is a man of many secrets - is one of them connected to the strange appearances of a young woman dressed all in white? And what does his charismatic friend, Count Fosco, with his pet white mice running in and out of his brightly coloured waistcoat, have to do with it all? Marian and the girls' drawing master, Walter, have to turn detective in order to work out what is going on, and to protect Laura from a fatal plot...

No Name

Wilkie Collins (and others)

Magdalen and her sister Norah, beloved daughters of Mr and Mrs Vanstone, find themselves the victims of a catastrophic oversight. Their father has neglected to change his will, and when the girls are suddenly orphaned, their inheritance goes to their uncle. Now penniless, the conventional Norah takes up a position as a governess, but the defiant and tempestuous Magdalen cannot accept the loss of what is rightfully hers and decides to do whatever she can to win it back. With the help of cunning Captain Wragge, she concocts a scheme that involves disguise, deceit and astonishing self-transformation. In this compelling, labyrinthine story Wilkie Collins brilliantly demonstrates the gap between justice and the law, and in the subversive Magdalen he portrays one of the most exhilarating heroines of Victorian fiction.

The Woman in White

Wilkie Collins (and others)

Wilkie Collins's The Woman in White, the first Victorian 'sensation novel' and one of the earliest mystery novels in English, weaves multiple narratives into a thrilling and suspenseful tale of mistaken identity and dark desires. This Penguin Classics edition is edited with notes and an introduction by Matthew Sweet.

The Woman in White famously opens with Walter Hartright's eerie encounter on a moonlit London road. Engaged as a drawing master to the beautiful Laura Fairlie, Walter is drawn into the sinister intrigues of Sir Percival Glyde and his 'charming' friend Count Fosco, the 'Napoleon of crime', who has a taste for white mice, vanilla bonbons and poison. Pursuing questions of identity and insanity along the paths and corridors of English country houses and the madhouse, The Woman in White is the first and most influential of the Victorian genre that combined Gothic horror with psychological realism.

Matthew Sweet's introduction explores the phenomenon of Victorian 'sensation' fiction, and discusses Wilkie Collins's biographical and societal influences. Included in this edition are appendices on theatrical adaptations of the novel and its serialisation history.

Wilkie Collins (1824-1889) was born in London in 1824, the eldest son of the landscape painter William Collins. In 1846 he was entered to read for the bar at Lincoln's Inn, where he gained the knowledge that was to give him much of the material for his writing. From the early 1850s he was a friend of Charles Dickens, who produced and acted in two melodramas written by Collins, The Lighthouse and The Frozen Deep. Of his novels, Collins is best remembered for The Woman in White (1859), No Name (1862), Armadale (1866) and The Moonstone (1868).

If you enjoyed The Woman in White, you might like Sir Arthur Conan Doyle's A Study in Scarlet, also available in Penguin Classics.

The Moonstone

Wilkie Collins

The Moonstone, a priceless yellow diamond, is looted from an Indian temple and maliciously bequeathed to Rachel Verinder. On her eighteenth birthday, her friend and suitor Franklin Blake brings the gift to her. That very night, it is stolen again. No one is above suspicion, as the idiosyncratic Sergeant Cuff and the Franklin piece together a puzzling series of events as mystifying as an opium dream and as deceptive as the nearby Shivering Sand. T. S. Eliot famously described THE MOONSTONE as 'the first, the longest and the best of modern English detective novels', but, as Sandra Kemp discusses in her introduction, it offers many other facets, which reveal Collins's sensibilities as untypical of his era.

The Moonstone

Wilkie Collins (and others)

The Moonstone, a priceless yellow diamond, is looted from an Indian temple and maliciously bequeathed to Rachel Verinder. On her eighteenth birthday, her friend and suitor Franklin Blake brings the gift to her. That very night, it is stolen again. No one is above suspicion, as the idiosyncratic Sergeant Cuff and the Franklin piece together a puzzling series of events as mystifying as an opium dream and as deceptive as the nearby Shivering Sand. T. S. Eliot famously described THE MOONSTONE as 'the first, the longest and the best of modern English detective novels', but, as Sandra Kemp discusses in her introduction, it offers many other facets, which reveal Collins's sensibilities as untypical of his era.

The Moonstone

Wilkie Collins (and others)

The Moonstone is one of the first true works of detective fiction, in which Wilkie Collins established the groundwork for the genre itself. This Penguin Classics edition is edited with an introduction by Sandra Kemp.

The Moonstone, a priceless yellow diamond, is looted from an Indian temple and maliciously bequeathed to Rachel Verinder. On her eighteenth birthday, her friend and suitor Franklin Blake brings the gift to her. That very night, it is stolen again. No one is above suspicion, as the idiosyncratic Sergeant Cuff and the Franklin piece together a puzzling series of events as mystifying as an opium dream and as deceptive as the nearby Shivering Sand. The intricate plot and modern technique of multiple narrators made Wilkie Collins's 1868 work a huge success in the Victorian sensation genre. With a reconstruction of the crime, red herrings and a 'locked-room' puzzle, The Moonstone was also a major precursor of the modern mystery novel.

In her introduction Sandra Kemp explores The Moonstone's the detective elements of Collins's writing, and reveals how Collins's sensibilities were untypical of his era.

Wilkie Collins (1824-1889) was born in London in 1824, the eldest son of the landscape painter William Collins. In 1846 he was entered to read for the bar at Lincoln's Inn, where he gained the knowledge that was to give him much of the material for his writing. From the early 1850s he was a friend of Charles Dickens, who produced and acted in two melodramas written by Collins, The Lighthouse and The Frozen Deep. Of his novels, Collins is best remembered for The Woman in White (1859), No Name (1862), Armadale (1866) and The Moonstone (1868).

If you enjoyed The Moonstone you might like Collins's The Woman in White, also available in Penguin Classics.

'Probably the very finest detective story ever written'
Dorothy L. Sayers

'The first, the longest and the best of modern modern English detective novels'
T.S. Eliot

Armadale

Wilkie Collins (and others)

An innovative novel featuring an astonishingly wicked female villain, Wilkie Collins's Armadale was regarded by T.S. Eliot as 'the best of [his] romances'. This Penguin Classics edition is edited with an introduction and notes by John Sutherland.

When the elderly Allan Armadale makes a terrible confession on his death-bed, he has little idea of the repercussions to come, for the secret he reveals involves the mysterious Lydia Gwilt: flame-haired temptress, bigamist, laudanum addict and husband-poisoner. Her malicious intrigues fuel the plot of this gripping melodrama: a tale of confused identities, inherited curses, romantic rivalries, espionage, money - and murder. The character of Lydia Gwilt horrified contemporary critics, with one reviewer describing her as 'One of the most hardened female villains whose devices and desires have ever blackened fiction'. She remains among the most enigmatic and fascinating women in nineteenth-century literature and the dark heart of this most sensational of Victorian 'sensation novels'.

John Sutherland's introduction illustrated how Wilkie Collins drew on scandalous newspaper headlines and on new technology particularly the penny post and the telegraph - to lend extra pace and veracity to his tale. This edition also contains notes, further reading and an appendix on stage dramatisations of Armadale.

Wilkie Collins (1824-1889) was born in London in 1824, the eldest son of the landscape painter William Collins. In 1846 he was entered to read for the bar at Lincoln's Inn, where he gained the knowledge that was to give him much of the material for his writing. From the early 1850s he was a friend of Charles Dickens, who produced and acted in two melodramas written by Collins, The Lighthouse and The Frozen Deep. Of his novels, Collins is best remembered for The Woman in White (1859), No Name (1862), Armadale (1866) and The Moonstone (1868).

If you enjoyed Armadale, you might like Collins's No Name, also available in Penguin Classics.

Biography

Wilkie Collins was born in London in 1824, the eldest son of the landscape painter William Collins. In 1846, having spent five years in the tea business, he was entered to read for the bar at Lincoln's Inn, where he gained the legal knowledge that was to give him much material for his writing.

From the early fifties, he was a friend of Charles Dickens, acting with him, contributing to Household Words, travelling with him on the Continent. Dickens produced and acted in two melodramas written by Collins, The Lighthouse (1855) and The Frozen Deep (1857).

Collins is best remembered for his novels, particularly The Woman in White (1860) and The Moonstone (1868), which T. S. Eliot called 'the first, the longest, and the best of modern English detective novels'. His later, and at the time rather sensational, novels include The New Magdalen (1873) and The Law and The Lady (1875). Collins also braved the moral censure of the Victorian age by keeping two women (and their households) while marrying neither. He died in 1889.