A suspense novel, The Woman In White was among the first mystery novels and is today considered one of the best in this genre.
Summary Of The Book
The protagonist of The Woman In White is Walter Hartright, who is a drawing master by profession. Due to the recommendation of his friend Professor Pesca, Walter is successful in securing a position as a drawing master in Cumberland. However, while walking home on his last evening in London, he meets a mysterious woman, Anne Catherick, who looks troubled and is dressed in white. Walter helps her, but later comes to know that she had just escaped from an asylum. The next day, Walter goes to Limmeridge House where he meets Mr. Frederick Fairlie and his niece Laura Fairlie, as well as Marian Halcombe, Frederick’s half sister.
Hartright feels that Laura and Anne Catherick resemble each other a lot. Later, it turns out that Anne spent her childhood in Cumberland and was extremely attached to Laura’s mother who used to dress in white. Soon, Hartright and Laura fall in love. However, Laura is bound by a promise to her dead father that she will marry Sir Percival Glyde. Anne Catherick sends a letter to Laura warning her against Glyde and is wrongly convinced that Glyde and Anne were in love and was responsible for sending her to the asylum. Soon Laura and Glyde marry, and Hartright leaves for an expedition to Honduras.
After their honeymoon, Glyde and Laura return to their home in Hampshire accompanied by Glyde’s friend Count Fosco, who is also married to Laura’s aunt. Marian is also living with them and learns that Glyde is facing a lot financial difficulties. After unsuccessfully bullying Laura into signing documents that would allow him to use their marriage settlement amount, Glyde begins to look for other deceptive ways to earn the money.
Glyde and Fosco come up with a sinister plan as a solution to their problems. What happens next? Do Glyde and Fosco become successful in their plan? What happens to Hartright? What is the relationship between Laura and Anne? The Woman In White answers all these and more in a highly intriguing manner.
Considered as the first mystery novel to be published, the techniques used by the protagonist Walter Hartright are similar to those used by private detectives later. In 2003, Robert McCrum listed The Woman In White at position 23 in the top 100 greatest novels of all time. The book has also been adapted into a number of plays, films, video games and television series.
About Wilkie Collins
Wilkie Collins is a popular English novelist and playwright.
Collins has also authored Basil, The Frozen Deep, No Name, The Moonstone, and Man and Wife.
Wilkie Collins was a law student at London’s Lincoln’s Inn. Though he never practiced law in a professional manner, he soon took up writing as his profession. He met and collaborated with Charles Dickens on a number of short stories. Collins died on September 23, 1889 after a long struggle with opium.
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