"The Dead Alive" is a short book originally published in the 1870's. Written during Wilkie Collins reading tour of America, it is based on the true story of 'The trial of Jesse and Stephen Boorne of Manchester, Vermont. The missing body in the story also suggests similarities with The Mystery of Edwin Drood (1870). In "The Dead Alive," Englishman Philip Lefrank visits his distant relations, the Meadowcrofts, in rural America. The family consists of the father, Isaac, two sons, Ambrose and Silas, and a middle-aged daughter. Another member of the household is Naomi Colebrook, Isaac's niece, whom Ambrose wants to marry. John Jago, the farm manager, is also in love with Naomi and there is a strong mutual dislike between Jago and the Meadowcroft brothers. When Jago disappears and remains are found in a lime pit, Ambrose and Silas are arrested for murder. Despite the absence of an identifiable body, they are convicted and sentenced to death. A mysterious story with a surprise (though romantic) ending.