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The Law and the Lady [NOOK Book]

Overview

By 1875, Wilkie Collins' reputation as the leading practitioner of "sensation fiction" had already been established. The Law and the Lady builds on that tradition by introducing one of English literature's earliest women detectives, Valeria Woodville, who investigates the murder of her husband's first wife in the attempt to prove him guiltless. Rich in plot and characters, including the extraordinary "manmachine" Miserrimus Dexter and his female cousin, "Ariel," the novel exposes the repression of Victorian ...
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The Law and the Lady

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Overview

By 1875, Wilkie Collins' reputation as the leading practitioner of "sensation fiction" had already been established. The Law and the Lady builds on that tradition by introducing one of English literature's earliest women detectives, Valeria Woodville, who investigates the murder of her husband's first wife in the attempt to prove him guiltless. Rich in plot and characters, including the extraordinary "manmachine" Miserrimus Dexter and his female cousin, "Ariel," the novel exposes the repression of Victorian domestic life and marriage.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780191605864
  • Publisher: Oxford University Press, UK
  • Publication date: 9/10/1992
  • Series: Oxford World's Classics Series
  • Sold by: Barnes & Noble
  • Format: eBook
  • File size: 3 MB

Meet the Author

Wilkie Collins

Wilkie (William) Collins (1824-89) was a hugely successful and popular crime, mystery and suspense writer. He wrote the first full-length detective novels in English and set a mould for the genre as shown in The Moonstone and The Woman in White.

David Skilton teaches at the University of Wales, Cardiff.

Biography

Wilkie Collins has long been overshadowed by his friend and collaborator Charles Dickens -- unfortunately for readers who have consequently not discovered one of literature's most compelling writers. His novels are ceremonious and none too brief; they are also irresistible. Take the opening lines of his 1852 story of marital deceit, Basil: "What am I now about to write? The history of little more than the events of one year, out of the twenty-four years of my life. Why do I undertake such an employment as this? Perhaps, because I think that my narrative may do good; because I hope that, one day, it may be put to some warning use." It's a typical Collins opening, one that draws the reader in with a tone that's personal, but carries formality and import.

With his long, frizzy black beard and wide, sloping forehead, Collins looked like a grandfatherly type, even in his 30s. But his thinking and lifestyle were unconventional, even a bit ahead of his time. His characters (particularly the women) have a Henry James–like predilection for bucking social mores, and he occasionally found his work under attack by morality-mongers. Collins was well aware of his books' potential to offend certain Victorian sensibilities, and there is evidence in some of his writings that he was prepared for it, if not welcoming of it. He writes in the preface to Armadale, his 1866 novel about a father's deathbed murder confession, "Estimated by the clap-trap morality of the present day, this may be a very daring book. Judged by the Christian morality which is of all time, it is only a book that is daring enough to speak the truth."

Collins began his career by writing his painter father's biography. He gained popularity when he began publishing stories and serialized novels in Dickens's publications, Household Words and All the Year Round. His best-known works are The Woman in White and The Moonstone, both of which -- along with Basil -- have been made into films.

Collins often alludes to fantastic, supernatural happenings in his stories; the events themselves are usually borne out by reasonable explanations. What remains are the electrifying effects one human being can have upon another, for better and for worse. His main characters are often described in terms such as "remarkable," "extraordinary," and "singular," lending their actions -- and thereby the story -- a special urgency. In one of his great successes, 1860's The Woman in White, Collins spins what is basically a magnificent con story into something almost ghostly: The fates of two look-alike women -- a beautiful, well-off woman and a poor insane-asylum escapee -- are intertwined and manipulated by two evil men. One of those is among the best fictional villains ever created, the kill-‘em-with-kindness Count Fosco. Fosco is emblematic of another Collins hallmark -- antagonists who manage to throw their victims off guard by some powerful charm of personality or appearance.

The Moonstone, published in 1868, is regarded by many to be the first English detective novel. Starring the unassuming Sergeant Cuff, it follows the trail of a sought-after yellow diamond from India that has fallen into the wrong hands. Like The Woman in White, the novel is told in multiple first person narratives that display Collins's gift for distinctive and often humorous voices. Whether it is servants, foreigners, or the wealthy, Collins is an equal-opportunity satirist who quietly but deftly pokes fun at human foibles even as he draws nuanced, memorable characters.

Though The Woman in White and The Moonstone are Collins's standouts, he had a productive, consistent career; the novels Armadale, No Name and Poor Miss Finch are worthwhile reads, and his short stories will particularly appeal to Edgar Allan Poe fans. Fortunately in the case of this underappreciated writer, there are plenty of titles to appreciate.

Good To Know

Collins studied law, and though he never practiced as a lawyer, his knowledge of the subject is evident in his fiction. He also apprenticed with a tea merchant in his pre-publication years.

He was addicted to laudanum, a form of opium that he used to treat his pain from rheumatic gout.

Collins never married, but he had a long-term live-in relationship with one woman, and a second romance that produced three children.

He is named after popular artist Sir David Wilkie; both his parents were painters who counted Samuel Taylor Coleridge and William Wordsworth among their friends.

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    1. Also Known As:
      William Wilkie Collins (full name)
      Wilkie Collins
    1. Date of Birth:
      December 8, 1824
    2. Place of Birth:
      London, England
    1. Date of Death:
      September 23, 1889
    2. Place of Death:
      London, England

Table of Contents

Volume I
I The Bride's Mistake 13
II The Bride's Thoughts 22
III Ramsgate Sands 37
IV On the Way Home 50
V The Landlady's Discovery 62
VI My Own Discovery 70
VII On the Way to the Major 83
VIII The Friend of the Women 97
IX The Defeat of the Major 108
X The Search 128
XI The Return to Life 158
XII The Scotch Verdict 171
XIII The Man's Decision 181
XIV The Woman's Answer 189
Volume II
XV The Story of the Trial. The Preliminaries 209
XVI First Question--Did the Woman Die Poisoned? 213
XVII Second Question--Who Poisoned Her? 239
XVIII Third Question--What Was His Motive? 258
XIX The Evidence for the Defence 282
XX The End of the Trial 291
XXI I See My Way 308
XXII The Major Makes Difficulties 319
XXIII My Mother-in-law Surprises Me 329
XXIV Miserrimus Dexter--First View 339
XXV Miserrimus Dexter--Second View 351
XXVI More of My Obstinacy 372
XXVII Mr Dexter at Home 382
XXVIII In the Dark 399
XXIX In the Light 410
Volume III
XXX The Indictment of Mrs Beauly 427
XXXI The Defence of Mrs Beauly 444
XXXII A Specimen of My Wisdom 457
XXXIII A Specimen of My Folly 462
XXXIV Gleninch 484
XXXV Mr Playmore's Prophecy 495
XXXVI Ariel 510
XXXVII At the Bedside 520
XXXVIII On the Journey Back 539
XXXIX On the Way to Dexter 543
XL Nemesis at Last! 553
XLI Mr Playmore in a New Character 592
XLII More Surprises! 608
XLIII At Last! 619
XLIV Our New Honeymoon 626
XLV The Dust-heap Disturbed 637
XLVI The Crisis Deferred 651
XLVII The Wife's Confession 658
XLVIII What Else Could I Do? 672
XLIX Past and Future 679
L The Last of the Story 691
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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 3
( 18 )
Rating Distribution

5 Star

(4)

4 Star

(3)

3 Star

(3)

2 Star

(2)

1 Star

(6)

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Sort by: Showing all of 18 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted July 30, 2014

    Errors

    This book is riddled with errors. I could barely stand to read on page if it

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted March 9, 2013

    Typos

    There are too many errors in the book to make this an enjoyable read. That is a pity because this Collins is an enjoyable author.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted April 9, 2012

    April9,2012

    Is this book good?

    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted March 9, 2012

    Unreadable

    This is a scanned document and is unreadable!

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted December 15, 2011

    Google could do better!

    A simple spell check would fix most of the typos. If this is what Google does to books, I want no part of it. I was too busy deciphering the words to follow the story.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted November 28, 2011

    BAD typos but good story!

    I had to skip whole paragraphs but i couldnt put it down! I really like this story, i liked the twists and developement of the characters and to find out that i had guessed right over who done it :)

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted April 27, 2011

    Storyline was good

    The copy downloaded to my Nook had a lot of repeat sections. I had to keep fast forwarding through the pages to find where I should actually be to continue with the story. I liked the story but was frustrated with the parts that were repeated sometimes 6 or 7 times per section.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted December 3, 2010

    No text was provided for this review.

  • Anonymous

    Posted August 11, 2010

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    Posted February 9, 2009

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  • Anonymous

    Posted December 5, 2010

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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 27, 2008

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  • Anonymous

    Posted July 10, 2011

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  • Anonymous

    Posted February 6, 2011

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 28, 2011

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  • Anonymous

    Posted February 21, 2011

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  • Anonymous

    Posted August 29, 2011

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  • Anonymous

    Posted August 2, 2011

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