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The Evil Genius | [Wilkie Collins]

The Evil Genius

Wilkie Collins' most financially successful novel, The Evil Genius, opens with a jury determining the fate of a sea captain whose ship allegedly facilitated a diamond theft. The story develops into a powerful novel of Victorian private life, including deception, adultery, and divorce...
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Publisher's Summary

Wilkie Collins' most financially successful novel, The Evil Genius, opens with a jury determining the fate of a sea captain whose ship allegedly facilitated a diamond theft. The story develops into a powerful novel of Victorian private life, including deception, adultery, and divorce.

An 'evil genius' is threatening to rip apart the fabric of the Linley home. Who is it and why? Is it the orphaned young governess for whom the father lusts; the brother-in-law who appears to help everyone, but often succeeds in making things worse; the meddling mother-in-law whose good-intentioned interferences lead to greater heartache; the disloyal father, or perhaps the unassuming daughter?

©2000 Tantor Media Incorporated

What Members Say

Average Customer Rating

3.2 (39 )
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3.7 (11 )
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3.0 (12 )
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Performance
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  •  
    Margaret Glenside, PA USA 06-06-07
    Margaret Glenside, PA USA 06-06-07
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Story is fine, but not a mystery."

    I think the description is misleading. The novel begins as if it will be a mystery (like The Moonstone or The Woman in White)but the "mystery" only introduces the main character and is never explored after that. Enjoyable nevertheless, except for the narrator whose women's voices made me cringe.

    10 of 10 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Shelly M. Felton Gainesville. FL 01-13-09
    Shelly M. Felton Gainesville. FL 01-13-09 Member Since 2005

    shellian731

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    "Ruined by inept narration"

    Lest any reader be deceived by the title of this book, the "evil genius" refers to a general evil spirit or bad influence among the characters, rather than one malevolent person. This is a fairly well-written Victorian melodrama. Interest in the storyline is impeded by narration which is so ridiculously inept, so comically bad, as to induce amazed laughter. Personally, if it were my job to choose a narrator for a novel set in Victorian England and Scotland, I would not choose an American reader with a speech impediment. The Scottish characters sound like an amalgamation of a Swedish Chef, Charlie Chan and the Lucky Charms Leprecaun. The female characters are voiced in breathy falsetto. Every word ending in "ing" is mispronounced. "Singing while walking in the evening" sounds like "Singeen while walkeen in the eveneen." Amazingly, the story was interesting enough for me to accept and overlook these annoyances.
    Far better novels available from Audible with similar themes and plotlines comprise The Forsyte Saga, by (Nobel Prize winner) John Galsworthy. The narration of these novels is far better as well.

    5 of 5 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Monica Warren, RI, United States 06-20-07
    Monica Warren, RI, United States 06-20-07 Member Since 2004
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    "Bad reader"

    I really enjoy Wilkie Collins' Vistorian potboilers; they're full of sly humor and mysterious doings, and his characterizations are great. Too bad I couldn't get past the reading on this one. As said by previous reviewer, women's voices are cringeworthy. So are the rest. Weird accents and a delivery that makes me suspect that reader was seeing the book for the first time. Had to give up.

    8 of 9 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Laurie Santa Monica, CA, United States 06-21-10
    Laurie Santa Monica, CA, United States 06-21-10
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "EVIL GENIUS"

    liked the story. The reader was strange though. First of all, I would have preferred it be read by an English man instead of an American one. The reader changed his voice for the characters in a way that was distracting and sometimes ridiculous. He pronounced Edinburgh wrong and it's that kind of simple thing that makes you lose confidence in the reader. His intonation was often off, too. So, though I enjoyed this simple tale, I would have much preferred it to be read by Simon Vance or Martin Jarvis.

    3 of 3 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Claire Smiths Falls, ON, Canada 09-17-12
    Claire Smiths Falls, ON, Canada 09-17-12 Member Since 2010
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "great story"

    This is a fun little story and would make a great movie: the characters are well developed, interesting and multi-faceted, the story has twists and turns and it all ends happily ever after. It’s funny too. Maybe I’ll try my hand at screenplay-writing…. “and the Oscar for best adaptation of a novel goes to….”

    1 of 2 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Sarah HOUSTON, TX, United States 08-06-12
    Sarah HOUSTON, TX, United States 08-06-12 Member Since 2004
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    "Bad Reader"
    What did you like best about The Evil Genius? What did you like least?

    The insight into late 19th century life. I liked the reader least


    What was your reaction to the ending? (No spoilers please!)

    Not good by 21st century mores.


    Who would you have cast as narrator instead of John Bolen?

    Almost anyone, but certainly British


    Did The Evil Genius inspire you to do anything?

    Be glad I live in the 21st century


    Any additional comments?

    I have made a note never to listen to anything read by John Bolen.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    06-25-08
    06-25-08 Member Since 2007
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    "nice, campy"

    This book is read in an excellent campy style that perfectly fits the weird Victorian campiness of the tale. It's a good story and of historical interest in its treatment of divorce and custody issues.

    0 of 1 people found this review helpful
  • Showing: 1-7 of 7 results
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  • Annie
    Le Vigan, France
    1/3/08
    Overall
    "Reading skills"

    I am a fan of Wilkie Collins and looked forward to this book. I'm afraid I found it dreadful and would not have given a star rating at all. It is not simply that the narrator is American but that he does not have the reading skills necessary to make the text 'live'. His attempts at an English accent - several different characters required - and female voices would be comic if they weren't so irritating. I've listened to Americans reading English novels before - including other Wilkie Collins' - and have not found that hindrance to enjoyment. This particular reading, however, is impossible to finish. Such a disappointment.

    3 of 3 people found this review helpful
  • Ann
    Liverpool, United Kingdom
    3/24/11
    Overall
    "Dreadful"

    I love Wilkie Collins novels but this was good story totally ruined by the narration - Dreadful accents - laughable really - a total waste of time and money. A rare dislike of an Audible book.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  • Eleanor
    Glasgow, Scotland, United Kingdom
    5/15/10
    Overall
    "Awful!"

    I so agree with the other reviews. I love Wilkie Collins but this version was truly dire. The reader's American voice was bad enough when reading the narration but any attempt at characterisation or accents - male or female was grim.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  • Rosslyn
    Berwick upon Tweed, Northumberland, United Kingdom
    9/29/05
    Overall
    "the evil genius - wilkie collins"

    why on earth is the narrator american? totally spoils a wonderful british novel!

    3 of 4 people found this review helpful
  • Showing: 1-4 of 4 results

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