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The Woman in White | [Wilkie Collins]

The Woman in White

One of the greatest mystery thrillers ever written, Wilkie Collins's The Woman in White was a phenomenal best seller in the 1860s, achieving even greater success than works by Charles Dickens. Full of surprise, intrigue, and suspense, this vastly entertaining novel continues to enthrall audiences today.
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Publisher's Summary

One of the greatest mystery thrillers ever written, Wilkie Collins's The Woman in White was a phenomenal best seller in the 1860s, achieving even greater success than works by Charles Dickens. Full of surprise, intrigue, and suspense, this vastly entertaining novel continues to enthrall audiences today.

The story begins with an eerie midnight encounter between artist Walter Hartright and a ghostly woman dressed all in white who seems desperate to share a dark secret. The next day Hartright, engaged as a drawing master to the beautiful Laura Fairlie and her half sister, tells his pupils about the strange events of the previous evening.

Determined to learn all they can about the mysterious woman in white, the three soon find themselves drawn into a chilling vortex of crime, poison, kidnapping, and international intrigue.

Masterfully constructed, The Woman in White is dominated by two of the finest creations in all Victorian fiction: Marion Halcombe, dark, mannish, yet irresistibly fascinating, and Count Fosco, the sinister and flamboyant "Napoleon of Crime".

Public Domain (P)2010 Tantor

What the Critics Say

"Collins's mid-Victorian novel is one of the first, and possibly still the greatest, of all literary thrillers." (The Irish Times)

What Members Say

Average Customer Rating

4.1 (980 )
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4.3 (789 )
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Performance
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  •  
    Erica Laguna Niguel, CA, United States 11-06-11
    Erica Laguna Niguel, CA, United States 11-06-11 Member Since 2011
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "An interesting read that held my attention"

    I like to rate books based on how excited I feel about diving back in each day and this story did not disappoint. Highly recommend for Jane Austen readers.

    6 of 6 people found this review helpful
  •  
    HIII Grants Pass, OR, United States 10-24-11
    HIII Grants Pass, OR, United States 10-24-11 Member Since 2010
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    "very enjoyable"

    In spite of being 3 segements long this tale keeps the listener in suspense through out. The use of several different narriators to move the story along is fun, interesting and well written. It was a surprise when both "good guys" and "bad guys" wrote their part of the adventure. I think this was the best book of the summer!

    4 of 4 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Anthony United States 02-09-13
    Anthony United States 02-09-13 Member Since 2009
    HELPFUL VOTES
    77
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    Story
    "Downton Abbey meets Sam Spade"

    OK it's long but if you like listening to eloquent English it's for you. Villian's , sleuths, victims, innocents, love , passion, longing, regret and victory need I say more. Very easy listening but it really is Raymond Chandler stretched out over time. Part of me wanted the guys to grab the dames and waste the villian. Worth listening to overall.

    3 of 3 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Judith Kiama, Australia 09-12-13
    Judith Kiama, Australia 09-12-13 Member Since 2012
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Early Mystery in Classic English Fiction"

    As a fan of the detective genre, I enjoy reading the early fiction tracing the development from Poe to the present and on both sides of the Atlantic. This is considered to be one of the earliest examples of British detective fiction.

    To put this into a time line, Edgar Allen Poe wrote 'Murders at the Rue Morgue' (considered to be the first detective story) in 1841 in the United States. Sherlock Holmes didn't show up in London in 1887. In 1860, in England, Charles Dickens began the serial publication of 'Great Expectations' and Wilkie Collins wrote "The Woman in White'.

    Written in the tradition of British romantic fiction, this book is full of love and loss, evil and retribution and it takes a detective to bring it all together. I loved the book, it is a literary treasure, long and lovely and full of twists and turns, reversals that are typical of the era.

    2 of 2 people found this review helpful
  •  
    InsideADog Goleta, CA 08-05-13
    InsideADog Goleta, CA 08-05-13 Member Since 2009
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "OK Considering How It Was Written"

    This was released in pieces for a regular publication. To that end sometimes the author seemed to be trying to make a word quota for the week. I found myself yelling "OK, she's beautiful, we get it." After getting well into it that seemed to ease up and I was compelled to finish the book. The story had plenty of depth and plot. The readers were fantastic, carried the story well.

    2 of 2 people found this review helpful
  •  
    cristina Somerville, MA, United States 03-25-13
    cristina Somerville, MA, United States 03-25-13 Member Since 2009
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Fun classic mystery"

    I had read this book years and years ago. Fortunately, I had totally forgotten the plot so I was able to enjoy it 'fresh' in its audible form. I love Wilkie Collins -- and Simon Prebble and Josephine Bailey do a great job with the narration.

    2 of 2 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Sherri Guildford, Australia 11-16-12
    Sherri Guildford, Australia 11-16-12 Member Since 2009

    Australian, living in beautiful central Victoria. Audio book addict otherwise fairly well balanced.

    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "She's been and gone."

    A phenomenal best seller in its day, this book is engaging as a great example of the behaviour of the era. Very well written and retains enough mystery to attach to it but the inability of the women at the centre of the story to cope emotionally with the ongoing dramas was thoroughly annoying. Falling about with the vapours was obviously an accepted reaction in those days, doesn't wash now.

    2 of 2 people found this review helpful
  •  
    07-28-12
    07-28-12 Member Since 2010
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    "Worth a listen, maybe two"
    What did you love best about The Woman in White?

    It was an interesting story and I liked the change of character narration, so you experienced the events through the perspectives of different characters. I thought it layed out a few good story threads within the overall mystery and kept a good pace, even though it is long book.


    Which scene was your favorite?

    I liked how the ended played out.


    Was this a book you wanted to listen to all in one sitting?

    It's too long to do that! You will want avoid putting down for too long though because you don't want to forget where you are in the story, as it builds upon earlier accounts of other narrators.


    Any additional comments?

    Some people commented that having both male and female narrators (for different chapters or sections of the book) was distracting, but I didn't have a problem with it and I think it worked well.

    I may listen to this book again. I found this book needing more of my full attention than some other books, so I'm sure I missed some interesting bits along the way.

    2 of 2 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Bergljot Mosfellsbaer, Iceland 06-12-14
    Bergljot Mosfellsbaer, Iceland 06-12-14 Member Since 2009
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    "Very good value!"

    This is a classic. I read it more than 40 years ago and it still kept me glued to the (this time) headphones. On the whole the narration was good although sometimes I wished that Simon Preble would clear his throat a bit.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Polly Philadelphia, PA, United States 04-07-14
    Polly Philadelphia, PA, United States 04-07-14 Member Since 2010

    An avid reader, demanding of the story, characters and narrator. Mysteries and historical fiction are my favorites.

    HELPFUL VOTES
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    Story
    "British High Society and a Mystery"

    Two identical women, apparently unrelated by blood? A great love, set aside due to the rules of high society? A great fortune side by side with common poverty? A baronet with a great secret? A mysterious foreigner who may be a member of a secret Italian society? Yes to all of these compelling elements of a novel written in 1859 and considered by some to be a forerunner to the modern detective story.

    In 2003, Robert McCrum writing for The Observer listed The Woman in White number 23 in "the top 100 greatest novels of all time," and the novel was listed at number 77 on the BBC's survey The Big Read. Many movies have been made of this story over the years.

    It is simply a great tale. I enjoyed it and highly recommend it.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
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