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The Dead Secret (Oxford World's Classics) Paperback – 10 Jul 2008


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Product details

  • Paperback: 416 pages
  • Publisher: Oxford Paperbacks; New Ed. / edition (10 July 2008)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0199536716
  • ISBN-13: 978-0199536719
  • Product Dimensions: 19.3 x 2.3 x 12.4 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (40 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 283,401 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Wilkie Collins was born in London in 1824, the eldest son of the landscape painter William Collins. In 1846, having spent five years in the tea business, he was entered to read for the bar at Lincoln's Inn, where he gained the legal knowledge that was to give him much material for his writing.

From the early fifties, he was a friend of Charles Dickens, acting with him, contributing to Household Words, travelling with him on the Continent. Dickens produced and acted in two melodramas written by Collins, The Lighthouse (1855) and The Frozen Deep (1857).

Collins is best remembered for his novels, particularly The Woman in White (1860) and The Moonstone (1868), which T. S. Eliot called 'the first, the longest, and the best of modern English detective novels'. His later, and at the time rather sensational, novels include The New Magdalen (1873) and The Law and The Lady (1875). Collins also braved the moral censure of the Victorian age by keeping two women (and their households) while marrying neither. He died in 1889.


Product Description

About the Author

Ira B. Nadel is Professor of English at the University of British Columbia in Vancouver.

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Customer Reviews

4.2 out of 5 stars

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

57 of 58 people found the following review helpful By stephanie@sfarr.fsnet.co.uk on 17 April 2001
Format: Paperback
Anyone who has enjoyed Wilkie Collins' better known novels, and is looking to venture into new Collins territory, should enjoy this tale.
We are on familiar Collins terrain - an air of suspense haunts the narrative, there is a strong female lead and there is a mystery to be unraveled. What is not so familiar is the spelling out of that mystery - the dead secret of the title - fairly early on in the book.
However, as ever, Collins is the consummate storyteller and the reader remains gripped by seeing just how the various threads of the plot will be unraveled. For a mystery solved in part one, there is plenty to keep the reader page turning to the very end.
The novel was serialized in Household Words, and the Dickensian links are there for all to see. Particularly in characters such as the genial Uncle Joseph, or the stiff and pompous steward Mr Munder.
However, Collins is a strong writer in his own right. I do my reading on a commuter train to London, and the nicest thing about this book is it's delightful escapism - it is very absorbing and intelligent without being over-taxing.
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11 of 11 people found the following review helpful By Mr. T. Harvey on 23 Aug. 2009
Format: Paperback
Warning: this review contains spoilers

This is another of those early Wilkie Collins' novels which display many of the themes and preoccupations which found fruit in his greatest novels 'The Woman in White' and 'The Moonstone' - a strong narrative drive and bags of atmosphere.

The secret is easy to fathom early on, but that does not detract from enjoying the novel.

Highlights are the account of Mrs Treverton's death, the description of the ruined mansion Porthgenna Tower and the discovery of a document in a room unopened for many years, an excellent piece of writing where Collins really racks up the tension.

There are also a strong set of characters: the tortured Sarah Leeson, her supportive Uncle Joseph who carries a music box with him everywhere, the forceful Rosamond Frankland; even the servants at Porthgenna, Mrs Pentreath and Mr Munder, are strongly individualised.

A rattling good yarn.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By Lyn on 12 Mar. 2011
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I'm a big Dickens enthusiast and had only read The Woman in White and The Moonstone and had just consigned Wilkie Collins to the 'also rans' of literary history. However, after reading Drood by Dan Simmons I thought I would give him another chance and I really enjoyed The Dead Secret. It was easy to read and fun and mysterious. I also loved the Oxford World Classics edition due to its beautiful, atmospheric cover and have lent it to my Kindle addicted mother to remind her how wonderful books can be!
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13 of 15 people found the following review helpful By NICK S on 17 Oct. 2010
Format: Kindle Edition
This review applies specifically to the Kindle edition:

Wilkie Collins was a genius, and I was really looking forward to reading this book in the certainty that it was going to be great. Unfortunately, the Kindle edition is littered with typographical and formatting errors, rendering it unreadable. I don't expect to pay £3 for the pleasure and can't believe Amazon don't exert any sort of quality control over products offered in the Kindle store.

My advice: go buy the paper edition, I'm sure it's amazing. But stay well clear of ths digital download.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By David on 10 Nov. 2012
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
He's not a Dickens or a Trollope but he has his own unique style and knows how to spin a tale and keep the reader gripped. I couldn't put it down once I started reading it. If you like the romantic Victorian genre with a touch of the Gothic you'll love this sentimental tale of suspense. Shame about the many typos in this Kindle edition but they don't detract from the enjoyment
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10 of 12 people found the following review helpful By Jean Mary on 26 July 2012
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
It was a real treat to receive a book that one could really get into from the very beginning. Maybe it was a little drawn out in places,but the description of people and places kept ones attention the whole time. No swearing, no violence, no sex, just a lovely old fashioned story that kept you guessing until the very end. (Although of course one had ideas!). Thank you Wilkie Collins, your "Dead Secret" kept me very much "alive" until the end.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By canoesailor on 2 Oct. 2013
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
Wilkie Collins rarely disappoints and this book keeps up his standard, a little too sugary for my taste but the quality of writing and storytelling is as good as always
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Grainne on 8 Sept. 2013
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
A little gem,beautiful visual descriptions told to us in a really lovely gentle story that could bring a tear to your eyes
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