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Hide and Seek (Oxford World's Classics) Paperback – 28 May 2009

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Product details

  • Paperback: 480 pages
  • Publisher: Oxford Paperbacks; Reissue edition (28 May 2009)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0199555613
  • ISBN-13: 978-0199555611
  • Product Dimensions: 19.6 x 2.3 x 12.7 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 2.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (6 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 777,854 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

A popular and influential English novelist, dramatist, and short story writer, Wilkie Collins (1824-1889) was the son of a famous landscape painter, William Collins. Renowned for his sensational mysteries and romances, he is hailed as the inventor of the detective novel. Collins was a lawyer by training. Among his most famous works are The Woman in White (1860), and The Moonstone (1867), and No Name (1862). --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

8 of 9 people found the following review helpful By corncrake on 20 April 2008
Format: Paperback
This novel from 1854, published six years before The Woman in White shows Wilkie Collins still finding his feet. He claims it was written in reaction to reviewers who said he couldn't `do' character; and unfortunately, the book, at this stage in his career at least, proves the critics had a point. Madonna Blyth, the orphaned deaf and dumb girl, whose origins are revealed in the climax to the plot, is boringly virtuous - actually, she's beyond boring: she's excruciating! - and many of the other characters are either implausible or dislikeable.

Originally, the novel was longer than the version available here; Collins cut it considerably for its republication, which is actually an advantage since the first half is really rather dull, not at all a page turner. Of course, there are some promising signs of things to come: for example, an effectively suspenseful scene where Madonna, who is afraid of the dark, is alone at dead of night when an intruder blows out her candle flame. I liked the descriptions of the artistic household of Valentine Blyth; and there are some good comic set-pieces. But also, rather tediously, there is quite a lot of female and familial piety, which Collins assumes will interest and absorb the reader much more than it does.
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Format: Paperback
Hide and Seek, also known as The Mystery of Mary Grice, is a very early work by Collins - in fact only the almost unreadable Antonina (set in ancient Rome) and Basil predate it. The plot hinges on a number of coincidences and assumptions that stretch the readers' supsension of disbelief to the limit. The truth is Mary Grice is not a mystery at all, the reader will guess most if not all the resolution at an early stage. Mary Grice herself is not very interesting, and the emotions she stirs up and fascination she generates in her adoptive father strike a modern reader as creepy to say the least. The "hero" Zack is one of those young men who can take nothing seriously and who one longs to slap. There is a patronising and belittling attitude towards most of the women, who are regarded as only a little superior to household pets, it seems (in Darwin's words "better than a dog, anyway"), epitomised by Zack's greeting to the girl known as Madonna (because of her resemblance to a Raphael Madonna) "how is the dearest, sweetest, gentlest love in the world?" (They are not a couple by the way at any point). Any girl who will allow a man to address her thus deserves all she gets in condescension.
Those who, like me, are reading "complete works of..."(Collins is my next author now I've finished Trollope) will press on, the rest should pass on to The Woman in White, or No Name.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By music lover on 12 Jun. 2011
Format: Paperback
While not in the same class as No Name, this is a well written and moving novel. It shows Collins as against the constraints of religion and the snobbery attached to art criticism. It shows his great humanity.
The characters are well defined and loveable. I cannot share the criticism of the other reviewers - some of the gothic plots in Collins's novels beggar description - this one is fairly down to earth.
As with so many of his works - wait for a winter's afternoon, curl up by the fire and enjoy!
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