45 of 47 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars
Best of its Kind, 15 Mar. 2006
In response to an earlier review, I have just reached the point where I can read this again, 10 years after first reading it, and I can confirm that it just gets better with time. Wilkie Collins, Dickens, Conan Doyle are all pastiched wonderfully and knowingly in this book, but with a level of interpretation which eludes all but the most observant readers on first reading - myself included. I finished the book on first reading with the nagging feeling that the understanding the narrator arrives at by the end is missing something important - and the joy reading this the second time around is tracking this hidden plot beneath the explicit plot. With the apparent revival of interest in the Victorian mystery in recent years - witness the success of Fingersmith, another great read - I am amazed that this masterpiece is relatively little known. Perhaps it is the 1200 pages that put off casual readers? If you are willing to lose yourself completely for weeks or months, this is the book to do it in.