A Victorian "Hustle",
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This review is from: No Name (Kindle Edition)
Warning: This book contains excessive melodrama, improbable coincidence and unrealistic situations.
Despite that, it's great fun to read, once you've got through the first part where Collins is so over the top with the sentiment that it falls into parody (which may have been its intention - there is a lot of humour in all his novels). The death of Mrs Vanstone and her newly born son reminded me of Oscar Wilde's comment on the death of Dicken's Little Nell "One would have to have a heart of stone to read the death of little Nell without dissolving into tears...of laughter."
Once that's over though, it moves into a fast paced story as Magdalen and her confidence trickster ally Captain Wragge do battle with the equally scheming Mrs Lecount for the fortune. Collins is a great writer of suspense and each chapter puts one or other character at an advantage - a true "page turner".
Collins isn't a great one for developing character - we don't really know much more about Magdalen at the end of the story than we do at the beginning. But despite these criticisms it's still far better than many modern thrillers, and as other reviewers have said would make an excellent TV series.