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Not highly interesting product of Collins "training period" as a novelist
on 19 June 2015
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.