This story begins in the very best Gothic tradition: at midnight, on a desolate road lit by moonlight.
Humble art teacher Walter Hartwright walks along the track, lost in the thoughts of his travels to Limmeridge House in Cumberland the next morning.
Suddenly, a young woman dressed entirely in white — terrified, beautiful, pleading — materializes from the shadows and lightly touches him on the shoulder. ‘Is that the road to London?’ she asks, and with those six words, Walter is caught up in a twisted world of madness, secrets, and murder.
The plot is intricately revealed through the testimony of various ‘witnesses,’ every chapter moving the story forward with their narration, each with their own secret motivations. There are beleaguered women, dastardly men, sly servants, a hero with a pure heart, and Limmeridge House, the manor that isolates the characters from the rest of the world and conceals dangerous secrets within its walls.
Considered by many literary experts to be the first mystery novel, The Woman in White has never been out of print since it first appeared in Charles Dicken’s journal All the Year Round in 1859.
So the ghostly figure which has haunted these pages, as it haunted my life, goes down into the impenetrable gloom. Like a shadow she first came to me in the loneliness of the night. Like a shadow she passes away in the loneliness of the dead. — Wilkie Collins
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