Today marks the birthday of the fine English playwrite and novelist, Wilkie Collins. Born on the 8th January 1824 in London, he became the founder of a genre and one of literatures most adored authors. Although Collins is most famous for the legendary novel, The Woman in White, said to be one of the first mystery novels; his most impressive work was, The Moonstone, published in 1868, making it the first detective novel ever written. He single-handedly created the mystery genre as we know it today.
Wilkie Collins developed a strong friendship with Charles Dickens, who became a kind of mentor to him. During their time as friends, they stayed aty The Royal Kings Arms Hotel in Lancaster (where I work) and collaborated on The Lazy Tour of Two Idle Apprentices, where they describe the hotel as “It was, and is, and will be for many a long year to come, a remarkably picturesque house.” Released in 1857, it was only the beginning for the rising star of literature.
Collins went on to write over twenty-one works of literature, mainly “sensation novels”, a genre seen as the precursor to detective and suspense fiction. For anyone who enjoys reading or writing mystery, his world of intriguing, complicated twists is one that must be explored.
“The books – the generous friends who met me without suspicion – the merciful masters who never used me ill!“