Mystery saturates the most ordinary objects and seemingly ordinary persons in the opening chapters, and that's before the main plot has begun to take shape. Physical appearance turns out not to be what is seems, for one. And who is the mysterious woman in white?
Here's one of the novel's first sentences:
"But the Law is still, in certain inevitable cases, the pre-engaged servant of the long purse..."
"`Never mind,' says the golden barbarian of a Papa, `never mind about his genius, Mr. Pesca. We don't want genius in this country, unless it is accompanied by respectability.'"and
"The driver was evidently discomposed by the lateness of my arrival. He was in that state of highly-respectful sulkiness which is peculiar to English servants."and
"Some of us rush through life; and some of us saunter through life. Mrs. Vesey sat through life."
"To see such a face as this set on shoulders that a sculptor would have longed to model ... was to feel a sensation oddly akin to the helpless discomfort familiar to us all in sleep, when we recognize yet cannot reconcile the anomalies and contradictions of a dream."(Here's the beginning of a discussion of Collins' contributions to crime fiction.)
© Peter Rozovsky 2010