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Late one moonlit night, Walter Hartright encounters a solitary and terrified woman dressed all in white. He saves her from capture by her pursuers and determines to solve the mystery of her distress and terror.
Inspired by an actual criminal case, this gripping tale of murder, intrigue, madness and mistaken identity has never been out of print since its publication and brought Collins great fame and success. Considered to be among the first mystery novels and the first and finest in the genre of 'sensation novels', The Woman in White is noted for its suspenseful plot and unique characterisation.
Collins's use of multiple narrators drew on his legal training and he states 'the story of an offence against the laws is told in Court by more than one witness'.
In 2003, Robert McCrum writing for The Observer ranked The Woman in White number 23 in the top 100 greatest novels of all time. The novel was also listed at number 77 on the BBC's survey The Big Read.
Charles Dickens was a close friend and mentor of Collins, and the two collaborated together on drama and fiction. The Woman in White, as well as some of his other work, was first published in Dickens' journals.
Sir Ian Holm, is a star of the Royal Shakespeare Company, who has played more than 100 roles in films and on television, whilst receiving a stream of awards and nominations. His television debut came as Richard III on the BBC's filmed theatrical production The Wars of the Roses (1965). One of his best-known roles is Sam Mussabini in Chariots of Fire (1981). He has also starred in The Fifth Element (1997), From Hell (2001), The Aviator (2004) and as Bilbo Baggins in The Lord of the Rings and The Hobbit films. He has provided voice-overs for many television documentaries including 1066: The Battle for Middle Earth (2009), starred in the BBC's The Lord of the Rings radio dramatisations and narrated many audiobooks. In 1989 he was appointed CBE and in 1998 was knighted for his services to drama.
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