Oops. I was looking over my last post, and I thought, 'where's The Moonstone'? I'm sure The Suspicions of Mr Whicher talks about that book too. So I went to check and sure enough. The Woman in White was being published by Charles Dickens' magazine, the 33rd instalment, as Det Whicher gets on the train for Road Hill that July 1860 evening. The Moonstone wasn't written yet. Here is what the very first page of The Suspicions of Mr Whicher, which is the introduction, has to say:
"The Road Hill case turned everyone detective. It riveted the people of England, hundreds of whom wrote to the newspapers, to the Home Secretary and to Scotland Yard with their solutions. It helped shape the fiction of the 1860s and beyond, most obviously Wilkie Collins' The Moonstone, which was described by TS Eliot as the first and best of all English detective novels. Whicher was the inspiration for that story's cryptic Sergeant Cuff, who has influenced nearly every detective hero since. Elements of the case surfaced in Charles Dicken's last, unfinished novel, The Mystery of Edwin Drood." Introduction. (bold sentence is mine, for emphasis!!)
The Woman in White is more gothic in tone, as I recall. It certainly doesn't feature the police investigation so prominently, as The Moonstone does. And I have read both books, so I have no excuse for mixing them up in my review, but alas, I kept getting interrupted by my kids and husband that night while I was writing the post......and I didn't do a final check in the book. So, for those of who about to read The Woman in White thinking it is the best and first detective novel, please don't!!! It's The Moonstone.
So please accept my apologies! The Woman in White is a fun read, but it's not a detective story!