The Woman in White (Penguin Summer Classics)

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9780140439342: The Woman in White (Penguin Summer Classics)

Walter Hartright's chance midnight encounter with a mysterious woman in white is to change his life. When he takes up his duties as drawing teacher to the beautiful Laura Fairlie, he sees in her face an eerie reflection of the forlorn creature he met on the London road. What is the secret that connects the woman in white with Laura and her fiance, the sinister Sir Percival Glyde? And is Sir Percival's charming acquaintance Count Fosco, with his taste for white mice, vanilla bonbons and poison, friend or foe?

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Review:

"The Woman in White," Wilkie Collins's best-selling novel, a white-knuckler and a melodrama, has continued to transfix readers for almost 150 years. Naxos brings six accomplished actors to this story of subjugation, treachery and sleuthing. This is not a dramatized production but, rather, one made up of accounts related in sequence by the book's characters, who are given voice by different actors. Glen McCready takes on Walter Hartright's narrative, and his troubled, slightly vulnerable-sounding tone underscores that this particular drawing master may not be quite man enough to tackle the devious Count Fosco. For that, the story calls on Marian Halcombe, companion to Laura Fairlie -- the intended victim of Fosco's ally, the odious Sir Percival Glyde. As Halcombe, Rachel Bavidge makes her native Tyneside accent a token of that admirable woman's clear-eyed shrewdness and strength. Hugh Dickson reads the solicitor's account and also that of the self-centered, hypochondriacal Frederic Fairlie, upon whose voice he confers a most glorious querulousness. Other parts are beautifully narrated by Marie Collett and Teresa Gallagher. And finally, Allan Corduner is the definitive Fosco, his voice resounding with the timbre of vainglory and projecting all the menace that is so terrifyingly incarnate in the Count's vast frame. --Katherine A Powers, Washington Post

Wilkie Collins's gothic tale of redemptive love and treachery could not be better suited for a full-cast audio, with different characters picking up the story chronologically...Their characterizations of Laura's arrogant husband, the smooth but untrustworthy Italian Count Fosco, and the nervous Mr. Fairlie are both amusing and exactly right. --Maine Portland, Audio File

Written in 1859, this classic mystery is perfect for audio. Impoverished art teacher Walter Hartright accepts a position to teach at a country house and finds himself involved in a sinister plot to relieve heiress Laura Fairlie of her wealth and her sanity. The tireless efforts of stalwart Hartright and Laura s half sister, Marian Holcombe, help save the day. Each of 11 characters, easily identified in a handy cast list, tells his or her story, offering individual perspectives on people and events. The seasoned British actors in this full-cast production play the suspense and emotion to the hilt. Particularly fine are Rachel Bavidge as Marian Holcombe, a warmhearted woman of vast intelligence but no beauty, and Allan Corduner as Fosco, whose mask of geniality hides his true menace. Although it takes a while to fall into the story, this is an excellent rendition of a classic tale, old-fashioned storytelling at its best. --Joyce Saricks, Booklist

Review:

"Collins was a master craftsman, whom many modern mystery-mongers might imitate to their profit." --Dorothy L. Sayers

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