Wilkie Collins (1824-89), associate of Charles Dickens and author of 15 novels, is perhaps best known for the great mystery novel The Moonstone. But Collins also wrote short stories, tales of terror and the supernatural, which many consider comparable to those of Poe and J. Sheridan LeFanu.
This collection features 12 of Collins most masterful horror tales: "The Dream Woman," "A Terribly Strange Bed," "The Dead Hand," "The Biter Bit," "Fauntleroy," "Blow Up with the Brig ," "A Stolen Letter," "The Lady of Glenwith Grange," "Mr. Policeman and the Cook," "Mr. Lepel and the Housekeeper," "Miss Bertha and the Yankee," and "Mad Monkton." Herbert van Thal, the noted authority of Victorian literature, has made the selection, and has also contributed a new introduction summarizing Collins' life and briefly evaluating his career.
These tales are not easily forgotten; they feature unusually imaginative situations, coupled with vivid descriptions and surprising plots. Collins' ventures into the shadowy realms of the half-dead and his explorations of subtle, morbid psychology, strange diseases, and uncanny coincidences are every bit as fascinating and terrifying as those of Poe. Also like Poe, he was an excellent craftsman, able to carry the suspense to the very end by keeping the mystery shrouded until the final page.
Although a few of these stories have been anthologized, most of them are now extremely hard to find. With this reprinting, they will once again be available both to lovers of supernatural fiction and to those who enjoy perfection in the art of storytelling. As G. K. Chesterton put it: "Wilkie Collins is the one man of unmistakable genius who has an affinity with Dickens there were no two men who could touch them at a ghost story."