Introducing Charles Dickens and Wilkie Collins as an unusual detective duo in a brand-new Victorian mystery series.
Picture credit: left, Charles Dickens, portrait by Ary Scheffer, oil on canvas, 1855, NPG 315, © National Portrait Gallery, London, licence: Creative Commons.
On the right: Wilkie Collins, portrait by Sir John Everett Millais, 1st Bt, oil on panel, 1850, NPG 967, ©National Portrait Gallery, London, licence: Creative Commons
Cora Harrison writes:
Charles Dickens was born in 1812 and Wilkie Collins in 1824 and so there was twelve years difference between them.
That was not all, though. Dickens had a very different upbringing. He was the son of a ne’er-do-well spendthrift who landed himself in a debtors’ prison and condemned his son to years of working in a blacking factory whereas Wilkie was the son of a prosperous artist and was deeply loved and much indulged by both parents.
Nevertheless, when they met in 1851 they were drawn together by their shared love of amateur dramatics and Charles Dickens became a great influence in Wilkie Collins life, advising him on his literary ambitions, providing him with a job and a salary and much valuable experience while working on a journal edited by Dickens.
On his side, Dickens got great pleasure from the lively humorous young Wilkie Collins. They went on holidays together on the continent and Collins was invited to Dickens holiday home in Broadstairs by the sea in Kent.
But it was the long walks that the two took through the length and breadth of London by night that cemented the friendship and it was these long walks through the gas lighted streets which inspired my own imagination to invent some mysteries which might have been solved by these two friends.
The first mystery is set by the Thames and involves the murder of a girl whom Dickens had known when he was involved in the charitable enterprise to rescue young prostitutes newly released from prison and educate them to befit them for a new life in Australia.
The second mystery deals with the artists of the period. The Pre-Raphaelite brotherhood, friends of both men, and the third will deal with one of Dickens amateur dramatics set in the magnificent of castle of the well-known Lord Edwin Bulwer-Lytton.
Note: the success of the series has prompted further books.