by Wilkie Collins
A woman dies in childbirth, leaving a mysterious letter for her husband in the hands of her maid. The first part of the story established a mystery; what was in the letter? Why is the maid reluctant to give it to the husband as instructed? I found myself quickly caught up and really wondering what the secret was all about and whether it had anything to do with the newborn child.
In part two, we skip ahead fifteen years and like many Victorian novels, it's like starting the story over with all different characters. It took me a couple of chapters to get into this new phase of the tale. There is a lot of dialogue and situations that seem unrelated to the mysterious opening, until suddenly at the end of a section a connection is made.
I seldom read Mystery stories because not knowing drives me up a wall, but this one grabbed me before I realized that's what it is. The book is separated into six sections and mystery upon mystery builds up, I want to know what's going on!
I did guess the nature of the mysterious letter before the end, but there were some surprising details that made it far more interesting than I had anticipated. As Victorian stories go, it was very much a thing of its time and even had outdated spellings on a few words. I would definitely recommend it to readers who enjoy that period or anyone who likes a Mystery.