The Woman in White opens with a mysterious encounter between artist Walter Hartright and an unnamed woman dressed entirely in white. Hartright runs into her late at night along the dark road from Hampstead Heath to London. The woman is clearly frightened, fleeing some unseen pursuer. She asks Hartright for directions, which he gives. He doesn’t know who she is, but his instinct tells him to help her. In her disconcerted ramblings, she tells him she had spent a brief portion of her youth in the country house he is planning to visit, and she warns him of an evil man he will soon encounter.
This is an excellent mystery/suspense novel, with plenty of twists. It’s exceptionally well plotted, and I enjoyed Levin’s clear, straightforward writing. I read Dorothy Hughes' “In a Lonely Place” just before reading this one. The books have some things in common. Both follow a disturbed young man, both men are about the same age, both are World War II veterans, both yearn for a life beyond their reach, both are murderers, and both target women.
Reading Wilkie Collins was a revelation to me. How could I have taken so many English Lit. classes and not read this guy? This one starts out with a simple mystery: What happened to the missing jewel? Well, it takes lots of narrators to reach a conclusion, and we get quite a ride along the way. The strength of the book lies in the variety of narrative voices and the rich, compelling characters.
Previous Page 2 of 2