Books: Weird Wilkie

THE LIFE OF WILKIE COLLINS (360 pp.) Nuel Pharr Davis—University of Illinois ($5.75).

It was a bright, moonlit night, and so, after entertaining Painter John Millais and his son at dinner, Wilkie Collins decided to see them home. Strolling together along the semirural roads of northern London, the three friends were halted suddenly by a piercing scream, and from out the gate of a villa dashed a young woman "dressed in flowing white robes that shone in the moonlight." Painter Millais exclaimed: "What a beautiful woman!", while Novelist Collins disappeared into the night...

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