Thursday, May 31, 2007

'Who Killed Zebedee?'

by Wilkie Collins

Hesperus Press, 2002
Who Killed Zebedee? first published 1881, John Jago's Ghost first published 1873-4

(Book #20 for 2007)
London, circa 1880: a lovelorn policeman, a pocket knife, and the unsolved crime of a young husband, murdered on his honeymoon. Narrated as the deathbed confession of a London Policeman, ‘Who Killed Zebedee?’ exposes he seamier side of Victorian Britain: a realm of cheap hotels, underpaid servants and desperate measures.
The accompanying tale, ‘John Jago’s Ghost’, set in America, portrays with similar empathy the hard-working lives of New England farmers. Both a historical record of life in rural America, and a courtroom drama with an exciting twist, it examines the rivalry between two men for the control of Morwick Farm and the love of a pretty girl.
Of the two stories included here, I have to admit that I found the first and title story, Who Killed Zebedee?, a bit predictable, and a little too short to really get drawn into the story. However, I thoroughly enjoyed the second story, John Jago’s Ghost. The atmosphere, the tension, the mystery were all that I would expect from Wilkie Collins. I’ve only read The Woman in White so far but this story has made me want to rectify that in the near future. I’m really booked up with challenge reading at the moment but I think a Collins will definitely have to be on my autumn reading list. A fun start and I’m looking forward to reading many more Hesperus titles in the coming months.

My Rating: 4/5


  1. Oh I'll have to look for this one! I love me some Wilkie Collins! I'm trying to get all of his works and read them slowly to make them last. Don't you just love the Hesperus books? They are so pretty!

  2. Heather,
    Yes the Hesperus books are very pretty! They have a couple more Collins titles too that I'll have to check out at some point.


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