Although best known for 'The Woman in White' and 'The Moonstone', Wilkie Collins also wrote in many other genres, including short stories. 'After Dark' was his first published collection of seven tales, and appeared 3 years earlier than 'The Woman in White'.
William Wilkie Collins (1824–1889) was an English novelist, playwright and short story writer best known for "The Woman in White" (1859) and "The Moonstone" (1868). The latter has been called the first modern English detective novel. Born in London, he grew up in Italy and France, learning French and Italian. After his first novel," Antonina", appeared in 1850, he met Charles Dickens, who became a close friend and mentor. Some of Collins's works appeared first in Dickens's journals All the Year Round and Household Words and they collaborated on drama and fiction. Collins achieved financial stability and an international following with his best known works in the 1860s, but opium (used to treat his gout) became an addiction, leading to a decline in both his writing ability and his health.
Our book, published by Blackie in the 1930s, is special because it retains its dust jacket, which is in remarkably good condition for its age, with edgewear, somewhat grubby, some 2 cm tears and lesser ones at corners, and the remains of a price label (2/6) still adhering to the lower spine. The book itself is bound in blue cloth with gilt title etc on the spine & impressed double-line border to the front, and shows almost no external signs of wear apart from some very minimal bumping of the bottom corners. The covers are, however, somewhat warped. The textblock edge is a little foxed, but with no migration into the body of the book. Inside, the free endpapers have been removed, the front one leaving a patch of webbing visible at the spine angle (see photo). The binding is generally firm, with one slight weakness at p.187; no loose pages; all pages clean and bright. Three full-page illustrations and a frontispiece, all by Gordon Browne, R.I., enhance the whole.