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Lord Northcliffe Professor of English at University College, London, John Sutherland has edited numerous World's Classics, including several Trollopes, and Jack London. He is associate general-editor of Oxford Popular Fiction, and is currently editing the Oxford Companion to Popular Fiction.
Playwright and audio dramatist Beverley Cooper has done a masterful job in adapting Collins's classic Victorian suspense novel to the audio medium. Within the framing story of a courtroom setting, each character stands up to describe the events that he or she has witnessed; the words of testimony then fade into a flashback scene, so the listener can experience the story as it unfolds. The actors are simply marvelous, particularly Douglas Campbell as the oily, sinister Count Fosco and Cedric Smith as Lord Percival Glyde, the manipulative gold digger with secrets to hide. Suzanne Hoffman sounds appropriately sweet and lovely as Laura, the damsel in distress, and Gina Wilkinson gives a nice contrasting performance as her practical, intelligent and down-to-earth sister, Marian. The story is well paced and suspenseful, while background music adds a subtly ominous atmosphere without distracting from the tale. Likewise, the production uses just the right amount of sound effects. With its colorful characters and air of mystery, this superb dramatization truly does the tale justice. (Dec.) Copyright 2006 Reed Business Information.
Collins's mid-Victorian novel is one of the first, and possibly still the greatest, of all literary thrillers. * The Irish Times * with each volume having an introduction by an acknowledged expert, and exhaustive notes, the World's Classics are surely the most desirable series and, all-round, the best value for money * Oxford Times *