Jezebel's Daughter (unabridged)

Audio Sample

Wilkie Collins

Jezebel’s Daughter

Read by Nicholas Boulton


Set in the financial centres of 1820s Frankfurt and London, Jezebel’s Daughter (1880) tells the story of two widows: Madame Fontaine, who will go to any lengths to secure her daughter’s marriage, and Mrs Wagner, who devotes herself to her late husband’s social reforms. In pursuit of her endeavours, Mrs Wagner befriends Jack Straw, a former inmate of Bedlam, who plays a pivotal role as the action, full of plotting and counterplotting, unfolds, culminating in the morgue, where several lives hang in the balance.

Jezebel’s Daughter, serialised from 1879 to 80, is a prime example of Collins’s sensation novels, and was based on his play The Red Vial. As seen often in Collins, the depiction of strong and ‘active’ women defies the convention of his time, and the plotline is gripping and full of suspense.

  • Running Time: 10 h 46 m

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    Digital ISBN:978-1-78198-429-1
    Cat. no.:NA0564
    Produced by:John Foley
    Edited by:Sarah Butcher
    Released:January 23
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Set in 1828 Germany and England, this less-familiar work by English writer and playwright Collins (The Woman in WhiteThe Moonstone), originally published serially from 1879 to 1880, was touted as a ‘suspenseful case study in villainy.’ Fritz, the son of a wealthy German businessman, wants to marry Minna. Fritz’s father is adamantly opposed because Minna’s mother, Madame Fontaine, is rumored to owe a large sum of money. When Madame Fontaine’s husband, an academician and chemist, died, he left behind chemicals and formulas but no money. His will directed the executor to destroy the dangerous chemicals he had been using, but Madame Fontaine has other ideas. Hoping to secure an advantageous marriage for her daughter, she uses the chemicals to dastardly effect. The plot thickens from there, with a mysterious death, a resurrection, and more poisonings to come. Narrator Nicholas Boulton beautifully delivers German and English voices, creating spot-on personas for Collins’s evocative characters. VERDICT: Collins’s intricate mystery features paragons of good and evil and characters who continue to surprise more than 140 years after the book’s initial publication. An excellent fit for mystery readers and anyone interested in Victorian ‘sensation’ novels.

Joanna M. Burkhardt, Library Journal

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