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Wilkie Collins

Considered by many as the founder of the crime novel, William Wilkie Collins (1824-89) was, unlike many nineteenth-century writers, a great literary success within his own lifetime. At one stage he rose to be the highest-paid Victorian writer, even eclipsing the earnings of his mentor, Charles Dickens. He had several careers in his youth, but it was writing novels that brought him fame, boosted by a certain notoriety for what many perceived as his scandalous and immoral private life.