Today [January 8, 1824 – September 23, 1889] is the birthday of one of my favorite writers, Wilkie Collins. Longtime friend of Dickens, Collins is most known for being the first writer of full-length detective stories. The Woman in White  and The Moonstone  are considered his best works, and though I personally love those two works, one must also read his other less-known works, No Name (1862) and Armadale (1866).
Collins had an interesting personal life ~ never married, but lived for years with Caroline Graves, whom he first saw in a mysterious midnight encounter he later used in The Woman in White; he had three illegitimate children by another woman, Martha Rudd (I believe he managed the two households by having them live around the corner from each other, not unlike his friend Dickens, who also maintained two households, a fact unknown to his adoring public.) Collins also suffered from gout and an addiction to opium for the last quarter of his life. He was widely popular, traveled extensively, often with Dickens, and toured the United States in 1873-74.
- His works at: Project Gutenberg and at the Classic Literature Library
- The Wilkie Collins Pages by Paul Lewis ~ a fabulous internet resource of his works, biographies, letters, etc., as well as a link to the Wilkie Collins Society.
- The Wilkie Collins Information Pages
- Wilkie Collins-An Illustrated Guide by Andrew Gasson
- Wilkie Collins at the Victorian Web
- The National Archives [U.K.] listing of Collins related materials
It may be possible in novel-writing to present characters successfully without telling a story; but it is not possible to tell a story successfully without presenting characters. ~ Wilkie Collins