Lady Audley’s Secret – Mary Elizabeth Braddon (Penguin Classics)
Weathering critical scorn, Lady Audley’s Secret quickly established Mary Elizabeth Braddon as the leading light of Victorian ‘sensation’ fiction, sharing the honour only with Wilkie Collins. Addictive, cunningly plotted and certainly sensational, Lady Audley’s Secret draws on contemporary theories of insanity to probe mid-Victorian anxieties about the rapid rise of consumer culture. What is the mystery surrounding the charming heroine? Lady Audley’s secret is investigated by Robert Audley, aristocrat turned detective, in a novel that has lost none of its power to disturb and entertain.