'This is a book begun, but not finished. I could not finish it. Many times I have come close to destroying it, thinking I should have no rest while it remained to reproach me. I could not bring myself to do it. I have therefore given instructions that it should be sealed in a box, which is to remain unopened until I, my wife Laura, our sister Marion Halcombe, and all our children are dead.'
So begins James Wilson's brilliant imaginative recreation of the Victorian sensation novel as the characters from Wilkie Collins's The Woman in White - Walter Hartright and Marion Halcombe - are involved in another dramatic and dangerous conspiracy. Walter is commissioned to write a biography of the greatest of English painters, JMW Turner, whose life was shrouded in mystery. His researches take him to the dark secret at the centre of Turner's work and involve him and Marion in confronting crimes and human degradation that threaten their sanity and their lives.
The Dark Clue takes us into Victorian England in all its staggering extremes; of poverty and wealth, of slums and stately homes, of public morality and private vice in an unforgettable tale of suspense.
James Wilson has written plays, TV documentaries (including the award-winning Savagery and the American Indian for the BBC) and a critically-acclaimed history of Native Americans, The Earth Shall Weep. His three previous novels were The Dark Clue, The Bastard Boy and, most recently, The Woman in the Picture, described by Kate Saunders in The Times as 'a multi-layered, deeply absorbing and entertaining novel'.