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: Short and oddly built, extremely near-sighted, and dressed in colorful clothes, Wilkie Collins looked distinctly strange. But he was nonetheless a charmer, befriended by the great, loved by children, irresistibly attractive to women, and avidly read by generations of readers. Peter Ackroyd follows his hero from his childhood to his struggling beginnings as a writer, his years of fame, and his lifelong friendship with Charles Dickens. In addition to his enduring masterpieces, The Moonstone and The Woman in White, Collins produced an intriguing array of lesser-known works. Told with Ackroyd's inimitable verve, this is a ravishingly entertaining life of a great storyteller.