Tuesday, April 28, 2015

Crossover Cover: Wyllard's Weird

In this novel, set in 1881-1884, Mademoiselle Beauville, a female fashion designer, has “cherished one bitter and unappeasable hatred, and that was against Messrs. Spricht, Van Klopen, and the whole confraternity of men-milliners.” Later Beauville boasts about a client, “I made all her gowns, and I was proud that she could challenge comparison with actresses who squandered their thousands upon such impostors as Spricht and Van Klopen.” Hilda Heathcote “had read of gentlemanlike murderers—assassins of good bearing and polished manners—Eugene Aram, Count Fosco, and many more of the same school.” Rick Lai notes, “Van Klopen was the criminal fashion designer who was part of the Mascarot blackmail ring in Emile Gaboriau’s Lecoq series. Van Klopen was still at liberty in Gaboriau’s non-Lecoq mystery novels set in the early 1870s. Eugene Aram was a real-life murderer from the 18th century. His life was fictionalized in Edward Bulwer-Lytton’s novel Eugene Aram. Count Fosco is the villain of The Woman in White by Wilkie Collins. Mentioning Fosco alongside Aram implies that both were historical criminals whose lives were fictionalized.”


  1. I take it in this case the word Weird in the title means "fate" and not "strange" as we typically use it today?

    From Wikipedia, Braddon seems to be contemporary with Gaboriau and Collins, so it seems likely she was referencing her influences.