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I Say No

Wilkie Collins

Book Overview: 

Emily Brown is an orphan girl that almost no one can help but love when they meet her. She is pursued by two worthy men: Mr. Alban Morris, the drawing master at her school; and Rev. Miles Mirabel, a clergyman. However, one of them is lying to her after she discovers that her father's death wasn't natural, as she was led to believe.

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Book Excerpt: 
. . .I can't give you an encouraging report of your aunt. The rheumatic fever (aggravated by the situation of this house—built on clay, you know, and close to stagnant water) has been latterly complicated by delirium."

"Is that a bad sign, sir?"

"The worst possible sign; it shows that the disease has affected the heart. Yes: she is suffering from inflammation of the eyes, but that is an unimportant symptom. We can keep the pain under by means of cooling lotions and a dark room. I've often heard her speak of you—especially since the illness assumed a serious character. What did you say? Will she know you, when you go into her room? This is about the time when the delirium usually sets in. I'll see if there's a quiet interval."

He opened the door—and came back again.

"By the way," he resumed, "I ought perhaps to explain how it was that I took the liberty of sending you that telegram. Mrs. Ellmother refused to inform . . . Read More

Community Reviews

This is probably his least good book. Plot seems to shift from a semi-supernatural one to a rather dull conventional one. No suspsense, really. Characters are not up to his usual standard.

Another fun mystery story by Collins. I enjoy being able to settle into the era he writes about. No texting or phone calls allowed, just be sure you have a servant or young lad who can run across town and wait for a reply. It seems every chapter has someone checking the train schedule so they can...more

Wilkie Collins deserves to be better known. I realize, full well, that some people recognize him as author of The Moonstone or The Woman in White, and both of these works are, indeed, masterpieces. However, those aren't the only things he wrote! Armadale and No Name have the same twisted mystery...more

I'm a huge Wilkie Collins fan but this is a bit of a mess, frankly. The plot doesn't hang together and the characters seem to change their natures at random. I do like the food-obsessed beauty, though, and Mirabel was a good Wilkie-esque weakling.

I read a lot of Wilkie Collins a good decade ago, but haven't in recent years. "I Say No" I'd never read before. I loved it, and it reminded me of everything cool about Collins: his observations that seems so sharp for the 19th century, his fascination with weirdos and the handicapped, his proto-...more

My least favorite book by a favorite author.

I agree with the title. I like Wilkie Collins, he writes well, and the writing was not the problem - it was the thin-as-to-be-transparent plot. As a mystery, it could have been solved in the first chapter. Miss Marple would have taken one good look at Mrs. Rook, cast off a row of knitting, and ro...more

Wilkie Collins is an amazing author and a favourite of mine, with a knack for spinning the happiest possible endings from his dark and integrating murder plots. This book will have you suspecting everything but the truth and smiling by the end. It is well written true to form and as usual for Mr...more

Wilkie Collins always tells a good tale. Having read so many of his books, I can now see commonalities in his characters, settings, and themes, which lends a type of comfort as I read, allowing the narrative to unfold.
At the end of the book, I found myself thinking, Hm.
I felt there...more

This 1884 murder mystery is of interest mainly because murder mysteries were still a new genre at the time. It has many of the other ingredients of Collins Victorian domestic melodramas as well. It has flaws – many characters withhold key information for the flimsiest of reasons, leading you to g...more

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