Wyllard's Weird

I read Mary Elizabeth Braddon's Wyllard's Weird for the Vintage Mystery Challenge and for the 2011 challenge in the "Way Back When" category. Originally published in 1885, it is a murder mystery that turns into a triple-murder mystery.

The novel begins with a young woman jumping, or being thrown, from a train and dying. Julian Wyllard, a wealthy man, and Bothwell Grahame, Wyllard's wife, Dora's, cousin, are both traveling separately on the train. Edward Heathcote is the local squire who is also the coroner and an ex of Dora Wyllard. Wyllard hires a detective to help find the young woman's identity and the detective creates suspicion that Grahame may have done it. Dora then begs Heathcote to investigate and he travels to London and France to find the facts. There's a subplot with Grahame being involved with both a married woman and later Heathcote's sister.

I figured out who did it around the middle of the book but i enjoyed it anyway. The characters felt realistic, even with the English women being a little too self-sacrificing. Heathcote is definitely a model of a Victorian hero. There's a good bit of Victorian psycho-babble too. Overall, i'd say a 5.

Now i actually purchased this book, off Powell's I think, but if you have a Kindle I've recently learned Amazon has a good number of Braddon's works for free and several others for 99 cents. I would assume that they'd be available on other e-readers as well. I believe i will try to read more of her books that way, as these are books my local library does not have. Though, hehe, I just checked and UT does have a few of hers. Oh no!


  1. I'm so glad to see your review of one of Braddon's novels. Sounds like it was a good one. I'm just getting ready to begin her Lady Audley's Secret.

    I've got you updated on the progress site.


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