The Dark Clue by James Wilson
A Novel of Suspense

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Hailed by The New York Times Book Review as "a luscious Victorian thriller" that "sends two characters from Wilkie Collins's 1860s novel [The Woman in White] on a brilliant literary mission," James Wilson's The Dark Clue is as stylishly inventive as the oil paintings of J. M. W. Turner, the elusive genius who lies at the thriller's heart. Sheltered, upright Walter Hartright is commissioned to write a biography of England's great Romantic landscape artist. When he discovers the "dark clue" hidden deep within Turner's paintings, he becomes eerily obsessed with reconstructing a life that is shrouded in mystery and steeped in rumor. To do so, he seeks help from a Dickensian assemblage of the lowest and highest elements of society, from John Ruskin to the tawdry women of the dockside brothels. Soon enough, he uncovers evidence of unspeakable depravity, but can it be believed? Acclaimed historian James Wilson's debut novel offers a "compelling vision of the mean streets of London," a "marvelous period-piece mystery" whose "vivid evocation of Turner's paintings -- the brooding colors and dark clues -- will haunt the reader" (Helen Parramore, Tampa Tribune). "[Wilson's] descriptions ... are as luminous, majestic, and mysterious as Turner's finest paintings; you may read them in awe." -- The Washington Post Book World "Irresistibly flavorful ... Wilson keeps a firm grip on our attention." -- Bruce Allen, The Boston Globe "Evocative and sophisticated ... Wilson's exacting, detailed descriptions of Victorian England ... make for vivid storytelling." -- Publishers Weekly

About James Wilson

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Wilson has been actively involved in working with indigenous North Americans for 25 years. He is a recipient of a Ford Foundation grant and a member of the executive committee of Survival, which campaigns for indigenous peoples of the world.
Published December 1, 2007 by Grove Press. 400 pages
Genres: Mystery, Thriller & Suspense, Literature & Fiction, History, Action & Adventure. Fiction

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Kirkus Reviews

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In response to the fears of Lady Elizabeth Eastlake, wife of the National Gallery director, that Walter Thornbury’s forthcoming biography of Turner will be too vitriolic to take its subject’s true measure, Walter Hartright, himself an artist, agrees to undertake a life of his own.

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The Guardian

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The Dark Clue James Wilson 390pp, Faber, £10.99 Buy it at a discount at BOL Claude Debussy called Turner "the greatest creator of mystery in the whole of art".

May 12 2001 | Read Full Review of The Dark Clue: A Novel of Sus...

Publishers Weekly

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The tale's pace is stately, but readers tuned to the frequency of 19th-century novels will appreciate Wilson's measured tone and deft treatment of Turner's murky history and Collins's exquisite legacy.

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Book Reporter

When Marian begins to worry about him and does her own investigative work, trying to understand the past life of Turner and the changing life of her brother-in-law, she soon becomes a victim of Walter's moral decline as well.

Jan 21 2011 | Read Full Review of The Dark Clue: A Novel of Sus...

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