Count Fosco--Isidor Ottavio Baldassare Fosco, Count of the Holy Roman Empire, etc.--is as charming and likable a villain as one is likely to meet in literature. This is a brilliant and talented man of the world, a gentle animal lover who raises birds and treats his pet white mice as if they were his children. Count Fosco is also a scheming, cunning and avaricious man, who together with his friend, Sir Percival Glyde, conspire to ruin the lovely Laura Fairlie, who eventually becomes Lady Glyde.
_The Woman In White_ is a wonderfully written gothic mystery novel, a romance that is deeply atmospheric with richly developed characters. Each section of the novel is narrated by the participants in this complex yet incredibly involving book, the principals being Walter Hartright, a drawing instructor whose heart is always in the right place, and Marian Holcombe, Lady Glyde's loyal and loving half-sister. And, of course, there is the elusive, ill-fated Anne Catherick, "the woman in white," shrouded in mystery, and the link between Laura Failie (and her identity) and the malevolent machinations of Count Fosco and of Percival Glyde, who is desperate to protect his "Secret" at all costs.
Despite some unresolved loose ends, I was never less than completely immersed in this extraordinary story of treachery, betrayal, but more importantly sisterly fealty and devotion.