In The Dead Secret (and in The moonstone, Collins’s most-known work), not long ago presented to Polish readers for the first time, we find almost everything that seems to be the opposite of Scandinavian crime fiction so liked by Poles. And yet, it is worth giving this story about misplaced feelings a chance – having sneaked into the uninhabited part of the palace, let’s take the richness of the language, the plasticity of descriptions and something that keeps you in suspense from a drawer of a table in a title room.

On the west coast of Cornwall, at the Treverton family estate, Sara Lesson, a maid, nervously traverses the property’s corridors. She just wrote down the last confession of her dying lady – after her death it should fall into the hands of her husband. Sara’s eyes inspect the door to the room forgotten by the residents of the house – this is where the maid will hide the letter, and then, unable to reconcile the secret with the fulfillment of her duties, she will choose a solitary escape. Years later, when Rosamond, the daughter of the Trevertons, will happily get married, her spouse’s father will purchase the Cornish estate with the secret hidden in it…

A flipping through the pages of the novel in search of stunning chases, dramatic fights, or, using the language of the lovers of crime fiction, a „decent corpse”, will not bring the expected results. Here the intrigue develops in a much more sophisticated and more unpredictable dimension – in minds of the heroes of the story, in a tangle of honor, ambition and a sense of belonging to different social classes. It does not matter that the amateurs of strong sensations will be rather disappointed by the secret of the sealed letter, if we take into consideration that those who, during the winter, in literature look for an invigorating battle with temptation, colorful characters and detachment will surely enjoy the world and the language of Collins – flowing slowly, but dense with emotions.

Joanna Roś