Wilkie Collins (1824-1889)

Death: 23rd September 1889
Location: Kensal Green Cemetery, London, England Plot: Grave Number 31754, Square 141, Row 1
Cause of death: Complications following a Stroke
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English sensation novelist. Born William Wilkie Collins in London, he left school aged seventeen but failed to make a career at the tea-merchants to which he was apprenticed, and at the law, which he entered as a student in 1846.
Collins was twenty-two when his father died, and was determined to become a professional writer. It was when he met Charles Dickens in 1851 that his literary career began to take off. Collins's first major success was Woman in White, which was published serially in Dickens' journal All the Year Round.
In 1858 he set up home with Caroline Graves and her daughter. Although they lived together as man and wife they were never married. In 1864, while still living with Caroline, he began a relationship with another woman, Martha Rudd, who by 1868 had settled in London as his mistress. For the rest of his life Collins divided his time between his two families.
Due to pain caused by rheumatic gout the writer increasingly turned to laudanum. He carried around a silver flask full of the opium preparation, and by the end of his life consumed enough daily to kill twelve people. The impact of Colin's dependence on the drug can clearly be seen in his fiction. For example in The Moonstone (the first detective story in the English language) the entire plot of the novel hinges on the effects of laudanum.
He believed The Woman in White to be his finest work, and insisted that the inscription on his tombstone should simply read: 
‘Author of The Woman in White and other works of fiction’.