January 1824 - 23 September 1889) was an English novelist,
playwright, and writer of short stories. He was hugely
popular in his time, and wrote 27 novels, more than
50 short stories, at least 15 plays, and over 100 pieces
of non-fiction work.
works were classified at the time as 'sensation novels',
a genre seen nowadays as the precursor to detective
fiction and suspense fiction. He also wrote penetratingly
on the plight of women and on the social and domestic
issues of his time. Like many writers of his time, he
published most of his novels as serials in magazines
such as Charles Dickens' All the Year Round,
and was known as a master of the form, creating just
the right degree of suspense to keep his audience reading
from week to week.