At the centre of Hide and Seek (1854) a secret waits to be revealed. Why should the apparently respectable painter Valentine Blyth refuse to account for the presence in his household of the beautiful girl known as Madonna? It is not until his young friend Zack Thorpe, who is in rebellionagainst his repressive father, gets into bad company and meets a mysterious stranger that the secret of Madonna can be unravelled. Wilkie Collins's third novel, dedicated to his life-long friend Dickens, is a story in which excitement is combined with charm and humour. In its mixture of the everyday and the extraordinary, Hide and Seek forms a bridge between the domestic novel and the sensational fiction for which Collins laterbecame famous.