Today Braddon is best remembered for Lady Audley's Secret (1862), with its amateur detective Robert Audley. As the sensation novel developed into the detective novel of the 1880s and 1890s, Braddon was determined to maintain her position within this modern genre.
In 1899 she published His Darling Sin which features Braddon's most prominent professional detective, John Faunce. Critics and biographers have noted that the detective fiction loving policeman bears a marked resemblance to Wilkie Collin's Cuff from The Moonstone (1868), and Robert Lee Wolff described Braddon's novel as 'a sophisticated story of hard boiled society people.'
Faunce is hired to prove the innocence of Lady Perivale, a
rich young widow, whose reputation has been ruined by Colonel Rannock, whom
she has refused in marriage. He claims she travelled to Algiers with him and
lived with him as his mistress. As a consequence of the rumours, and witnesses
who saw the woman in Algiers say she looked just like her, Lady Perivale has
been cast out of society, and even the man she loves, a novelist called Arthur
Haldene, believes the worst of her. In the meantime Rannock has gone missing,
and may have been murdered. In the course of his investigation Faunce discovers
the identity of the mysterious woman who was living with Rannock, and plots
an elaborate scheme to clear Lady Perivale's reputation.
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