This is the story of Wilkie Collins, a victorian drug addict who was for a while Dicken's best friend. He gets involved with hypnotism, the underworld, etc.
It's really long, and not much happens. You always know when people will die, and the book takes pains to match up real life events and letters with the fantastical things that are supposed to be happening.
I usually like stories like this, but I think I don't know the original ones well enough.
This book must be great for someone who has read all of dickens, plus some of his biographies, plus wilkie's biography and his books. I haven't.
It did make me want to read more Dickens books, and I would even like to read The Woman in White.