Wilkie Collins’ The Women in White begins in the perspective of Walter Hartright, a drawing master who has recently taken a job and is on his way. While traveling he helps a woman in white named Anne Catherick. Hartright thinks nothing of the encounter except that he found it odd the she was dressed in all white. But he later finds out that she has escaped from an asylum and is on the run. After finally arriving and prospering at his new job, Hartright takes a liking to Miss Laura Fairlie and befriends Marian Halcombe, her half-sister. The two women each share a relation to the owner of the house. However because Laura is scheduled to marry, Marian sees it best to send Walter away but not before telling him that Laura was marrying the man that was after the woman in white named Sir Percival Glyde.
This is one of the first signs of secrecy in the book because Laura Fairlie ends up withholding information of her first love from her husband. Inevitably he finds for himself and becomes enraged. Hartright finds it odd but leaves the country trying to forget is first love. After the marriage takes place Glyde attempts to get Laura to sign over her fortune to him because of his debt. After the being refused by Laura and also Miss Halcombe finding out too much information, Glyde and his friend Count Fosco decide it is best to switch Laura with her doppelganger Anne, into the roles or each other’s lives. They do this because in order to gain access to Laura’s money, Glyde and Fosco must fake Laura’s death.
By this time Hartright has returned to the country and after being alerted what was going on by Miss Halcombe, he then decides to uncover all the Baronet and the Count seem to be hiding. In order to regain Laura’s identity Hartright must prove that the date on her death certificate if false. On the other hand Fosco and Glyde are determined to keep their secret hidden no matter the cost. Glyde and Fosco are the obvious villains in this mystery novel. They are both after one thing, money. Glyde and Fosco’s greed for money is the flaw that leads to their downfall. Throughout the book Glyde is a man with an agenda. His entire plan revolves around money.
When Glyde tries to have Laura sign over her rights he is eager for her to. So eager, that his own friend advises him to calm down. When Laura refuses to sign the document because she wants to read it before signing her signature, Glyde immediately gets frustrated and accuses her of distrusting him. “Speak out! You were always famous for telling the truth. Never mind Miss Halcombe, never mind Fosco- say in plain terms, you distrust me.” (196) Glyde tries to turn things around on Laura and make it seem like she is an unscrupulous spouse. But Laura is right for not trusting him. In this particular situation Glyde makes a mistake by showing this angry side of him to Laura because now it makes her realize she is right to not trust him.
Furthermore, when Anne writes to Laura, Glyde is determined to find out...