Mary Elizabeth Braddon was born in Soho, London, England in 1835. She was educated privately in England and France, and at the age of just nineteen was offered a commission by a local printer to produce a serial novel “combining the humour of Dickens with the plot and construction of G. P. R. Reynolds” What emerged was Three Times dead, or The Secret of the Heath, which was published five years later under the title The Trail of the Serpent (1861).
For the rest of her life, Braddon was an extremely prolific writer, producing more than eighty novels, while also finding time to write and act in a number of stage plays. Her most famous novel, Lady Audley’s Secret, began serialisation in 1862, and was an overnight success, propelling her into fame and fortune. A quintessential ‘sensation novel’, centring on an incident of “accidental bigamy,” Lady Audley’s Secret has never been out of print, and was adapted as recently as 2000. Braddon also founded Belgravia Magazine, and edited Temple Bar Magazine. She died in 1915 in Richmond, England, aged 79.