Fiendish Fridays #1: Count Fosco

Fiendish Fridays is hosted here at She Reads Novels, profiling some of our favourite literary villains. You can see a complete list of previous Fiends and suggest one of your own here.

#1 – Friday 22 January 2010: Count Fosco

Name: Count Isodor Ottavio Baldassare Fosco

Appears in: The Woman in White by Wilkie Collins

Who is he? Count Fosco is an Italian friend of Sir Percival Glyde, a baronet who marries Laura Fairlie.

What is he like? He’s old and very fat with a fondness for wearing brightly coloured waistcoats and playing the concertina. Doesn’t sound like a typical villain, does he?

What makes him a Friday Fiend? Although Sir Percival is the nastier of the two and initially appears the more villainous, it quickly becomes obvious that Fosco is more dangerous due to his intelligence, charm and ability to fool people (even Laura’s half-sister Marian Halcombe originally admits to liking him, though her opinion changes drastically later on). Fosco is the brains behind the scheme to steal Laura’s identity and gain her inheritance.

Redeeming features: He shows tenderness towards his pet mice and birds, and admiration for Marian Halcombe (although this unfortunately doesn’t stop him trying to destroy her sister’s life!)

5 thoughts on “Fiendish Fridays #1: Count Fosco

  1. Helen says:

    Ash – I hope you enjoy it!

    Natalie – Collins’ other books are great too. I would recommend Armadale, The Moonstone and No Name.

  2. Miss Moppet says:

    I read TWIW for the first time last year and concluded Fosco was one of the most influential villains in the history of literature. He’s the quintessential Bond villain – the pets, the charm, the detailed explanation of his dastardly plans…Actually he’s the original Dr Evil!

  3. Helen says:

    Miss Moppet – Yes, I think a lot of future villains were inspired by Fosco. I never thought of the Bond similarities though. 🙂

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