Mary Elizabeth Braddon (4 October 1835 – 4 February 1915) was an English popular novelist of the Victorian era. She is best known for her 1862 sensation novel Lady Audley's Secret
Born in London, Mary Elizabeth Braddon was privately educated.
In 1860, Mary met John Maxwell (1824–1895), a publisher of periodicals. She started living with him in 1861. However, Maxwell was already married with five children, and his wife was living in an asylum in Ireland. Mary acted as stepmother to his children until 1874, when Maxwell's wife died and they were able to get married. She had six children by him.
The eldest daughter was Fanny Margaret Maxwell (1863-1955).
The second eldest son was the novelist William Babington Maxwell (1866-1939).
Mary Elizabeth Braddon died on 4 February 1915 in Richmond (at the time a borough in Surrey, but now part of Greater London), and is interred in Richmond Cemetery. Her home had been Lichfield House in the centre of the town, which was replaced by a block of flats in 1936, Lichfield Court, now listed. She has a plaque in Richmond parish church which calls her simply 'Miss Braddon'. A number of streets in the area are named after characters in her novels – her husband was a property developer in the area.
Braddon was a prolific writer, producing more than 80 novels with inventive plots.
Braddon wrote several works of supernatural fiction, including the pact with the devil story Gerald, or the World, the Flesh and the Devil (1891), and the ghost stories "The Cold Embrace", "Eveline's Visitant" and "At Chrighton Abbey".St.%20]]Montague Summers The Supernatural Omnibus (1931) and Fifty Years of Ghost Stories (1935).The%20Supernatura]]raddon also wrote historical fiction. A%20Guide%20to%20the%20Best%20Histo]]ondon PrideA%20Guide%20to%20the%20Best%20Histo]] 
Braddon also founded Belgravia magazine (1866), which presented readers with serialised sensation novels, poems, travel narratives and biographies, as well as essays on fashion, history and science. The magazine was accompanied by lavish illustrations and offered readers a source of literature at an affordable cost. She also edited Temple Bar
There is a critical essay on Braddon's work in Michael Sadleir's book Things Past (1944). In 2014 the Mary Elizabeth Braddon Association was founded to pay tribute to Braddon's life and work.
Partial list of fiction
- The Trail of the Serpent (first published as Three Times Dead, 1860)
- The Octoroon (1861)
- The Black Band (1861)
- Lady Audley's Secret (1862). French: Le Secret de Lady Audley (1863)
- Ralph the Bailiff and Other Tales (1862)
- John Marchmont's Legacy (1862–63)
- The Captain of the Vulture (1863)
- Aurora Floyd
- Eleanor's Victory (1863)
- Henry Dunbar: the story of an outcast (1864)
- The Doctor's Wife (1864)
- Only a Clod (1865)
- The Lady's Mile (1866). French: L'Allée des Dames (1868)
- Birds of Prey (1867). French: Oiseaux de Proie (1874)
- Circe (1867)
- Rupert Godwin (1867)
- Run to Earth (1868). French: La Chanteuse des Rues (1873)
- Dead-Sea Fruit (1868). French: Un Fruit de la Mer Morte (1874)
- Charlotte's Inheritance (1868). French: L'Héritage de Charlotte (1874)
- Fenton's Quest (1871)
- To the Bitter End (1872)
- Robert Ainsleigh (1872)
- Lucius Davoren; or, Publicans and Sinners (1873). French: Lucius Davoren (1878)
- Milly Darrell, and other tales (1873)
- Griselda (1873, drama)
- Lost For Love (1874)
- Taken at the Flood (1874)
- A Strange World (1875)
- Hostages to Fortune (1875)
- Joshua Haggard's Daughter (1876). French: Joshua Haggard (1879)
- Weavers and Weft, or, In Love's Nest (1876)
- Dead Men's Shoes (1876)
- An Open Verdict (1878)
- The Cloven Foot (1879)
- Vixen (1879)
- Just as I am (1880)
- Asphodel (1881)
- Mount Royal (1882)
- Phantom Fortune (1883)
- The Golden Calf (1883)
- Ishmael. A novel (1884)
- Flower and Weed and other tales (1884)
- Wyllard's Weird (1885)
- Mohawks (1886)
- One Thing Needful (1886)
- The Good Hermione: A Story for the Jubilee Year (1886, as Aunt Belinda)
- Cut by the County (1887)
- The Fatal Three (1888)
- The Day Will Come (1889)
- One Life, One Love (1890)
- The World, the Flesh and the Devil (1891)
- The Venetians (1892)
- All Along the River (1893)
- The Christmas Hirelings (1894)
- Thou Art The Man (1894)
- Sons of Fire (1895)
- London Pride; or, When the World was Younger (1896)
- Rough Justice (1898)
- In High Places (1898)
- His Darling Sin (1899)
- The Infidel (1900)
- A Lost Eden (1904)
- The Rose of Life (1905)
- The White House (1906)
- Dead Love Has Chains (1907)
- During Her Majesty's Pleasure (1908)
- Our Adversary (1909)
- Beyond These Voices (1910)
Some of the bibliographical material in this incomplete list has been taken from the Jarndyce booksellers' catalogue Women's Writers 1795–1927. Part I: A–F (Summer 2017).
Several of Braddon's works have been dramatised, including:
- Aurora Floyd, by Colin Henry Hazlewood, first performed at Britannia Theatre Saloon, London, 1863.
- "The Cold Embrace" 
- Lady Audley's Secret, by Colin Henry Hazlewood, first performed at the Victoria Theatre, London, 1863.
- Lady Audley's Secret, starring Theda Bara, Fox Film Corp., 1915.
- Lady Audley's Secret , starring Neve McIntosh, Kenneth Cranham, and Steven Mackintosh, PBS Mystery!* 2000.