Best remembered for his sensational fiction of the 1860s,
was, in the course of his forty-year writing career, the author of many ingeniously-plotted novels, as well as a writer of plays (some in collaboration with
), short stories, a biography of his father, and a travel book. Innovative narrative technique is a feature of his work, along with legal and social critique. His writings are also notable, in a literary culture that viewed physical difference as a marker of moral failure, for their sympathetic representation of disability.