I was looking through the BBC's list of 100 greatest British novels again, checking which is the next I have not read yet (The Good Soldier as it happens). This was a list voted for by 82 non British book critics, but only includes novels written by Britons. For about the 30th time I wondered how it was Virginia Woolf's books were at 2 & 3. Otherwise it is an interesting list, but then I noticed there was not a single one of Elizabeth Gaskell's books in the list. How is that? She is many people's favourite Victorian author. She wrote the best industrial novels. Mary Barton and North and South are still studied on English courses (so I understand). Cranford is very popular. I have not read it but a lot of readers think Wives and Daughters is her best novel. Looking down the list, I would say North and South was better than Barchester Towers at 82, and Cranford was better than Sense and Sensibility at 66. I think that somehow she got a reputation as second rate. I do not know how book critics assess books, but I would have thought a best book merited a place in the top 100.