The Collectors
The Collectors

Philip Pullman

Read by

Bill Nighy

Publication information

Audible Studios (e-book — RHCP Digital)

Release date

10 December 2014 (e-book — 5th March 2015)


32 minutes (e-book — 24 pages)


The Collectors is an audiobook written by Philip Pullman and narrated by Bill Nighy. It was released exclusively by Audible Studios on 10 December 2014.[1] On 5th March 2015 it was also released as a 24 page e-book published by RHCP Digital.[2]


On a December night in 1970, in Will's world[3] Horley and Grinstead sit in the Senior Common Room of the former's college in Oxford discussing two works of art which Horley has recently acquired: a portrait of a young woman and a bronze monkey. They discuss the history of the two pieces, which seem to have a habit of ending up together.

When Horley takes Grinstead to see the portrait, Grinstead recognises the subject of the painting as an eighteen-year-old Marisa van Zee, a woman who was once his lover. This astounds Horley, as the painting is almost eighty years old and Grinstead is less than fifty. Grinstead explains that she was from another world and that time passes differently in different universes.

Horley begins to feel out of breath and a rash develops on his face as he attempts to open the wooden box in which the bronze monkey has been sent to him. With Grinstead's help, he succeeds in opening the box, but is violently sick. He becomes unable to breathe and Grinstead leaves on the premise that his is going to phone for an ambulance. Instead, he waits until Horley is dead and returns to take the painting, leaving the monkey behind as he believes it will follow. As he steps out onto the highs street, Grinstead is run over by a taxi and killed.

A few days later, the college bursar and chaplain stand in Horley's room. The man is believed to have died of anaphylactic shock after eating nut pudding. The bursar returns the painting to its easel next to the bronze monkey.

Behind the scenes

  • Pullman originally wanted to write a classic ghost story. It was Audible's idea to link it with His Dark Materials.[3]
  • A paper copy of the The Collectors will be made available some time in the future.[4]


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