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The novel that T. S. Eliot called “the first, the longest, and the best of the modern English detective novels”

Guarded by three Brahmin priests, the Moonstone is a religious relic, the centerpiece in a sacred statue of the Hindu god of the moon. It is also a giant yellow diamond of enormous value, and its temptation is irresistible to the corrupt John Herncastle, a colonel in the British Army in India. After murdering the three guardian priests and bringing the diamond back to England with him, Herncastle bequeaths it to his niece, Rachel, knowing full well that danger will follow. True to its enigmatic nature, the Moonstone disappears from Rachel’s room on the night of her eighteenth birthday, igniting a mystery so intricate and thrilling it has set the standard for every crime novel of the past one hundred fifty years.

Widely recognized, alongside the stories of Edgar Allan Poe, as establishing many of the most enduring conventions of detective fiction, The Moonstone is Wilkie Collins’s masterwork and one of the greatest novels of the nineteenth century.

This ebook has been professionally proofread to ensure accuracy and readability on all devices.

Topics: Theft, Victorian Era, Gripping, Dramatic, Hinduism, and England

Published: Open Road Media an imprint of Open Road Integrated Media on Apr 22, 2014
ISBN: 9781480484160
List price: $0.99
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Very fun! And Rachel is pretty gutsy for her time. She is an admirable heroine. The doctor's theory that explains the mystery is wacky. I had to suspend my disbelief to read the last part, but that's my only complaint.read more
Is this review helpful? Yes | NoThank you for your feedback.
A really good page turner of a book, where you don't really know what's going to happen next. The premise may be a little obscure and hard to believe, but the writing and the characters are excellent. Mr. Collins was a lesser known contemporary of Charles Dickens.read more
Is this review helpful? Yes | NoThank you for your feedback.
This is one of the first modern mystery stories, and it's fascinating. You absolutely cannot put it down. Plus, it has the soothing cadences that we all love in Victorian novels. Mystery readers will notice that, for a Victorian novel, the plot is not overly contrived. The story feels fairly authentic. Modern and Victorian all at once--the best of both worlds.read more
Is this review helpful? Yes | NoThank you for your feedback.
Wilkie Collins uses a variety of narrators to tell the mystery of a beautiful diamond called "The Moonstone." Collins does a good job of relating the appropriate details at the appropriate times, and while the ultimate solution wasn't a complete surprise, it was still enjoyable to witness the unfolding of the tale. Collins' characters are nearly as full as his friend, Charles Dickens, was able to create. He is particularly hard on the religious characters in this book, but the hardness makes the characters more flat rather than interesting objects of satire. Overall, though, it's still an enjoyable read.read more
Is this review helpful? Yes | NoThank you for your feedback.
What an excellent book. It held me to the last with its different perspectives and the linking character of the inimitable Sergeant Cusk. The only thing I'm wondering is why it's taken my so many decades to come to it.read more
Is this review helpful? Yes | NoThank you for your feedback.
The Moonstone is generally regarded as a progenitor of detective fiction, with its Sergeant Cuff one of the very first professional crimesolvers. Collins sets up a traditionally Victorian scenario, in which we have a few typical characters, including the willful heiress, the irresponsible suitor, the admirable philanthropist, the observant butler, the servant with the criminal background, and the suspicious foreigners. He introduces the Moonstone, a large jewel stolen from India in the previous century and presented to the heiress upon her coming of age. It disappears almost immediately, and virtually everyone is a suspect.Collins rotates the narration among several characters, according to who was in the best position to observe each period of the story. I found that the first section, narrated by the butler Betteredge, dragged quite a bit before it finished. The next narrator, Mrs. Clack, was hilariously different, and each subsequent narrator provided a different view. However, the tone and vocabulary of most of the narrators were surprisingly indistinguishable. This technique could have been used to greater advantage to support the author's apparent interest in issues of social class.The story and its denouement reflect quite a bit about Collins's life and England during that period. The reader might notice the places during the book where an installment ended with a cliffhanger. Collins was a colleague of Dickens and shared some of his tastes and techniques. The characters are a mix of stereotype and fuller fleshing out. Collins uses occasional humor to leaven the typically rather heavy dramatic tone of the book. Overall I found it a book to be appreciated more than enjoyed.read more
Is this review helpful? Yes | NoThank you for your feedback.
Interesting for being the first modern detective story and also for its unique form (epistolary), this story throws out all kinds of plot threads as Mr. Collins leads his reader through the mystery. There are suggestions of curses and supernatural doings mixed in with unrequited love. An enjoyable read.read more
Is this review helpful? Yes | NoThank you for your feedback.
first line: "I address these lines--written in India--to my relatives in England."One night, as I was getting ready for bed, I plucked this book from my shelf and settled in to read it. I thought I'd just read a few chapters before sleeping.Several hours later, after daybreak, I had only a few scattered chapters left. While I didn't want to leave off reading, I was so tired I could hardly make sense of written words. So I slept for a while before returning to the book and devouring the last few chapters.Needless to say, I highly recommend this wonderfully gripping 19th-century British mystery to anyone with several hours to devote to it. (In other words, don't begin it at bedtime.)read more
Is this review helpful? Yes | NoThank you for your feedback.
What can i say that hasnt already been said at some point regarding this book? Pleasantly surprised that it has survived the test of time so well and found it to be an excellent read .read more
Is this review helpful? Yes | NoThank you for your feedback.
Diamonds may be a girl's best friend, but don't ask Rachel Verinder to agree with that maxim. She only had twelve hours to bask in the glow of the rare yellow diamond that was given to her on her 18th birthday. This stolen diamond came complete with an Indian curse and three Indians in hot pursuit of it as it once again disappears and becomes the focal point of this Victorian detective novel.Collins uses multiple narratives to ascertain the events of that fateful night and the year following it. These eye-witness accounts from some colorful characters help move the story along, although having been originally written in serial form, the book tends to be wordy with many needless cliffhangers. My limits of credulity were stretched by the reenactment of the night of the crime, and I became impatient with too many sealed letters that mostly revealed "secrets" that weren't relevant to the main story. Overall, I enjoyed the characters and dry humor more than I liked the story. If you like Victorian melodrama, you will most certainly like this book.read more
Is this review helpful? Yes | NoThank you for your feedback.
God, I love Wilkie Collins. As with Woman in White, there is mystery, complicated and well-developed characters, and strong female characters. It is obvious from his writing that Collins thought much differently than his counterparts about the abilities of women. In many ways this work could be compared to Woman in White, which is one of my favorite books of all time. The tempo and narration of Moonstone is just about perfect. I definitely recommend this for anyone who likes mysteries or novels of this time period.read more
Is this review helpful? Yes | NoThank you for your feedback.
I seem to be going through a phase of re-reading books, and this is certainly one of my favourites - indeed, probably my favourite "classic".First published in 1868, it is certainly notable for its innovative approach to story telling. Nowadays we are familiar with novels written from more than one character's perspective, but I imagine that such an approach was probably very daring back in the 1860s. Collins handles this device, which could so easily have backfired, with great deftness, and the reader gleans a deep insight into the various characters as the successive narratives unfold.The "Moonstone" of the title is a diamond stolen from the head of a revered statue in a Hindu temple by John Herncastle, a British Officer serving in India. Over the following years stories about the lost jewel abounded, along with a growing belief that the stone might be cursed. Having subsided into illness Herncastle bequeathed the jewel to his niece Rachel Verinder, to be given to her on her eighteenth birthday.The Moonstone is to be delivered to Rachel by her cousin Franklin Blake, formerly a great favourite of the Verinder family, who has been travelling the world for the last few years. He arranges to visit the Verinder household in Yorkshire, arriving a few days ahead of Rachel's birthday. On the day that he is expected three itinerant Indian "jugglers" turn up and perform some odd tricks in the neighbourhood, and seem to be "casing" the Verinder house. Franklin Blake arrives a little earlier and, after consulting with Betteredge (the butler and wryly sage narrator of the opening section of the story), departs to the nearby town in order to lodge the jewel in its strongroom. Before he goes he bumps in to Rosanna Spearman, one of the domestic servants in the Verinder household. We subsequently learn that she had previously been in prison after having turned to crime to escape a life of deep deprivation down in London. Mr Verinder, aware of this background but also swayed by good reports of Rosanna's reform, had employed her some months previously. In that chance encounter with Franklin Blake Rosanna immediately falls madly in love with him.The day of the birthday arrives, and various other friends and relatives attend a special dinner. Rachel, who had known nothing about the Moonstone, is delighted by her special birthday present, and cannot be dissuaded from wearing it at the dinner table. Almost inevitably, the jewel is stolen from Rachel's room that night. Rachel herself is clearly disturbed by its loss and starts to behave in an uncharacteristically aggressive and bad-tempered manner. It soon becomes evident that she is particularly angry towards Franklin Blake.The local Superintendent of police is called in but achieves little. Meanwhile, Franklin Blake has communicated by telegraph with his father, an MP in London, who commissions the lugubrious Sergeant Cuff to travel up to take over the investigation. Cuff is generally credited as the first great detective in English literature and he certainly comes across as an awesome character. Like so many of his modern day successors, he has his oddities and his querulous side. In Cuff's case it is gardening, and particularly the rearing of roses, that dominates his thoughts away from his job.Cuff becomes convinced that Rachel Verinder herself is involved in the loss of the diamond, and speculates that she might somehow have incurred extensive debts, and then recruited Rosanna to help conceal the diamond and then smuggle it out of the house and down to London where it could be pawned or otherwise converted into much needed cash.Various other misadventures befall the characters, and one year on the mystery has not yet been resolved. It is at this point that, in what was to became a tradition in whodunnit stories, the scene is recreated, and a startling yet also convincing denouement is achieved.Collins was a close friend of Charles Dickens, and they collaborated on various publications. In The Moonstone, however, Collins displayed a fluidity and clarity of prose that Dickens never achieves. His satirical touch is light but more telling because of that. Nearly one hundred and fifty years on this novel remains fresh, accessible and immensely enjoyable.read more
Is this review helpful? Yes | NoThank you for your feedback.
A compelling and unusual mystery. Slow-paced like all Victorian literature, but that suits its moodiness. Despite the decades of detective fiction since, this book is still clever and unpredictable.read more
Is this review helpful? Yes | NoThank you for your feedback.
Wilkie Collins' "The Moonstone," an epistolary mystery story published in 1868, often is cited as one of the first, if not the first, detective novels ever written. No less a literary luminary than T.S. Eliot attributed to Collins the "invention" of the detective novel genre. "The Moonstone" is certainly an excellent mystery story, featuring what would become staples of classic Western detective fiction -- an amateur detective, a renown professional investigator, incompetent policemen, multiple false leads and red herrings, and an "inside job." It's also subtly laced with social commentary about class, race, sexuality, religious evangelism and substance abuse in Victorian England during a period when the British Empire ruled about a quarter of the world's population. For anyone interested in the genesis and evolution of the modern socially conscious detective novel, "The Moonstone" is impossible to ignore.read more
Is this review helpful? Yes | NoThank you for your feedback.
The Moonstone is a priceless yellow diamond stolen from its Indian temple and said to curse whoever has possession of it. When a dead uncle bequeaths the Moonstone to Rachel Verinder on her eighteenth birthday, it is promptly stolen from her own room overnight…and everyone in the household, from esteemed guest to lowly servant, is under suspicion.The Moonstone is an incredible Victorian detective novel with a varied cast of characters, a delicious mystery, and plot twists you won’t see coming. Collins does a fantastic job of balancing suspense throughout: just when you think things have slowed down, something happens to suck you back in. The last 100 or so pages are especially suspenseful almost to the point of being unbearable…in a good way.While the characters hardly change throughout the course of the novel (the focus here is on the mystery and the multiple-narrative format that Collins employs to tell the story), they are interesting enough to make us curious, especially as all of them seem to be hiding something that you’re just dying to find out. Overall, a highly recommended Victorian read, and not to be missed if you’re a fan of Victorian literature and classic mysteries!read more
Is this review helpful? Yes | NoThank you for your feedback.
The Moonstone is credited with being one of (if not the) first detective mystery novels, and I wanted to read it because another book I plan to read references it.

I liked it. It is the proverbial English country house mystery. Nice little dead ends, twists and fun stuff. Unlikely (and likely) suspects, a little of the paranormal-ish... I think it was the first to really feature a twist at the end, but nowadays we're so used to twists, it wasn't one to me (seriously, it was easy to figure out, but fun).

The story is a little long. It takes place through several narrators, from the house-manager to the aristocratic guest, the lady's religious niece, the opium addicted doctor, and the retired, rose-growing detective.

There is not a lot of overlap in the narratives, and the narratives follow the story chronologically, making them a wee bit less tedious than if we had to read about the same event from 5 viewpoints. There's a lot of thought, introspection, distractions, and human frailties in the narratives that make them interesting.

I also think it has held up well over time. Not bad. I'd recommend it to anyone that likes to read these kinds of novels or even watch these kinds of movies/shows.read more
Is this review helpful? Yes | NoThank you for your feedback.
Very fun! And Rachel is pretty gutsy for her time. She is an admirable heroine. The doctor's theory that explains the mystery is wacky. I had to suspend my disbelief to read the last part, but that's my only complaint.read more
Is this review helpful? Yes | NoThank you for your feedback.
A really good page turner of a book, where you don't really know what's going to happen next. The premise may be a little obscure and hard to believe, but the writing and the characters are excellent. Mr. Collins was a lesser known contemporary of Charles Dickens.read more
Is this review helpful? Yes | NoThank you for your feedback.
This is one of the first modern mystery stories, and it's fascinating. You absolutely cannot put it down. Plus, it has the soothing cadences that we all love in Victorian novels. Mystery readers will notice that, for a Victorian novel, the plot is not overly contrived. The story feels fairly authentic. Modern and Victorian all at once--the best of both worlds.read more
Is this review helpful? Yes | NoThank you for your feedback.
Very fun! And Rachel is pretty gutsy for her time. She is an admirable heroine. The doctor's theory that explains the mystery is wacky. I had to suspend my disbelief to read the last part, but that's my only complaint.read more
Is this review helpful? Yes | NoThank you for your feedback.
A really good page turner of a book, where you don't really know what's going to happen next. The premise may be a little obscure and hard to believe, but the writing and the characters are excellent. Mr. Collins was a lesser known contemporary of Charles Dickens.read more
Is this review helpful? Yes | NoThank you for your feedback.
This is one of the first modern mystery stories, and it's fascinating. You absolutely cannot put it down. Plus, it has the soothing cadences that we all love in Victorian novels. Mystery readers will notice that, for a Victorian novel, the plot is not overly contrived. The story feels fairly authentic. Modern and Victorian all at once--the best of both worlds.read more
Is this review helpful? Yes | NoThank you for your feedback.
Wilkie Collins uses a variety of narrators to tell the mystery of a beautiful diamond called "The Moonstone." Collins does a good job of relating the appropriate details at the appropriate times, and while the ultimate solution wasn't a complete surprise, it was still enjoyable to witness the unfolding of the tale. Collins' characters are nearly as full as his friend, Charles Dickens, was able to create. He is particularly hard on the religious characters in this book, but the hardness makes the characters more flat rather than interesting objects of satire. Overall, though, it's still an enjoyable read.read more
Is this review helpful? Yes | NoThank you for your feedback.
What an excellent book. It held me to the last with its different perspectives and the linking character of the inimitable Sergeant Cusk. The only thing I'm wondering is why it's taken my so many decades to come to it.read more
Is this review helpful? Yes | NoThank you for your feedback.
The Moonstone is generally regarded as a progenitor of detective fiction, with its Sergeant Cuff one of the very first professional crimesolvers. Collins sets up a traditionally Victorian scenario, in which we have a few typical characters, including the willful heiress, the irresponsible suitor, the admirable philanthropist, the observant butler, the servant with the criminal background, and the suspicious foreigners. He introduces the Moonstone, a large jewel stolen from India in the previous century and presented to the heiress upon her coming of age. It disappears almost immediately, and virtually everyone is a suspect.Collins rotates the narration among several characters, according to who was in the best position to observe each period of the story. I found that the first section, narrated by the butler Betteredge, dragged quite a bit before it finished. The next narrator, Mrs. Clack, was hilariously different, and each subsequent narrator provided a different view. However, the tone and vocabulary of most of the narrators were surprisingly indistinguishable. This technique could have been used to greater advantage to support the author's apparent interest in issues of social class.The story and its denouement reflect quite a bit about Collins's life and England during that period. The reader might notice the places during the book where an installment ended with a cliffhanger. Collins was a colleague of Dickens and shared some of his tastes and techniques. The characters are a mix of stereotype and fuller fleshing out. Collins uses occasional humor to leaven the typically rather heavy dramatic tone of the book. Overall I found it a book to be appreciated more than enjoyed.read more
Is this review helpful? Yes | NoThank you for your feedback.
Interesting for being the first modern detective story and also for its unique form (epistolary), this story throws out all kinds of plot threads as Mr. Collins leads his reader through the mystery. There are suggestions of curses and supernatural doings mixed in with unrequited love. An enjoyable read.read more
Is this review helpful? Yes | NoThank you for your feedback.
first line: "I address these lines--written in India--to my relatives in England."One night, as I was getting ready for bed, I plucked this book from my shelf and settled in to read it. I thought I'd just read a few chapters before sleeping.Several hours later, after daybreak, I had only a few scattered chapters left. While I didn't want to leave off reading, I was so tired I could hardly make sense of written words. So I slept for a while before returning to the book and devouring the last few chapters.Needless to say, I highly recommend this wonderfully gripping 19th-century British mystery to anyone with several hours to devote to it. (In other words, don't begin it at bedtime.)read more
Is this review helpful? Yes | NoThank you for your feedback.
What can i say that hasnt already been said at some point regarding this book? Pleasantly surprised that it has survived the test of time so well and found it to be an excellent read .read more
Is this review helpful? Yes | NoThank you for your feedback.
Diamonds may be a girl's best friend, but don't ask Rachel Verinder to agree with that maxim. She only had twelve hours to bask in the glow of the rare yellow diamond that was given to her on her 18th birthday. This stolen diamond came complete with an Indian curse and three Indians in hot pursuit of it as it once again disappears and becomes the focal point of this Victorian detective novel.Collins uses multiple narratives to ascertain the events of that fateful night and the year following it. These eye-witness accounts from some colorful characters help move the story along, although having been originally written in serial form, the book tends to be wordy with many needless cliffhangers. My limits of credulity were stretched by the reenactment of the night of the crime, and I became impatient with too many sealed letters that mostly revealed "secrets" that weren't relevant to the main story. Overall, I enjoyed the characters and dry humor more than I liked the story. If you like Victorian melodrama, you will most certainly like this book.read more
Is this review helpful? Yes | NoThank you for your feedback.
God, I love Wilkie Collins. As with Woman in White, there is mystery, complicated and well-developed characters, and strong female characters. It is obvious from his writing that Collins thought much differently than his counterparts about the abilities of women. In many ways this work could be compared to Woman in White, which is one of my favorite books of all time. The tempo and narration of Moonstone is just about perfect. I definitely recommend this for anyone who likes mysteries or novels of this time period.read more
Is this review helpful? Yes | NoThank you for your feedback.
Read all reviews

Reviews

Very fun! And Rachel is pretty gutsy for her time. She is an admirable heroine. The doctor's theory that explains the mystery is wacky. I had to suspend my disbelief to read the last part, but that's my only complaint.
Is this review helpful? Yes | NoThank you for your feedback.
A really good page turner of a book, where you don't really know what's going to happen next. The premise may be a little obscure and hard to believe, but the writing and the characters are excellent. Mr. Collins was a lesser known contemporary of Charles Dickens.
Is this review helpful? Yes | NoThank you for your feedback.
This is one of the first modern mystery stories, and it's fascinating. You absolutely cannot put it down. Plus, it has the soothing cadences that we all love in Victorian novels. Mystery readers will notice that, for a Victorian novel, the plot is not overly contrived. The story feels fairly authentic. Modern and Victorian all at once--the best of both worlds.
Is this review helpful? Yes | NoThank you for your feedback.
Wilkie Collins uses a variety of narrators to tell the mystery of a beautiful diamond called "The Moonstone." Collins does a good job of relating the appropriate details at the appropriate times, and while the ultimate solution wasn't a complete surprise, it was still enjoyable to witness the unfolding of the tale. Collins' characters are nearly as full as his friend, Charles Dickens, was able to create. He is particularly hard on the religious characters in this book, but the hardness makes the characters more flat rather than interesting objects of satire. Overall, though, it's still an enjoyable read.
Is this review helpful? Yes | NoThank you for your feedback.
What an excellent book. It held me to the last with its different perspectives and the linking character of the inimitable Sergeant Cusk. The only thing I'm wondering is why it's taken my so many decades to come to it.
Is this review helpful? Yes | NoThank you for your feedback.
The Moonstone is generally regarded as a progenitor of detective fiction, with its Sergeant Cuff one of the very first professional crimesolvers. Collins sets up a traditionally Victorian scenario, in which we have a few typical characters, including the willful heiress, the irresponsible suitor, the admirable philanthropist, the observant butler, the servant with the criminal background, and the suspicious foreigners. He introduces the Moonstone, a large jewel stolen from India in the previous century and presented to the heiress upon her coming of age. It disappears almost immediately, and virtually everyone is a suspect.Collins rotates the narration among several characters, according to who was in the best position to observe each period of the story. I found that the first section, narrated by the butler Betteredge, dragged quite a bit before it finished. The next narrator, Mrs. Clack, was hilariously different, and each subsequent narrator provided a different view. However, the tone and vocabulary of most of the narrators were surprisingly indistinguishable. This technique could have been used to greater advantage to support the author's apparent interest in issues of social class.The story and its denouement reflect quite a bit about Collins's life and England during that period. The reader might notice the places during the book where an installment ended with a cliffhanger. Collins was a colleague of Dickens and shared some of his tastes and techniques. The characters are a mix of stereotype and fuller fleshing out. Collins uses occasional humor to leaven the typically rather heavy dramatic tone of the book. Overall I found it a book to be appreciated more than enjoyed.
Is this review helpful? Yes | NoThank you for your feedback.
Interesting for being the first modern detective story and also for its unique form (epistolary), this story throws out all kinds of plot threads as Mr. Collins leads his reader through the mystery. There are suggestions of curses and supernatural doings mixed in with unrequited love. An enjoyable read.
Is this review helpful? Yes | NoThank you for your feedback.
first line: "I address these lines--written in India--to my relatives in England."One night, as I was getting ready for bed, I plucked this book from my shelf and settled in to read it. I thought I'd just read a few chapters before sleeping.Several hours later, after daybreak, I had only a few scattered chapters left. While I didn't want to leave off reading, I was so tired I could hardly make sense of written words. So I slept for a while before returning to the book and devouring the last few chapters.Needless to say, I highly recommend this wonderfully gripping 19th-century British mystery to anyone with several hours to devote to it. (In other words, don't begin it at bedtime.)
Is this review helpful? Yes | NoThank you for your feedback.
What can i say that hasnt already been said at some point regarding this book? Pleasantly surprised that it has survived the test of time so well and found it to be an excellent read .
Is this review helpful? Yes | NoThank you for your feedback.
Diamonds may be a girl's best friend, but don't ask Rachel Verinder to agree with that maxim. She only had twelve hours to bask in the glow of the rare yellow diamond that was given to her on her 18th birthday. This stolen diamond came complete with an Indian curse and three Indians in hot pursuit of it as it once again disappears and becomes the focal point of this Victorian detective novel.Collins uses multiple narratives to ascertain the events of that fateful night and the year following it. These eye-witness accounts from some colorful characters help move the story along, although having been originally written in serial form, the book tends to be wordy with many needless cliffhangers. My limits of credulity were stretched by the reenactment of the night of the crime, and I became impatient with too many sealed letters that mostly revealed "secrets" that weren't relevant to the main story. Overall, I enjoyed the characters and dry humor more than I liked the story. If you like Victorian melodrama, you will most certainly like this book.
Is this review helpful? Yes | NoThank you for your feedback.
God, I love Wilkie Collins. As with Woman in White, there is mystery, complicated and well-developed characters, and strong female characters. It is obvious from his writing that Collins thought much differently than his counterparts about the abilities of women. In many ways this work could be compared to Woman in White, which is one of my favorite books of all time. The tempo and narration of Moonstone is just about perfect. I definitely recommend this for anyone who likes mysteries or novels of this time period.
Is this review helpful? Yes | NoThank you for your feedback.
I seem to be going through a phase of re-reading books, and this is certainly one of my favourites - indeed, probably my favourite "classic".First published in 1868, it is certainly notable for its innovative approach to story telling. Nowadays we are familiar with novels written from more than one character's perspective, but I imagine that such an approach was probably very daring back in the 1860s. Collins handles this device, which could so easily have backfired, with great deftness, and the reader gleans a deep insight into the various characters as the successive narratives unfold.The "Moonstone" of the title is a diamond stolen from the head of a revered statue in a Hindu temple by John Herncastle, a British Officer serving in India. Over the following years stories about the lost jewel abounded, along with a growing belief that the stone might be cursed. Having subsided into illness Herncastle bequeathed the jewel to his niece Rachel Verinder, to be given to her on her eighteenth birthday.The Moonstone is to be delivered to Rachel by her cousin Franklin Blake, formerly a great favourite of the Verinder family, who has been travelling the world for the last few years. He arranges to visit the Verinder household in Yorkshire, arriving a few days ahead of Rachel's birthday. On the day that he is expected three itinerant Indian "jugglers" turn up and perform some odd tricks in the neighbourhood, and seem to be "casing" the Verinder house. Franklin Blake arrives a little earlier and, after consulting with Betteredge (the butler and wryly sage narrator of the opening section of the story), departs to the nearby town in order to lodge the jewel in its strongroom. Before he goes he bumps in to Rosanna Spearman, one of the domestic servants in the Verinder household. We subsequently learn that she had previously been in prison after having turned to crime to escape a life of deep deprivation down in London. Mr Verinder, aware of this background but also swayed by good reports of Rosanna's reform, had employed her some months previously. In that chance encounter with Franklin Blake Rosanna immediately falls madly in love with him.The day of the birthday arrives, and various other friends and relatives attend a special dinner. Rachel, who had known nothing about the Moonstone, is delighted by her special birthday present, and cannot be dissuaded from wearing it at the dinner table. Almost inevitably, the jewel is stolen from Rachel's room that night. Rachel herself is clearly disturbed by its loss and starts to behave in an uncharacteristically aggressive and bad-tempered manner. It soon becomes evident that she is particularly angry towards Franklin Blake.The local Superintendent of police is called in but achieves little. Meanwhile, Franklin Blake has communicated by telegraph with his father, an MP in London, who commissions the lugubrious Sergeant Cuff to travel up to take over the investigation. Cuff is generally credited as the first great detective in English literature and he certainly comes across as an awesome character. Like so many of his modern day successors, he has his oddities and his querulous side. In Cuff's case it is gardening, and particularly the rearing of roses, that dominates his thoughts away from his job.Cuff becomes convinced that Rachel Verinder herself is involved in the loss of the diamond, and speculates that she might somehow have incurred extensive debts, and then recruited Rosanna to help conceal the diamond and then smuggle it out of the house and down to London where it could be pawned or otherwise converted into much needed cash.Various other misadventures befall the characters, and one year on the mystery has not yet been resolved. It is at this point that, in what was to became a tradition in whodunnit stories, the scene is recreated, and a startling yet also convincing denouement is achieved.Collins was a close friend of Charles Dickens, and they collaborated on various publications. In The Moonstone, however, Collins displayed a fluidity and clarity of prose that Dickens never achieves. His satirical touch is light but more telling because of that. Nearly one hundred and fifty years on this novel remains fresh, accessible and immensely enjoyable.
Is this review helpful? Yes | NoThank you for your feedback.
A compelling and unusual mystery. Slow-paced like all Victorian literature, but that suits its moodiness. Despite the decades of detective fiction since, this book is still clever and unpredictable.
Is this review helpful? Yes | NoThank you for your feedback.
Wilkie Collins' "The Moonstone," an epistolary mystery story published in 1868, often is cited as one of the first, if not the first, detective novels ever written. No less a literary luminary than T.S. Eliot attributed to Collins the "invention" of the detective novel genre. "The Moonstone" is certainly an excellent mystery story, featuring what would become staples of classic Western detective fiction -- an amateur detective, a renown professional investigator, incompetent policemen, multiple false leads and red herrings, and an "inside job." It's also subtly laced with social commentary about class, race, sexuality, religious evangelism and substance abuse in Victorian England during a period when the British Empire ruled about a quarter of the world's population. For anyone interested in the genesis and evolution of the modern socially conscious detective novel, "The Moonstone" is impossible to ignore.
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The Moonstone is a priceless yellow diamond stolen from its Indian temple and said to curse whoever has possession of it. When a dead uncle bequeaths the Moonstone to Rachel Verinder on her eighteenth birthday, it is promptly stolen from her own room overnight…and everyone in the household, from esteemed guest to lowly servant, is under suspicion.The Moonstone is an incredible Victorian detective novel with a varied cast of characters, a delicious mystery, and plot twists you won’t see coming. Collins does a fantastic job of balancing suspense throughout: just when you think things have slowed down, something happens to suck you back in. The last 100 or so pages are especially suspenseful almost to the point of being unbearable…in a good way.While the characters hardly change throughout the course of the novel (the focus here is on the mystery and the multiple-narrative format that Collins employs to tell the story), they are interesting enough to make us curious, especially as all of them seem to be hiding something that you’re just dying to find out. Overall, a highly recommended Victorian read, and not to be missed if you’re a fan of Victorian literature and classic mysteries!
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The Moonstone is credited with being one of (if not the) first detective mystery novels, and I wanted to read it because another book I plan to read references it.

I liked it. It is the proverbial English country house mystery. Nice little dead ends, twists and fun stuff. Unlikely (and likely) suspects, a little of the paranormal-ish... I think it was the first to really feature a twist at the end, but nowadays we're so used to twists, it wasn't one to me (seriously, it was easy to figure out, but fun).

The story is a little long. It takes place through several narrators, from the house-manager to the aristocratic guest, the lady's religious niece, the opium addicted doctor, and the retired, rose-growing detective.

There is not a lot of overlap in the narratives, and the narratives follow the story chronologically, making them a wee bit less tedious than if we had to read about the same event from 5 viewpoints. There's a lot of thought, introspection, distractions, and human frailties in the narratives that make them interesting.

I also think it has held up well over time. Not bad. I'd recommend it to anyone that likes to read these kinds of novels or even watch these kinds of movies/shows.
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Very fun! And Rachel is pretty gutsy for her time. She is an admirable heroine. The doctor's theory that explains the mystery is wacky. I had to suspend my disbelief to read the last part, but that's my only complaint.
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A really good page turner of a book, where you don't really know what's going to happen next. The premise may be a little obscure and hard to believe, but the writing and the characters are excellent. Mr. Collins was a lesser known contemporary of Charles Dickens.
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This is one of the first modern mystery stories, and it's fascinating. You absolutely cannot put it down. Plus, it has the soothing cadences that we all love in Victorian novels. Mystery readers will notice that, for a Victorian novel, the plot is not overly contrived. The story feels fairly authentic. Modern and Victorian all at once--the best of both worlds.
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Very fun! And Rachel is pretty gutsy for her time. She is an admirable heroine. The doctor's theory that explains the mystery is wacky. I had to suspend my disbelief to read the last part, but that's my only complaint.
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A really good page turner of a book, where you don't really know what's going to happen next. The premise may be a little obscure and hard to believe, but the writing and the characters are excellent. Mr. Collins was a lesser known contemporary of Charles Dickens.
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This is one of the first modern mystery stories, and it's fascinating. You absolutely cannot put it down. Plus, it has the soothing cadences that we all love in Victorian novels. Mystery readers will notice that, for a Victorian novel, the plot is not overly contrived. The story feels fairly authentic. Modern and Victorian all at once--the best of both worlds.
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Wilkie Collins uses a variety of narrators to tell the mystery of a beautiful diamond called "The Moonstone." Collins does a good job of relating the appropriate details at the appropriate times, and while the ultimate solution wasn't a complete surprise, it was still enjoyable to witness the unfolding of the tale. Collins' characters are nearly as full as his friend, Charles Dickens, was able to create. He is particularly hard on the religious characters in this book, but the hardness makes the characters more flat rather than interesting objects of satire. Overall, though, it's still an enjoyable read.
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What an excellent book. It held me to the last with its different perspectives and the linking character of the inimitable Sergeant Cusk. The only thing I'm wondering is why it's taken my so many decades to come to it.
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The Moonstone is generally regarded as a progenitor of detective fiction, with its Sergeant Cuff one of the very first professional crimesolvers. Collins sets up a traditionally Victorian scenario, in which we have a few typical characters, including the willful heiress, the irresponsible suitor, the admirable philanthropist, the observant butler, the servant with the criminal background, and the suspicious foreigners. He introduces the Moonstone, a large jewel stolen from India in the previous century and presented to the heiress upon her coming of age. It disappears almost immediately, and virtually everyone is a suspect.Collins rotates the narration among several characters, according to who was in the best position to observe each period of the story. I found that the first section, narrated by the butler Betteredge, dragged quite a bit before it finished. The next narrator, Mrs. Clack, was hilariously different, and each subsequent narrator provided a different view. However, the tone and vocabulary of most of the narrators were surprisingly indistinguishable. This technique could have been used to greater advantage to support the author's apparent interest in issues of social class.The story and its denouement reflect quite a bit about Collins's life and England during that period. The reader might notice the places during the book where an installment ended with a cliffhanger. Collins was a colleague of Dickens and shared some of his tastes and techniques. The characters are a mix of stereotype and fuller fleshing out. Collins uses occasional humor to leaven the typically rather heavy dramatic tone of the book. Overall I found it a book to be appreciated more than enjoyed.
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Interesting for being the first modern detective story and also for its unique form (epistolary), this story throws out all kinds of plot threads as Mr. Collins leads his reader through the mystery. There are suggestions of curses and supernatural doings mixed in with unrequited love. An enjoyable read.
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first line: "I address these lines--written in India--to my relatives in England."One night, as I was getting ready for bed, I plucked this book from my shelf and settled in to read it. I thought I'd just read a few chapters before sleeping.Several hours later, after daybreak, I had only a few scattered chapters left. While I didn't want to leave off reading, I was so tired I could hardly make sense of written words. So I slept for a while before returning to the book and devouring the last few chapters.Needless to say, I highly recommend this wonderfully gripping 19th-century British mystery to anyone with several hours to devote to it. (In other words, don't begin it at bedtime.)
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What can i say that hasnt already been said at some point regarding this book? Pleasantly surprised that it has survived the test of time so well and found it to be an excellent read .
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Diamonds may be a girl's best friend, but don't ask Rachel Verinder to agree with that maxim. She only had twelve hours to bask in the glow of the rare yellow diamond that was given to her on her 18th birthday. This stolen diamond came complete with an Indian curse and three Indians in hot pursuit of it as it once again disappears and becomes the focal point of this Victorian detective novel.Collins uses multiple narratives to ascertain the events of that fateful night and the year following it. These eye-witness accounts from some colorful characters help move the story along, although having been originally written in serial form, the book tends to be wordy with many needless cliffhangers. My limits of credulity were stretched by the reenactment of the night of the crime, and I became impatient with too many sealed letters that mostly revealed "secrets" that weren't relevant to the main story. Overall, I enjoyed the characters and dry humor more than I liked the story. If you like Victorian melodrama, you will most certainly like this book.
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God, I love Wilkie Collins. As with Woman in White, there is mystery, complicated and well-developed characters, and strong female characters. It is obvious from his writing that Collins thought much differently than his counterparts about the abilities of women. In many ways this work could be compared to Woman in White, which is one of my favorite books of all time. The tempo and narration of Moonstone is just about perfect. I definitely recommend this for anyone who likes mysteries or novels of this time period.
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