The Moonstone

The Moonstone

Book - 1993
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Publisher: New York : Barnes & Noble, 1993.
ISBN: 9781566190923
1566190924
9781566191425
1566191424
Characteristics: 472 p. ; 21 cm.

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Hillsboro_BoE Sep 22, 2018

According to my theory, this may be the only Victorian thriller that did not produce a pop culture mascot. It's still worth your time and a great read for people that really like the puzzles in Sherlock Holmes fiction.


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Russ_A
May 18, 2019

This Victorian classic is generally credited as being the first detective novel. The Moonstone is a large diamond of religious significance to certain Indians. Legend has it that a curse follows the gem. The story begins with a tale of the diamond having been wrested from India by a British military man. Eventually it is given to a lovely young Rachel Verinder as a birthday present. It goes missing that same night. Lurking about outside are some suspicious itinerant Indian jugglers. The occupants of the house include partygoers and family among the gentry and various servants, including one with a criminal background. The police are called and Sergeant Cuff, a renowned detective, is on the case. The book is a long one and many mysteries requiring solving: who took the gem and where is it now, who will win (or lose) Rachel’s affection, what about the paint smear? All of these and more are eventually solved. I did not guess the final solution to the main one of the diamond. The plot is well crafted and it is a fair mystery.

The cast of characters is large and the story is narrated by several of them in turns. I listened to it as an audiobook from Naxos. There are several versions now since the book is in the public domain; I can recommend this one. It is a long book, 17 disks, which is all the better if you are looking for something to keep you interested for a long drive or set of commutes. You may be taken aback by the blatant male chauvinism and class prejudice, but it merely reflects the views of its day. If you enjoy Downton Abbey or Upstairs, Downstairs, this won’t bother you. If you don’t, then you might want to rethink this choice, but I can tell you I’m no fan of Downton and still enjoyed this classic mystery.

" Gentlefolks in general have a very awkward rock ahead in life--how often they drift blindfold into some nasty pursuit. Nine times out of ten they take to torturing something, or to spoiling something--and they firmly believe they are improving their minds, when the plain truth is, they are only making a mess in the house." " After publishing this novel, Collins wrote the play, THE MOONSTONE. THE WOMAN IN WHITE, his first mystery novel, was written eight years previous to THE MOONSTONE, but critics still refer to the later novel as 'the first mystery novel ever written.' Compared to mystery novels in general, Collins's are fleshed out, and are given a social weight to. This may mean that to some readers they may be too difficult to read, but to some people it is too difficult to read any novels. Does that mean kcls should jettison its stock of literature in favor of video games and terminals?

f
FVReader
Mar 17, 2018

I read this book perhaps 30 years ago and was a bit worried that it wouldn't live up to my memories of it. Not that I remembered details of the story but only how much I enjoyed it. Well, not to worry. This book lived up to expectations.
The story is full of quirky, wonderful, likeable characters. It contains mystery, suspense, love. It's told from various perspectives, all relating to the disappearance of ....you guessed it....the Moonstone.
I loved every page and every quirky discovery and event.
Wilkie Collins never disappoints.

f
FoxLarkin
Feb 21, 2018

Many aspects of the book were intriguing - I enjoyed the Victorian language, but overall, I found the ending weak; a disappointment after so many pages of enjoyment

sarahbru17 Aug 03, 2017

Characters: 7/10
Plot: 8/10
Writing: 7/10
Now, having been written a few centuries ago, this book reads a little differently from the mysteries we're used to these days, but it holds the same intrigue and compulsion to find answers. It's strange reading a historical mystery as opposed to a mystery that was actually written in 1868 (still a few decades before Sherlock Holmes). I enjoyed the premise, though perhaps I wasn't able to theorize as much as I would with a modern-day mystery because there were some things that were common knowledge at the time that are not common knowledge to me.

a
Abanks
Jul 26, 2016

A classic mystery with many surprising twists and turns. Went on a bit too long for my taste. and I did sometimes find my self more than a little exasperated with many of the narrators. At least the central mystery was compelling enough to keep me going and the ending was satisfying to me on a couple of levels.

j
julia_sedai
Jul 06, 2016

This was fun to read. It's pretty hilarious. It's a mystery written from the point of view of many different characters. My favourite characters were Betteredge and Clack. I was really into it in the beginning but by the end, I was getting impatient and just wanted to know what happened. I think the author did an absolutely fantastic job of hiding what really happened. I kept thinking it was one character, and then he would completely overthrow that assumption and make you think it was someone else. I recommend this for anyone who likes classics and mystery.

athompson10 Feb 02, 2016

Classic for a reason! Great story, interesting characters, lots of twists and turns.

k
KCWeimer
Feb 14, 2015

I cannot believe that, with as many books as I read (especially mysteries) that I had never read "The Moonstone." I am so glad that I have now read it. Wonderful story and fabulous characters. In addition, it has been a long time since I have read something published before the turn of the century (20th) and I had forgotten how beautiful language really can be. I can't say enough about how much I loved this book.

l
lukasevansherman
Jan 06, 2015

According to T.S. Eliot, this is "The first, the longest, and the best of modern English detective novels." Revolving around the stolen diamond of the title, "The Moonstone" was written by Wilkie Collins, a friend of Dickens and dabbler in laudanum. For those accustomed to the faster pace and more action-packed mystery stories of today, this is a little slow and creaky, but will appeal to fans of Victorian novels. Written from several different points of view. His other major novel is "The Woman in White."

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dmartin24
Aug 09, 2012

dmartin24 thinks this title is suitable for 8 years and over

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FavouriteFiction Sep 30, 2009

Three different first person accounts of the theft of a precious Moonstone diamond from a country mansion.

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