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The Moonstone (Wilkie Collins Classic Fiction)

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"The Moonstone is a page-turner," writes Carolyn Heilbrun. "It catches one up and unfolds its amazing story through the recountings of its several narrators, all of them enticing and singular." Wilkie Collins’s spellbinding tale of romance, theft, and murder inspired a hugely popular genre–the detective mystery. Hinging on the theft of an enormous diamond originally stolen "The Moonstone is a page-turner," writes Carolyn Heilbrun. "It catches one up and unfolds its amazing story through the recountings of its several narrators, all of them enticing and singular." Wilkie Collins’s spellbinding tale of romance, theft, and murder inspired a hugely popular genre–the detective mystery. Hinging on the theft of an enormous diamond originally stolen from an Indian shrine, this riveting novel features the innovative Sergeant Cuff, the hilarious house steward Gabriel Betteridge, a lovesick housemaid, and a mysterious band of Indian jugglers. This Modern Library Paperback Classic is set from the definitive 1871 edition.


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"The Moonstone is a page-turner," writes Carolyn Heilbrun. "It catches one up and unfolds its amazing story through the recountings of its several narrators, all of them enticing and singular." Wilkie Collins’s spellbinding tale of romance, theft, and murder inspired a hugely popular genre–the detective mystery. Hinging on the theft of an enormous diamond originally stolen "The Moonstone is a page-turner," writes Carolyn Heilbrun. "It catches one up and unfolds its amazing story through the recountings of its several narrators, all of them enticing and singular." Wilkie Collins’s spellbinding tale of romance, theft, and murder inspired a hugely popular genre–the detective mystery. Hinging on the theft of an enormous diamond originally stolen from an Indian shrine, this riveting novel features the innovative Sergeant Cuff, the hilarious house steward Gabriel Betteridge, a lovesick housemaid, and a mysterious band of Indian jugglers. This Modern Library Paperback Classic is set from the definitive 1871 edition.

30 review for The Moonstone (Wilkie Collins Classic Fiction)

  1. 4 out of 5

    Bill Kerwin

    The Moonstone, generally recognized as the first detective novel (despite the appearance of The Notting Hill Mystery a few years before), is not only a work of historical importance but also a work that transcends the genre it created, in the artfulness of its plotting, in its compassionate depiction of servants, and in its enlightened resolution of the theme of the British Empire, its crimes and their consequences. Not that I wish to minimize its historical importance. The Moonstone is the first The Moonstone, generally recognized as the first detective novel (despite the appearance of The Notting Hill Mystery a few years before), is not only a work of historical importance but also a work that transcends the genre it created, in the artfulness of its plotting, in its compassionate depiction of servants, and in its enlightened resolution of the theme of the British Empire, its crimes and their consequences. Not that I wish to minimize its historical importance. The Moonstone is the first—certainly the first fully-formed—detective novel, and it contains within that great “first” a number of little “firsts”: the first English country house mystery featuring a large guest list of suspects, the first crew of bumbling local policemen mucking about in the evidence, the first detective genius distinguished by an unlikely hobby, the first small, suggestive physical clue (a smear on the bottom of a newly-painted door), the first effective “red herrings” (I counted at least two), the first attempt at a precise reenactment of the crime at its original scene, and the first pursuit of a disguised criminal through the streets of a major city. But it is the plot, which uses all these “firsts” to great advantage, that both astonishes and pleases the reader. The Moonstone is at least three times the length of the average detective novel, and yet it sustains interest and maintains credibility throughout its many twists. turns, and asides. Its plot reminds me of the melody line of Bellini's “Casta Diva,” which strikes the ear as a thing of incomparable elegance, but never calls to mind—except upon later reflection—either its own extraordinary length or the expert craftsmanship such seamless length requires. Also impressive is Collins' sympathetic depiction of the English servant class. Steward and Butler Gabriel Betteredge is a marvelous comic character, memorable for his daily readings of Robinson Crusoe, which he reveres as a source of divination and practical guidance. But Betteredge is also the essentially reliable narrator of half the novel, and, as we learn of the events on the Verinder estate through his eyes and ears, we grow to love and trust him as a good man and an intelligent observer. Also noteworthy is Collins' presentation of Roseanna, the servant girl with a deformed shoulder and a criminal past. Collins treats her with dignity, neither as a comic grotesque nor as an object of simple pity, but as fully human person with a unique, blighted destiny. But perhaps my favorite thing about the book is Collins' use of “The Moonstone” itself, that great diamond snatched from a Hindu shrine by the villainous Colonel Herncastle during the Siege of Seringapatam—the 1799 climax to the Fourth Anglo-Mysore War which served to institutionalize English theft under the banner of the British East India Company. It is the second theft of this gem from the Verinder estate that precipitates the events of the novel, but memory of the original crime—and its curse—is never far from the reader, for the Brahmins who wish to return “The Moonstone” to the shrine of Chandra are never far away. At first these shadowy figures appear to be exotic villians, but Collins eventually shows us that the real criminals—both past and present—are the “respectable” English, and he grants his Hindu priests a moving coda. Sure, the ending of the novel is romantic, and exotic. But it is dignified and respectful of other cultures too. The real reason, however, that you should read The Moonstone is that it endures, after all these years, as a diverting and absorbing entertainment. The first detective novel is still as readable as if it were published today.

  2. 4 out of 5

    Jeffrey Keeten

    The Moonstone was published in 1868 and is considered by most people to be the first detective novel. Given the novels place in the history of the genre, that alone should put this book on most people's reading lists. To sweeten the pot, the plot is compelling, the last hundred pages I couldn't have put the book down for anything. I was caught up in the case and wanted to find out the why and the who in the mysterious circumstances surrounding the MOONSTONE. The novel is narrated by several diff The Moonstone was published in 1868 and is considered by most people to be the first detective novel. Given the novels place in the history of the genre, that alone should put this book on most people's reading lists. To sweeten the pot, the plot is compelling, the last hundred pages I couldn't have put the book down for anything. I was caught up in the case and wanted to find out the why and the who in the mysterious circumstances surrounding the MOONSTONE. The novel is narrated by several different people. My favorite was Gabriel Betteredge, the head servant at the Verinder house, who becomes a reluctant Watson for Detective Cuff during the investigation. He is a man convinced in the spiritual guidance of Robinson Crusoe and believes that any disruption in his life can be explained by reading and interpreting passages from his dogeared copy of Defoe's classic. "In this anxious frame of mind, other men might have ended by working themselves up into a fever; I ended in a different way. I lit my pipe, and took a turn at Robinson Crusoe." Betteredge is a man of his age and his views on women I found so ridiculous as to actually laugh out loud. "It is a maxim of mine that men (being superior creatures) are bound to improve women-if they can. When a woman wants me to do anything I always insist on knowing why. The oftener you make them rummage their own minds for a reason, the more manageable you will find them in all the relations of life. It isn't their fault (poor wretches!) that they act first, and think afterwards; it's the fault of the fools who humour them." Despite his archaic views, Betteredge proves to be a good assistant to the enigmatic Sergeant Cuff. Cuff's eyes had such intensity, "looking as if they expected something more from you than you were aware of yourself." Wilkie Collins based his character Sergeant Cuff on a real celebrated Victorian Detective Inspector Jack Whicher. Sergeant Cuff is summoned from London to investigate the disappearance of the Moonstone, and despite the reluctance of the household to help him in his investigations, he does come up with a theory (kept from us) that proves in the final pages of the book that he is worthy of his reputation. Cuff is as equally interested in the rose gardens (he has strong opinions) as he is in the crime he is investigating. "grass walkways never gravel" Collins does a great job putting flesh on the bones of the characters. We learn more about every major character than is necessary for the advancement of the plot. By the end of the novel I had the feeling that I was not only closing the cover on a great book, but also leaving behind some dear friends. Another narrator, that I was not fond of, in fact, she made my skin crawl is Drusilla Clack. A cousin of the family, Drusilla, with her tendency to eavesdrop and make herself in all ways intrusive on her family and "friends" is a born again christian. The novel is set in 1848 and the term born again was not in use until much later, but she fits the profile. She was determined to save everyone and carried about her person tracts of her hero Miss Jane Ann Stamper. Once she has invaded a house she would leave tracts scattered about in places where people would eventually find them, and hopefully receive the edification that Drusilla felt they needed. She seemed like this on first appearances. But like Drusilla from Buffy the Vampire Slayer she would pounce on people, not for blood, but for a chance to save their immortal souls. As I have mentioned, all the characters are well developed and Drusilla is no exception. She is a person, that after a previous encounter, you would go to great lengths to keep her from buttonholing you again. This book delivers. You will not be disappointed. If I read it again I will put on a kettle of good English tea, light some candles, and tuck myself into an armchair, suspending myself as well as I can back into a Victorian age. I had such a great time I will certainly be reading more Wilkie Collins. "You are welcome to be as merry as you please over everything else I have written. But when I write of Robinson Crusoe, by the Lord it's serious-and I request you to take it accordingly!" If you wish to see more of my most recent book and movie reviews, visit http://www.jeffreykeeten.com I also have a Facebook blogger page at:https://www.facebook.com/JeffreyKeeten

  3. 4 out of 5

    Tadiana ✩Night Owl☽

    4.5 stars, rounding up, for this 1868 Victorian-era mystery, often considered the first English-language detective novel. Wilkie Collins spins a literary web that starts out slowly but then inexorably pulls you in; I finished the last half of the book in one extended readathon. He has a gift for writing as vastly different characters, who each take a turn telling or writing their part of the story, and a droll, sometimes very sarcastic sense of humor. In 1799 a British soldier steals a large yell 4.5 stars, rounding up, for this 1868 Victorian-era mystery, often considered the first English-language detective novel. Wilkie Collins spins a literary web that starts out slowly but then inexorably pulls you in; I finished the last half of the book in one extended readathon. He has a gift for writing as vastly different characters, who each take a turn telling or writing their part of the story, and a droll, sometimes very sarcastic sense of humor. In 1799 a British soldier steals a large yellow diamond from a Hindu statute in India, ruthlessly killing three Indian men protecting the statue, and earning himself a curse from one of them in the process. He gets a bad reputation as a result and is shunned by his extended family in England. So when he dies, he leaves the Moonstone to his niece Rachel (whose mother refused to receive him as a guest in her home), knowing he's leaving her not only a 30,000 pound fortune in the jewel, but also a load of potential trouble: there's not just the amorphous curse, but three Indian men who have been following the owners of the Moonstone for years and are determined to steal it back, one way or another. Rachel's relative Franklin Blake is entrusted with bringing her the diamond for her 18th birthday, and falls in love with her as he gets to know her over several days. The Indians are lurking, looking for their chance to grab their gem. Rachel wears the Moonstone at a dinner party the night of her birthday, puts the jewel in a drawer in her bedroom ... and the next morning it's gone. The odd thing is, it looks like an inside job. The bumbling local police are of little help, and even the renowned outside detective, the estimable Sergeant Cuff, is unable to bring the case to a satisfactory conclusion, though part of the problem is that several people aren't cooperating with him. Wilkie Collins doesn't try all that hard to hide the villain in the tale, but the "how" is fascinatingly revealed over the last half of the book. I don't think Wilkie was particularly interested in giving readers all of the clues; this isn't really a mystery that is supposed to be solved by readers before the big reveal, in my opinion (the final reveal of exactly what went down that fateful night pretty much comes out of left field, though there are a few clues in the story). He's more interested in telling an exciting story, and he pulls just about everything into the mix: a massive jewel, star-crossed love, people hiding things for their own reasons, a servant with a highly suspicious past, dangerous quicksand, and a loyal servant with an amusing and rather touching devotion to Robinson Crusoe, which he treats as a sort of Bible. Better him than Rachel's cousin Drusilla Clack, an annoying Christian evangelist given to preaching and leaving tracts with titles like "Satan in the Hair Brush" around people's homes! This proto-detective novel does get a little slow at times (Victorian authors typically weren't in a hurry to tell their stories), but once the storyline really started moving along in the second half I thought it was a great read. Plus points for handling the Indian subplot in a manner that's unusually sensitive for books written in the Victorian age.

  4. 5 out of 5

    Sean

    The following is a recently found letter written by the English author Charles Dickens to his friend Wilkie Collins concerning the latter’s newly released 1868 novel The Moonstone: Charles Dickens 11 Gad’s Hill Place Hingham, Kent England November 13, 1868 Dear Wilkie, I am now pressing my pen against this paper to congratulate you on the success of your excellent new novel, The Moonstone. I have just completed reading it and I would like to present you with my opinion that this was, as they say, a tr The following is a recently found letter written by the English author Charles Dickens to his friend Wilkie Collins concerning the latter’s newly released 1868 novel The Moonstone: Charles Dickens 11 Gad’s Hill Place Hingham, Kent England November 13, 1868 Dear Wilkie, I am now pressing my pen against this paper to congratulate you on the success of your excellent new novel, The Moonstone. I have just completed reading it and I would like to present you with my opinion that this was, as they say, a true “page turner” in every sense of the word. I am also taking the liberty to take this compliment a step further by stating that this is one of the finest mystery novels of all time. I must confess that I have never actually read a book such as this that captures the sensation of a mysterious theft and a thorough investigation that follows it. It was a fascinating read throughout as the solution to the mystery was also entirely above my suspicion. I also thoroughly enjoyed the use of multi-narration where the reader obtains various different viewpoints during the inquiry concerning the loss of the Indian diamond. I believe that this novel, The Moonstone, has successfully maintained the same exceptional level of quality as your masterpiece, The Woman in White, and it ranks among the top tiers of the written pages from our fellow countrymen. I have not the shadow of a doubt that this book will continue to enthrall readers for centuries to come. The Moonstone is a best-seller at the local bookseller here in Kent and my excitement for your continued success is immense. Well done, my dear friend Wilkie. We shall celebrate this achievement over a glass of Cognac. Best wishes and I look forward to reading your future works. Your friend always, Charles Dickens

  5. 5 out of 5

    Paul Bryant

    The problem with mysteries – for me, anyway, is that I don't care who did it. Which is a drawback. I just think well, it's one of those characters the author has given a name to, it won't be the fourth man back on the upper deck of the omnibus mentioned briefly on page 211. It will be someone with a name. And further, it will be someone who you don't think it will be, because that's the whole point. You don't think it's going to be that person so it's a surprise. So, if it turns out to be the no The problem with mysteries – for me, anyway, is that I don't care who did it. Which is a drawback. I just think well, it's one of those characters the author has given a name to, it won't be the fourth man back on the upper deck of the omnibus mentioned briefly on page 211. It will be someone with a name. And further, it will be someone who you don't think it will be, because that's the whole point. You don't think it's going to be that person so it's a surprise. So, if it turns out to be the not-obvious person (how could the little spinster with the gammy foot batter the ten foot Guardsman to death and scale the west wall on the fateful night? Well, she was on Victorian crack is how) I say – wow, how obvious. She was really not obviously the murderer, so she was obviously the murderer. However, I really liked Wilkie's novels The Woman in White and No Name, so I read this. In a modern detective tale, you have your detective, and there is a detective in this one, but he only occupies a short part of the story, he quickly retires to grow roses, literally, that's not a euphemism for some kind of rent boy scandal, so the rest of the story is made up by narratives from five or six main characters. Now comes the dance of the seven veils. Because if two narrators had been given their voice, the whole novel would have been over in 50 pages. You get the longwinded thoughts of all the people who DON'T know what actually happened. By page 350, after being mumbled at, prevaricated over, and digressed to for what seemed days, NAY, weeks, by Wilkie Collins' five narrators, all of whom suffer from amusing psychological tics and endearing human flaws, or was it the other way round, and all of whom could have summarised their tales onto two pages of foolscap, I was ready to shrink myself to the size of a capital R (pronounced "aargh") and insert myself into this novel Fantastic Voyage-style and grab a passing amateur sleuth and confess loudly I STOLE YOUR DAMNED MOONSTONE, ARREST ME, AND THERE'S AN END OF IT! (Memo - write future review of Victorian novel as if invested into it Fantastic Voyage-style. Should be hilarious.) Actually, there is a point to all this 430 pages of Moonstone. The whole plot, and this, strangely enough, is not a spoiler, hangs on the attempt of one guy to give up smoking. So The Moonstone is a very elaborate warning that going cold turkey is a bad idea, you must use the patches. The Moonstone is often cited as the earliest medical warning story – later examples are Dr Jeckyll and Mr Hyde, which concerns self-medication and its dangers, and Henry James' Daisy Miller, which explains to tourists that they must get all their vaccinations. The genre is still thriving - the recent movie Bad Lieutenant – Port of New Orleans is all about inappropriate methods of combating severe back pain. In the end I thought this was the Monkees instead of The Beatles, Pleasant Valley Sunday instead of Tomorrow Never Knows.

  6. 4 out of 5

    Alex

    The Moonstone is known as the first detective novel*, and it's a cracking one. You can see things invented here that were directly borrowed by future writers: Holmes' overconfidence (and his use of London urchins as agents); Agatha Christie's exploration of narrative reliability. * as opposed to Poe's Dupin, which was the first detective story - I know, we're splitting hairs. And if the mystery's not enough for you, how about mysterious Oriental cultures? Romance? Quicksand?* Opium? This is a lud The Moonstone is known as the first detective novel*, and it's a cracking one. You can see things invented here that were directly borrowed by future writers: Holmes' overconfidence (and his use of London urchins as agents); Agatha Christie's exploration of narrative reliability. * as opposed to Poe's Dupin, which was the first detective story - I know, we're splitting hairs. And if the mystery's not enough for you, how about mysterious Oriental cultures? Romance? Quicksand?* Opium? This is a ludicrously entertaining book, almost on the level of Count of Monte Cristo for sheer kicks. * Things I Was Super On The Watch For When I Was A Kid And It Turns Out They Are Not Actually Things - Alligators - Amnesia - Chloroform-soaked rags - Razors in apples - Steamrollers - Quicksand It shares with Collins' other masterpiece, The Woman in White, a preoccupation with narrative - from different sources, in different voices, with varying motives and degrees of reliability. Like Woman in White, it's set up like a court case: a series of witnesses come forward to tell their part of the story in more or less chronological order, while commenting on (and insulting) each other's narratives. Many characters also cite other texts: Betteredge is obsessed with Robinson Crusoe; Miss Clack carts around a variety of religious tracts, all of which are made up, which sucks because how badly do you want to read "Satan in the Hairbrush" and "A Word With You On Your Cap Ribbons"? Pretty bad, man - and finally, Ezra Jennings will cite De Quincey's landmark drug memoir Memoirs of an Opium Eater. Which, by the way: unlike Woman in White (1860), The Moonstone (1868) was written while Collins was deep in the throes of a laudanum addiction, and the whole thing can be seen as, more or less, about opium. Also unlike Woman in White, which features one of my all-time favorite female heroines, the diamond-sharp Miss Halcombe, The Moonstone has an awkward relationship to women. Many of its narrators are prone to statements like this:"Men (being superior creatures) are bound to improve women - if they can. When a woman wants me to do anything, I always insist on knowing why. The oftener you make them rummage their own minds for a reason, the more manageable you will find them in all the relations of life.The first couple times you see stuff like this you can figure Collins means for you to laugh at it - but after like ten different people say things along similar lines, you do start to wonder a little. Woman in White just edges out Moonstone for me as my favorite Collins. Its characters - Miss Halcombe and the mighty Count Fosco - are more indelible than Moonstone's. But The Moonstone includes a thinly disguised Richard Burton, as well as the terrifically bitchy Miss Clack...look, here's my secret: I like Collins better than his buddy Dickens. This book is a gang of fun.

  7. 4 out of 5

    Kyle

    Though Wilkie Collins was long-time friends with Charles Dickens, they had drastically different writing styles, and suffered some rough patches in their relationship. In a letter to someone, Dickens talks about his thoughts on The Moonstone: "The construction is wearisome beyond endurance, and there is a vein of obstinate conceit in it that makes enemies of readers." What the heck? Who's this Dickens guy, anyway? What the heck does he know about writing? Sheesh! I don't know what book the vaunte Though Wilkie Collins was long-time friends with Charles Dickens, they had drastically different writing styles, and suffered some rough patches in their relationship. In a letter to someone, Dickens talks about his thoughts on The Moonstone: "The construction is wearisome beyond endurance, and there is a vein of obstinate conceit in it that makes enemies of readers." What the heck? Who's this Dickens guy, anyway? What the heck does he know about writing? Sheesh! I don't know what book the vaunted Mr. Charles Dickens read, but the book I read was absolutely wonderful. It was hilarious, entertaining, smart, and everything else that makes a good novel. Beyond that, it was especially surprising! Being one of the first detective novels, I expected it to be rather dry. Maybe a little dull, or outdated feeling. Perhaps even a bit shallow and boring. I'm pleased to say, that it was none of these things. For a book written in the mid-1800's this novel has a remarkably modern feel. Though the main plot is a detective-style mystery, there is a wonderful underlying social commentary aspect, all revealed through the lenses of the unique cast of characters. The story is brilliantly told by using various written narratives of different people, all which not only tease us with knowledge of the mystery at just the right pace, but also provide wildly entertaining character studies of the people writing them. From (my favorite character) the chauvinistic old butler, who wants nothing more than to serve his household faithfully while leaning upon the crutch of Robinson Crusoe and his tobacco pipe, to the absolutely, but painfully, hilarious distant cousin who is on a mission to convert everyone to her particular brand of christian values. Each character's narrative is written in their unique voice, and it makes you love them all even when you're hating them. I think Collins himself puts it perfectly, when he said that, unlike examining the influence of circumstances upon character (as many other novels), this book examines the influence of character upon circumstance. This isn't some novel where you place an average person in an extraordinary situation, and watch what becomes of them. This is a novel where the extraordinary characters are the movers and shakers of the plot. Yet, even as wonderfully unique as these characters are, they are all at the same time, so wonderfully human. With the narrative style Collins chose, we are allowed insight into the characters' thought processes, and feelings; we are able to see more than what actually happens. In many other novels, this approach might generate superfluous noise, but in The Moonstone it keeps the book churning at a page-burning pace, and allows us to appreciate the smaller aspects of the novel, even when the larger parts might normally be prepared to overshadow them. This book almost feels like one of those "guilty pleasure books" people always try to judge others for reading, but you can hold your head high on this one. It's fun, fast-paced, and riveting, but nobody can accuse it of being shallow. Each character brings not only a unique perspective on the main plot/mystery of the novel, but also a unique perspective on the world around them. Let's explore what I mean with a couple of my favorite gentlefolk, shall we?: The old butler: "People in high life have all the luxuries to themselves-among others, the luxury of indulging their feelings. People in low life have no such privilege. Necessity, which spares our betters, has no pity on us. We learn to put our feelings back into ourselves, and to jog on with our duties as patiently as may be. I don't complain of this--I only notice it." "There's a bottom of good sense, Mr. Franklin, in our conduct to our mothers, when they first start us on the journey of life. We are all of us more or less unwilling to be brought into this world. And we are all of us right." The self-righteous cousin, whose only want is to share her beloved tracts*: "I paid the cabman exactly his fare. He received it with an oath; upon which I instantly gave him a tract. If I had presented a pistol at his head, this abandoned wretch could hardly have exhibited greater consternation. He jumped up on his box, and, with profane exclamations of dismay, drove off furiously. Quite useless, I am happy to say! I sowed the good seed, in spite of him, by throwing a second tract in at the window of the cab." "When I folded up my things that night--when I reflected on the true riches which I had scattered with such a lavish hand, from top to bottom of the house of my wealthy aunt--I declare I felt as free from all anxiety as if I had been a child again. I was so lighthearted that I sang a verse of the Evening Hymm. I was so lighthearted that I fell asleep before I could sing another. Quite like a child again! Quite like a child again! So I passed the blissful night. On rising the next morning, how young I felt! I might add, how young I looked, if I were capable of dwelling on the concerns of my own perishable body. But I am not capable--and I add nothing." Even though I could go on and on with wonderfully entertaining passages, I realize I've already over done it on the quotations, so this humble reviewer must desist before he loses himself. Basically, read this book. If you like detective novels, or if you like Victorian novels, or if you like novels in general, read this. It's quite fun! The true mark of a great mystery novel is that even if you know or "solved" the mystery, the book still manages to keep your attention and make you want to see the conclusion unfold for yourself. I can't imagine re-reading most mystery novels I can think of, but I can't imagine not re-reading The Moonstone again in the future. It's simply too much fun. _____________________________________ *A small, religious pamphlet.

  8. 5 out of 5

    Daniel

    I was torn between giving two stars and three stars to Wilkie Collins's "The Moonstone," a book T. S. Eliot called "the first, the longest, and the best of modern English detective novels." "Longest" is perhaps the operative word here, reminding one of Samuel Johnson's comment (speaking, in his case, of Milton's "Paradise Lost") that none ever wished it longer. "The Moonstone"'s length, in the end, is its chief and perhaps only major failing. Large chunks of the novel seem to drag on and on with I was torn between giving two stars and three stars to Wilkie Collins's "The Moonstone," a book T. S. Eliot called "the first, the longest, and the best of modern English detective novels." "Longest" is perhaps the operative word here, reminding one of Samuel Johnson's comment (speaking, in his case, of Milton's "Paradise Lost") that none ever wished it longer. "The Moonstone"'s length, in the end, is its chief and perhaps only major failing. Large chunks of the novel seem to drag on and on with few advancements being made to the plot in the process. The latter parts of the section narrated by Gabriel Betteredge, chief servant to the Verinder household, and almost all of Drusilla Clack's section really could have used some judicious editing. I suspect, though, that long after I forget what a slog much of "The Moonstone" was to get through, I'll remember its many charms. Betteredge is a particularly fun narrator, given his obsession with Daniel Defoe's "Robinson Crusoe" -- a book he treats as a cross between the Holy Bible and Nostradamus's "Prophecies" -- and his jaundiced eye toward male-female relations. Collins also must have had a ball making Drusilla Clack one of the most judgmental, grating Christian evangelists in English literature. Particularly priceless are the passages in which she wanders around the Verinder household and strategically places religious tracts in spots where family members, she hopes, would just happen upon them, instantly putting her relatives on the path to salvation. Betteredge and Clack are so compelling that almost every other character in "The Moonstone," with the possible exception of opium addict Ezra Jennings, pales in comparison. Rachel Verinder -- despite being at the book's center as the recipient of the Indian diamond known as the Moonstone, the theft of which the plot revolves around -- isn't as fully drawn as the other characters, perhaps because she never takes over narration of the story. This, in a way, actually demonstrates one of Collins's chief skills as a writer: as each narrator takes his or her turn telling the story, that section of the book really becomes more about him or her than about the plot. And that, ultimately, is what makes "The Moonstone" an interesting book. Despite being such an early and influential mystery novel -- it predated Arthur Conan Doyle's introduction of Sherlock Holmes by almost two decades -- it's really more about the characters themselves, their view of the world, and the decisions they make than it is about solving the mystery of the diamond's disappearance. It's a shame that more of today's mystery novelists haven't learned that lesson from "The Moonstone." In retrospect, I realize I'm perhaps making "The Moonstone" sound like more of a four-star book, but trust me: the long, drawn-out sections of the book really are incredibly long and drawn out. I cannot overstate just how much this book tests the reader's patience, and for scores of pages at a time.

  9. 4 out of 5

    Nikoleta

    Με την έναρξη του βιβλίου, εμείς οι αναγνώστες γινόμαστε γνώστες του ότι στο συγκεκριμένο χρονικό σημείο, το έγκλημα έχει γίνει και ήδη έχει εξιχνιαστεί. Η ανάγνωση που θα ακολουθήσει είναι οι διηγήσεις των προσώπων που έγιναν μάρτυρες της πολύπλοκης αυτής ιστορίας, τις οποίες έγραψαν έπειτα από την διαλεύκανση του μυστηρίου την οποία ακολουθούμε βήμα βήμα μέσα απο τις διηγήσεις τους. Ένα έχω να πω, απολαυστική ιστορία, από απολαυστικούς χαρακτήρες. Το παιχνίδι ανάμεσα στον συγγραφέα και τον αναγ Με την έναρξη του βιβλίου, εμείς οι αναγνώστες γινόμαστε γνώστες του ότι στο συγκεκριμένο χρονικό σημείο, το έγκλημα έχει γίνει και ήδη έχει εξιχνιαστεί. Η ανάγνωση που θα ακολουθήσει είναι οι διηγήσεις των προσώπων που έγιναν μάρτυρες της πολύπλοκης αυτής ιστορίας, τις οποίες έγραψαν έπειτα από την διαλεύκανση του μυστηρίου την οποία ακολουθούμε βήμα βήμα μέσα απο τις διηγήσεις τους. Ένα έχω να πω, απολαυστική ιστορία, από απολαυστικούς χαρακτήρες. Το παιχνίδι ανάμεσα στον συγγραφέα και τον αναγνώστη, είχε κερδηθεί ήδη από την πρώτη διήγηση, αυτή του καμαριέρη Μπέτερεζ, αυτού του υπέροχου παππού, με την εμμονή στο μυθιστόρημα «Ροβινσώνας Κρούσος». Και σε αυτή, και στην επόμενη διήγηση, αυτή της εξαδέλφης μις Κλακ –καταπληκτική θρησκόληπτη, εμμονική φιγούρα γεροντοκόρης της εποχής εκείνης- ο Κόλλινς δίνει ρεσιτάλ αφηγηματικού μπρίου! Υπέροχο βιβλίο!

  10. 5 out of 5

    Simona Bartolotta

    “I am (thank God!) constitutionally superior to reason. [...] Profit, good friends, I beseech you, by my example. It will save you from many troubles of the vexing sort. Cultivate a superiority to reason, and see how you pare the claws of all the sensible people when they try to scratch you for your own good!” I've wanted to read it since I read The D. Case or The Truth About The Mystery Of Edwin Drood and The Mystery of Edwin Drood. I've discovered a new favourite author. I am happy. And the fin “I am (thank God!) constitutionally superior to reason. [...] Profit, good friends, I beseech you, by my example. It will save you from many troubles of the vexing sort. Cultivate a superiority to reason, and see how you pare the claws of all the sensible people when they try to scratch you for your own good!” I've wanted to read it since I read The D. Case or The Truth About The Mystery Of Edwin Drood and The Mystery of Edwin Drood. I've discovered a new favourite author. I am happy. And the final essay by Eliot delighted my literature student crave for a little literary history. More detailed comment to follow

  11. 4 out of 5

    knig

    Literary 2012 is closing on an auspicious high, no doubt about it. These are the facts. First, there was waterworks over Turgenev’s Fathers and Children a couple of weeks ago. Second, upon finding out that my favourite film Marienbad was based on The Invention of Morel, which now ordered will see me through to the New Year, there was flushed excitement. Third, I have not stopped laughing since I took up The Moonstone. A veritable boon of emotions. Some have pointed out it might be less the influen Literary 2012 is closing on an auspicious high, no doubt about it. These are the facts. First, there was waterworks over Turgenev’s Fathers and Children a couple of weeks ago. Second, upon finding out that my favourite film Marienbad was based on The Invention of Morel, which now ordered will see me through to the New Year, there was flushed excitement. Third, I have not stopped laughing since I took up The Moonstone. A veritable boon of emotions. Some have pointed out it might be less the influence of books and more the signs of the menopause, but to them I come armed with Miss Clack’s irrefutable tracts of the early edition-only the twenty fifth-of the famous anonymous work by the precious miss Bellows entitled ‘The Serpent at Home’, where right past the chapter ‘Satan in the Hairbrush’ and ‘Satan under the Teatable’ there is Satan on the Tongue. (amongst the many others. I’m sure). Now there will be those who say this is a poor sort of protracted mystery indeed with oodles of trivia and asides not pertinent to the matter at hand. To them, I would say something. But first, like Betteredge, in plain English I’m going stare hard and say nothing. Then I will instantly exert my wits but being of a slovenly English sort, they are consequently muddled until someone takes them in hand points out what they ought to do. In this case, things stand just like the relationship with Betteredge and his deceased wife, who seemed, with the best of motives, to be getting in one anothers way: if he wanted to go upstairs, she would be coming down, or when he wanted to go down, there she was coming up. And so it is here: its not about the mystery, but the parade of misbegotten, ridiculous characters bumbling about in their cloaks of self importance and delusions of grandeur, as Collins tears into them with unabashed irony. No need to have read Robinson Crusoe to get the gist.

  12. 5 out of 5

    Ahmad Sharabiani

    862. The Moonstone, Wilkie Collins The Moonstone (1868) by Wilkie Collins is a 19th-century British epistolary novel, generally considered the first full length detective novel in the English language. The Moonstone tells of the events surrounding the disappearance of a mysterious (and cursed) yellow diamond. T. S. Eliot called it 'the first, the longest, and the best of modern English detective novels'. It contains a number of ideas which became common tropes of the genre, including a crime bein 862. The Moonstone, Wilkie Collins The Moonstone (1868) by Wilkie Collins is a 19th-century British epistolary novel, generally considered the first full length detective novel in the English language. The Moonstone tells of the events surrounding the disappearance of a mysterious (and cursed) yellow diamond. T. S. Eliot called it 'the first, the longest, and the best of modern English detective novels'. It contains a number of ideas which became common tropes of the genre, including a crime being investigated by talented amateurs who happen to be present when it is committed, and two police officers who exemplify respectively the 'Scotland Yard bungler' and the skilled, professional detective. Characters: Franklin Blake, Rachel Verinder, Godfrey Ablewhite, Gabriel Betteredge, Rosanna Spearman, Drusilla Clack, Mathew Bruff, Lady Verinder, Sergeant Cuff, Dr. Candy, Ezra Jennings, Octavius Guy, Penelope Betteredge. عنوان­ها: س‍ن‍گ‌ م‍اه؛ الماس شوم؛ ماه­سنگ؛ ماه الماس؛ نویسنده: ویلکی کالینز؛ انتشاراتیها: (سنبله، مجرد، عطایی، نشر مرکز)؛ ادبیات قرن نوزدهم؛ تاریخ نخستین خوانش: دوم ماه دسامبر سال 2006 میلادی عنوان یک: الماس‌ شوم (سنگ ماه)، نویسنده: ویلکی کالینز؛ مترجم: مهین قهرمان، نشر: ت‍ه‍ران، عطائی، 1384، در 364 ص.، ‏فروست: موسسه انتشارات عطائی، 649، رم‍ان، 48، شابک: 9789643136482 عنوان دو: ماهسنگ، مترجم: حمیدرضا ضرابی، نشر: مشهد، سنبله، 1383، در 107 ص،؛ عنوان سه: سنگ ماه (متن کوتاه شده)، مترجم: مهین دانشور، رمان پلیسی: ادبیات جهان برای جوانان، نشر: تهران، نشر مرکز، کتاب مریم‏، 1376، در 208 ص، مصور. يادداشت: چاپ قبلی: مجرد، 1363؛ این رمان به صورت پیوسته در مجله‌ ای به سرپرستی چارلز دیکنز منتشر می‌شد و نخستین بار در سال 1868 میلادی به صورت کتاب در انگلستان به چاپ رسید. رمان ماه‌ الماس در کنار رمان زن سفیدپوش از بهترین رمان‌های ویلکی کالینز به حساب می‌آیند. تی. اس. الیوت شاعر و نمایشنامه‌ نویس آمریکایی، در مقدمه‌ ای بر رمان ماه‌ الماس، آنرا «نخستین، بلندترین و بهترین رمان پلیسی مدرن انگلیسی» خوانده است. این کتاب در ایران در سالهای مختلف توسط ناشرین‌ متفاوت، تحت عنوان­های: «س‍ن‍گ‌ م‍اه» و «الماس شوم» و «ماه­سنگ» و «ماه الماس» منتشر شده است. رمان ماه‌ الماس را انتشارات نیلوفر در سال 1394 هجری خورشیدی با ترجمه منوچهر بدیعی به فارسی منتشر کرده است. ا. شربیانی

  13. 5 out of 5

    Jason Koivu

    I guess a review of this requires me to say that Wilkie Collins' The Moonstone is one of the first mystery novels ever written. Now that I've got that out of the way, let's get on with the review. This English drama/mystery started out great. It also started out much the same way many English drama/mysteries of the period would start out: in the manor house. It also used the popular-in-its-time epistolary form of storytelling, with about a half dozen characters taking up their pens to relate thei I guess a review of this requires me to say that Wilkie Collins' The Moonstone is one of the first mystery novels ever written. Now that I've got that out of the way, let's get on with the review. This English drama/mystery started out great. It also started out much the same way many English drama/mysteries of the period would start out: in the manor house. It also used the popular-in-its-time epistolary form of storytelling, with about a half dozen characters taking up their pens to relate their portion of this story. What is the story? Well, it starts off like an adventure with a mysterious diamond discovered in a faraway land. The diamond is passed down as inheritance and then it is stolen. Lovers are torn asunder and the mystery of the missing diamond must be solved if love is to prevail. In fact, love plays a large roll in this, so large actually that I'm inclined to call it a romance as much as a mystery. If memory serves, it is even referred to as such as a subtitle, as in The Moonstone, a romance. Regardless, if you've come solely for the mystery you'll be disappointed in much of this. As I say, it started out great. The first quarter or so of the story is related by the butler and much of his portion of the tale involves the facts of the case. He's also a colorful character, who it seems Collins enjoyed writing about. After him, we move on to less charming characters such a fanatic Christian, a lawyer, a physician, detective and one of the principle suspects involved in the disappearance of the diamond. The faults, for me, in this novel are its overlong explanations, its unnecessary sidebar storylines, occasional repetition, and the time spent dwelling on the mundane. Many scenes could have been easily reduced, some could have been dispensed with all together, and the book would've been all the better for it. All in all, it's not horrible. I'd put it in league with Dickens' middling work. Not worth rushing forth to read, but I wouldn't dismiss it altogether.

  14. 5 out of 5

    Fernando

    “La mejor receta para la novela policíaca: el detective no debe saber nunca más que el lector.” Agatha Christie ¿De qué manera puede escribirse una obra maestra de seiscientas treinta páginas en la que nunca decae el interés por saber como termina? ¿De qué se compone la genialidad de un escritor para elaborar una historia con tantos giros, ribetes y escenas impensadas sin confundir al lector? ¿Puede un escritor ser tan hábil para mantener el suspense en una novela policial que atravesó todas las “La mejor receta para la novela policíaca: el detective no debe saber nunca más que el lector.” Agatha Christie ¿De qué manera puede escribirse una obra maestra de seiscientas treinta páginas en la que nunca decae el interés por saber como termina? ¿De qué se compone la genialidad de un escritor para elaborar una historia con tantos giros, ribetes y escenas impensadas sin confundir al lector? ¿Puede un escritor ser tan hábil para mantener el suspense en una novela policial que atravesó todas las épocas desde que fue publicada allá por 1868 y que sigue cautivando aún hoy en 2017? Definitivamente sí y Wilkie Collins lo logra con la perfección de los más grandes. Esta novela es para muchos, uno de las tres mejores novelas policiales de todos los tiempos y todos esos componentes que yo enumero en mis preguntas iniciales lo confirman. Collins trabaja la historia en cada una de sus partes atada al evento principal que es el robo de un enorme diamante, llamado "la piedra lunar" durante el cumpleaños número dieciocho de Miss Rachel Verdiner, pero ese diamante posee toda una historia detrás que es la que el autor anticipa en los capítulos iniciales, puesto que de otra manera no entenderíamos cómo se suceden los hechos. La preciosa gema ha sido traída desde un templo de la India en forma indebida y esto le acarreará a los que la posean un sinnúmero de inconvenientes en los personajes que formaron parte de ese cumpleaños y que son los que se relatan a lo largo del libro. Para que todo esto tenga cohesión y solidez, Collins dispone la trama a partir de los testimonios, en gran parte del mayordomo de la familia, Gabriel Betteredge, cuya reconstrucción de lo sucedido, ocupa casi un cuarto de la extensión del libro pero que a la postre es clave para que el lector pueda guiarse en los hechos narrados. Un dato muy pintoresco acerca de este particular personaje es que utiliza como guía para su vida el libro Robinson Crusoe de Jonathan Swift. Para él es su Biblia y siempre sostiene que muchas de las cosas que sucede en ese libro o las frases de Crusoe dice son casi proféticas para él. Gabriel Betteredge es un personaje muy especial y esta característica logra que el lector sienta una profunda empatía para con este pintoresco anciano. Ahora bien. Betteredge no es el único de los implicados en esto. No es tan fácil arribar al descubrimiento de quién se robó la gema ni de cuántas personas hay implicadas en ello y cuáles son las verdaderamente sospechosas. Es a partir de los relatos de los otros testigos que comenzamos a desanudar los secretos que la desaparición del diamante esconden. Jorge Luis Borges, en su brillante prólogo de la edición del libro que yo tengo nos revela que Wilkie Collins tiene el honor de haber aportado en la figura del Sargento Cuff alprimer detective británico de la literatura y es verdad: Sherlock Holmes fue creado por Sir Arthur Conan Doyle recién en 1887 mientras que "La piedra lunar" fue publicada en 1868, o sea 19 años. Para todo aquel lector desprevenido, comento que estos son detectives británicos en la literatura. Digo esto porque el creador del género policial fue mi querido Edgar Allan Poe a partir de "Los crímenes de la calle Morgue", cuyo detective Auguste C. Dupin fue el pionero, dado que ese cuento fue publicado en 1841. Pero volviendo a esta maravillosa novela, nos encontramos con una serie de personajes tan disímiles como enigmáticos, sospechosos o carismáticos. Conoceremos a Rosana Spearman, la enamoradiza criada de la mansión en la que se desarrolla la historia, como dijera previamente, al Sargento Cuff, contratado para dilucidar el misterio del robo, a Franklin Blake, uno de los personajes principales, enamorado de Rachel y que tendrá un papel fundamental en todo esto junto al sargento Cuff, Gabriel Betteredge y el abogado Bruff. También son de vital importancia personajes como Penélope Betteredge, hija del mayordomo, a Míster Godfrey Ablewhite, filántropo y en rivalidad con Francis Blake por el corazón de Rachel, a Miss Clack, la prima pobre de la familia Verinder dominada por un ferviente fanatismo religioso metodista, al abogado de la familia, Matthew Bruff, quien también tiene preponderancia en el asunto del esclarecimiento del robo y Ezra Jennings, un personaje que aportará datos clave hacia el final del libro. Es destacable la manera en que Collins delinea a sus personajes. Con esto me refiero a que trabaja la psicología, las actitudes y las acciones de los mismo de manera convincente. El autor puede tanto posicionarse en la piel de una caballero filántropo como en la piel de un inescrutable abogado, en la brillantez de un médico avezado o pasar del metodismo del sargento Richard Cuff hasta los desvaríos de una criada ardorosamente enamorada del apuesto Franklin Blake, como es el caso de Rosana Spearman. En todos los personajes Collins deja su sello y cada una de las partes que interviene en el caso del robo de la piedra lunar aportan sus testimonios que son vitales para la resolución del caso. El lector va de un personaje a otro intentado descubrir quién robó efectivamente la gema y las marchas y contramarchas de la trama lo mantienen atento a cada mínimo detalle. Todas las piezas terminan encajando en un sorprendente final como sólo Wilkie Collins podía hacerlo. Como establezco al principio, no cualquier escritor puede escribir una novela policial como esta y mantener la curiosidad, el misterio y la atracción del lector a lo largo de una novela tan extensa. Tanto lectores como escritores expertos en la materia sostienen que esta es una de las tres mejores novelas policiales de la literatura. Casualmente este año también leí “Diez negritos” de Agatha Cristie, novela que posiblemente esté en ese selecto grupo. Más allá de que no soy un lector habitual de novelas policiales me animo a asegurar que difícilmente pueda leer otra que sobrepase en misterio, riqueza técnica literaria y trama argumental como lo que me ha generado “La piedra luna” y la otra que indico en esta reseña. Probablemente me recomendarán los que saben que lea más novelas de Agatha Cristie, quien es considerada la mejor escritora de novelas policiales de todos los tiempos (y creo que en eso no hay discusión). Ha sido un placer llegar al final para descubrir el robo de la asombrosa piedra lunar. ¿Se animan, ustedes lectores, a intentar descubrirlo como yo lo hice?

  15. 5 out of 5

    Jaya

    Damn those heathen savages trying to get back their stolen sacred stone from them sahibs! Mildly spoilerish To my utmost disappointment The Butler, didn't do it :( Considering that this book was written wayyy back in the 1840-1850s, one needs to ignore a) the methods of solving a supposed crime and mystery behind certain unexplained events b) the "oriental" tenor of describing certain ahem races/nationalities (using the term loosely here) c) the obscure experiments providing confounding astounding Damn those heathen savages trying to get back their stolen sacred stone from them sahibs! Mildly spoilerish To my utmost disappointment The Butler, didn't do it :( Considering that this book was written wayyy back in the 1840-1850s, one needs to ignore a) the methods of solving a supposed crime and mystery behind certain unexplained events b) the "oriental" tenor of describing certain ahem races/nationalities (using the term loosely here) c) the obscure experiments providing confounding astounding and accurate results! (to solve the aforementioned, unexplained events) d) the multiple POVs (half of which imho added nothing to the story, except for making almost 60% of the content of the book) Continuing with d) I wish the author had not made this such a lengthy story. Had been it been just the first 15% and last quarter of the book, it would have been a fast paced thriller. So weighing the likes/dislikes, frustrations and fun that I had while reading this book. I'l rate it 2.25 stars It was not TOO bad. P.S. I was immensely pleased that the natives got their stolen stuff back ;) Readers Bias! I have a right to it. P.P.S: somewhere the book mentions the Indian god Moon with four arms riding an antelope. My search on the world wide web lead me to this link; http://www.victorianweb.org/art/illus... Borrowing the images here Top: The American serial's 4 January 1868 Headnote vignette showing the Brahmins and the idol of the Hindu Moon God. Centre: An expanded version of the same illustration, The Idol of the Moon God in the Peter Fenelon Collier edition (1900). Bottom: An expanded view of the original 1868 vignette, The Diamond and the Ganges (1874, second edition, Chapter 11, p. 90.) *** I would love to get my hands on those illustrated versions!

  16. 5 out of 5

    Roger Brunyate

    More Interesting for Plot than People Published in 1868, The Moonstone outsold Great Expectations. Yet Dickens is universally acknowledged the greater author today, and I’d assumed that Wilkie Collins was now just a literary footnote, notable as author of the first detective story, but scarcely worth reading for his own sake. The other day, however, I bragged to a friend that I was reading The Moonstone, but instead of congratulations all I got was: “You surely mean re-reading it”? Ouch! The essen More Interesting for Plot than People Published in 1868, The Moonstone outsold Great Expectations. Yet Dickens is universally acknowledged the greater author today, and I’d assumed that Wilkie Collins was now just a literary footnote, notable as author of the first detective story, but scarcely worth reading for his own sake. The other day, however, I bragged to a friend that I was reading The Moonstone, but instead of congratulations all I got was: “You surely mean re-reading it”? Ouch! The essence of the story is simple enough. A British officer steals a sacred diamond from an Indian idol. Years later, in accordance with his will, it is presented to a young lady, Rachel Verinder, on her eighteenth birthday. And the same night, it mysteriously disappears. Who is responsible? One of the house guests at the birthday party, or the three Brahmans who mysteriously appear, disguised as traveling jugglers? Fortunately, the Indians mainly lurk as a background threat, keeping the main focus on the English characters, both above and below stairs. And when the theft is followed by a suicide, more robberies, and a murder, the mysteries deepen and proliferate. The novel is remarkable for its structure, being told in separate but linked narratives involving eleven different voices. Some of these are only a page or two; the longest, which covers everything from the preparations for the birthday through the failure of the first investigation, is 200 pages. The delight of this method is that it introduces us to a series of unreliable narrators who reveal as much about themselves as the story they are telling. For example, the narrator of that longest part, the old steward in the Verinder household, Gabriel Betteredge. He has already made one false start; here he is reluctantly acknowledging another: I am asked to tell the story of the Diamond, and, instead of that, I have been telling the story of my own self. Curious, and quite beyond me to account for. I wonder whether the gentlemen who make a business and living out of writing books, ever find their own selves getting in the way of their subjects, like me? If they do, I can feel for them. In the meantime, here is another false start, and more waste of good writing-paper. What's to be done now? Nothing that I know of, except for you to keep your temper, and for me to begin it all over again for the third time. But amusing though he is, the amiable fuddy-duddy outstays his welcome. We are glad when the great detective from Scotland Yard, Sergeant Cuff (why only a sergeant?) arrives on the scene and dismisses the local man; even though his voice is filtered through Betteredge, he is still a fascinating character who deserves his place as the first of the great detectives in fiction. The second part of the novel, which picks up the mystery after the interval of a year, is more interesting. This is partly because it moves faster, and partly because it involves many more narrators. The first of these, an impoverished spinster relation of the Verinders called Drusilla Clack, is a small comic masterpiece. Collins mercilessly parodies her evangelism, which makes her delusional about her own motivations and tone-deaf to the needs of others. As in this scene when her aunt, seeking comfort, has just told her that she is seriously ill: Here was a career of usefulness opened before me! […] I took my aunt in my arms—my overflowing tenderness was not to be satisfied, now, with anything less than an embrace. "Oh!" I said to her, fervently, "the indescribable interest with which you inspire me! Oh! the good I mean to do you, dear, before we part!" After another word or two of earnest prefatory warning, I gave her the choice of three precious friends, all plying the work of mercy from morning to night in her own neighbourhood; all equally inexhaustible in exhortation; all affectionately ready to exercise their gifts at a word from me. Alas! the result was far from encouraging. […]How fair is it to judge The Moonstone by the later standards of the genre to which it gave rise? Not much, probably, yet it is hard not to do so. By those standards, Collins is guilty more than once of coloring outside the lines. He introduces a significant new character three-quarters of the way through. An important plot point is resolved through an implausible experiment involving psychology and drugs. Too many new facts are revealed only the last few dozen pages, without the benefit of real detection. And once more there will be recourse to those hovering Brahmans, although there is quite a poetic symmetry to the way Collins handles them. But the real reason why I give this four stars rather than five is that Collins lacks the essential novelist’s ability to get us to care about his characters. His skill at sketching the foibles of his narrators does not extend to his protagonists. Rachel Verinder, for example, has two suitors (both her cousins), Franklin Blake and Godfrey Ablewhite. We are clearly expected to rejoice or despair at the progress or setbacks of both these romances. But Rachel, despite others’ praise of her, seems petty, spoiled, and willful. And, though for different reasons, neither Franklin nor Godfrey comes across as admirable, or even particularly interesting. Think how quickly Dickens can get you to fall for his heroines and feel for his heroes. If The Moonstone indeed outsold Great Expectations, it can only have been for its unusual plot. In his ability to fill a novel with interesting and lovable people, Dickens had Collins beat.

  17. 5 out of 5

    Becky

    The first detective story written in the English language, and it holds up. Although I had my suspicions, I didn't know exactly whodunnit or how, right up to the end. In fact, if you removed the sexist and racist bits (a product of its time, eye-rolling encouraged), the book would seem quite modern. [Aside] Thank god authors no longer describe female characters as the sillier, weaker sex at every opportunity. Or automatically place suspicion on every non-white character. Or have characters who s The first detective story written in the English language, and it holds up. Although I had my suspicions, I didn't know exactly whodunnit or how, right up to the end. In fact, if you removed the sexist and racist bits (a product of its time, eye-rolling encouraged), the book would seem quite modern. [Aside] Thank god authors no longer describe female characters as the sillier, weaker sex at every opportunity. Or automatically place suspicion on every non-white character. Or have characters who scream when they see someone with a "swarthy" appearance. You know, as those silly women tend to do. So, in addition to being the first detective story, it also shows how far we have come and maybe how far we still need to go.

  18. 4 out of 5

    Apatt

    Rereads generally work very well for me, as I have memory like a sieve. However, some books are more rewarding when re-reading than others and I usually only find out once I have committed to the reread. I first read The Moonstone decades ago and I enjoyed it very much, unfortunately even my poor memory still retains the outrageous denouement to the central mystery of the theft of the eponymous diamond. Still, I was curious to reread it as I remember enjoying it so much. The Moonstone is about th Rereads generally work very well for me, as I have memory like a sieve. However, some books are more rewarding when re-reading than others and I usually only find out once I have committed to the reread. I first read The Moonstone decades ago and I enjoyed it very much, unfortunately even my poor memory still retains the outrageous denouement to the central mystery of the theft of the eponymous diamond. Still, I was curious to reread it as I remember enjoying it so much. The Moonstone is about the theft of an Indian diamond from a country house on the night of a birthday party for eighteen-year-old Rachel Verinder. The theft and its continued disappearance have serious repercussions for the two main characters of the novel throughout the book which spans about a year. It also, directly and indirectly, causes the death of several characters. First published in 1868, this novel is deservedly lauded as the “proto-detective” novel. The novel is structured in the epistolary format where multiple characters narrate sections of the story through their written accounts of their involvement in the case. The different narrative tones are very skillfully written, with the distinctive personality of each narrator coming through clearly. Some of the narrators are rather eccentric and unreliable and this adds a lot of flavors and humour to the narrative. I particularly like the grumpy butler Gabriel Betteredge who uses the book Robinson Crusoe as if it is The I Ching , the fanatical evangelist, and – best of all – the almost Sherlockian Sergeant Cuff who would have solved the crime single-handedly if not for the stupid meddling kids (basically the two main characters Franklin Blake and Rachel Verinder. There are quite a few other colorful characters I could mention but, if you are interested to read this book, the less you know about it the better. There are a couple of issues with this book for me, the solution to the mystery stretches believability, but I suppose that is what makes it so memorable. The other issue is the depiction of Indian characters as inscrutable, sinister people, too foreign to be understood, not to mention evil. Racist much? Sinister foreign types on this edition’s cover. Neither flaws are too injurious to the overall quality of the book, it is a product of its time after all, and even ahead of its time in some ways. If you have never read Victorian literature before The Moonstone may be the ideal starting point, it is very readable even for modern readers who are not familiar with Victorian prose style. Wilkie Collins’ The Woman in White is even better than this (a lot better I would say) so I would recommend that as a starting point also. Rating: 5 stars for the first read, 4 stars for the reread. Note: I mostly reread this book in audiobook format, provided free by Librivox . As with the printed edition the book has multiple narrators, unfortunately, this is to the detriment of the audiobook as some readers are better than others; ranging from perfect to awful. The Mrs. Clack chapters are particularly hard to listen to. Ah well, can’t complain, they all graciously narrated the book for free, for which I am grateful. Addendum: I just found an alternate Librivox edition narrated by a single reader, Tony Addison, it does not sound like an improvement on the multiple readers one to be honest, but you may want to listen to some samples. Quotes: “the nature of a man’s tastes is, most times, as opposite as possible to the nature of a man’s business. Show me any two things more opposite one from the other than a rose and a thief; and I’ll correct my tastes accordingly.” “Sergeant Cuff never laughed. On the few occasions when anything amused him, he curled up a little at the corners of the lips, nothing more.” “Cultivate a superiority to reason, and see how you pare the claws of all the sensible people when they try to scratch you for your own good!” “The cook looked as if she could grill Mr. Superintendent alive on a furnace, and the other women looked as if they could eat him when he was done.” Sergeant Cuff is awesome!

  19. 5 out of 5

    Lisa Vegan

    I read this as a buddy read with my Goodreads’ friend Laura, and it was fun to discuss it as we went along. Reading it with her helped me persist and finish it. I’m appreciative to her for waiting for me while I waited for my library copy and then sometimes waiting for me to catch up with her while we read. This book is incredibly hard for me to rate and even more difficult to review. I’m going to settle on 2 stars, possibly coming close to 2 stars. As usual, I’m rating based on my personal read I read this as a buddy read with my Goodreads’ friend Laura, and it was fun to discuss it as we went along. Reading it with her helped me persist and finish it. I’m appreciative to her for waiting for me while I waited for my library copy and then sometimes waiting for me to catch up with her while we read. This book is incredibly hard for me to rate and even more difficult to review. I’m going to settle on 2 stars, possibly coming close to 2 ½ stars. As usual, I’m rating based on my personal reading experience. What’s weird is that I can’t give it a higher rating, but usually I regret reading anything less than a 3 star book and sometimes anything less than a 4 star book. I’m getting pickier and pickier about how I spend my reading time. Yet I’m glad I read this book and I certainly enjoyed parts of it. Mostly it was just okay though. It was easy to put down and usually not easy to pick up, and when I read it was a struggle and rarely a page-turner. Much of the time it felt like work to read it. I read most of it at a glacial pace, and felt frustrated. At times it felt tortuous, at times I got pleasure from reading it. I usually read everything in a book. Absolutely everything. I didn’t read the two introductions (many pages!) before I read the novel because luckily they warned of spoilers. I ‘d intended to read them after I finished the novel, but I didn’t. I’m skipping them. When I finished the last page of the novel I felt as though I’d read enough and didn’t want to read more about the book, except for some more Goodreads members’ reviews. Part of my difficulty, I think, is that it had been many years since I’d read books from this era. It took me time to get used to the writing style. Anachronisms abound but since the book was written in the mid-1800s and the bulk of the story does take place during 1848-1849 I could forgive the sensibilities expressed. The sexism, nationalism, classism, and possibly racism were to be expected. The book was published as a serial and I could tell. It felt slow and meandering and sometimes confusing, and a lot happens, but I didn’t like the flow of the narrative. Also, the chapter numbers showed up just anywhere on the pages and were not highlighted for noticing in any way. I didn’t like the structure. My copy at least had a Contents page that showed the different narratives with the names of the characters narrating and their corresponding page numbers. That helped a lot. I sent that information to my buddy because she didn’t even have that as a guide of what was to come in her edition. There were multiple narrators and that I found fun. I liked quite a few of the characters. Some just got dropped though, never to return. A couple of the characters are real hoots. I did enjoy a lot of the humor in the book. It is funny and witty and there is a lot of irreverence, all positives. I did smile and chuckle frequently. I did enjoy portions of it. One main aspect re the solving of the mystery less than thrilled me (though it could have been worse) and I did like the two main resolutions. I also liked the unsolved mystery about one character. I thought that having that loose end made the book better. I have read that this is considered the “first modern mystery” and if that’s true it’s a decent one. When I realized that one of the main characters was an avid fan of the book Robinson Crusoe I looked up that book’s plot and interpretations since I haven’t read it, and I was afraid I’d dislike this book because of what I learned about that novel, but it turned out to not really interfere with what enjoyment I had. One thing that surprised me was that one of the characters, an attorney, said “Cool!” and used the expression in the way we would today. I thought that meaning of the word originated in the 1950s. I guess not. I know that this book has mostly high ratings here and I look forward to seeing why others feel as they do about the book. I’ve read some reviews of it over the years. Now I’ll read more. Other than that I’m happy to be done with this book. Of all the Wilkie Collins books I thought I’d like this one best though I guess I’ll leave Woman in White on my to read list, at least for now.

  20. 5 out of 5

    Donna

    In the preface to another edition of this book, the author informed his readers that it was his intention with The Moonstone to trace the influence of character on circumstances instead of what he usually did in his stories, which was to trace the influence of circumstances on character. To quote him: "The conduct pursued, under a sudden emergency, by a young girl, supplies the foundation on which I have built this book." In short, this is a character driven novel. He also conveyed that when he In the preface to another edition of this book, the author informed his readers that it was his intention with The Moonstone to trace the influence of character on circumstances instead of what he usually did in his stories, which was to trace the influence of circumstances on character. To quote him: "The conduct pursued, under a sudden emergency, by a young girl, supplies the foundation on which I have built this book." In short, this is a character driven novel. He also conveyed that when he was at the one-third mark in the weekly serialization of this story, he suffered two blows that nearly did him in--his mother was near death and he was in excruciating pain due to rheumatic gout from which he was uncertain if he would recover. But the thought of his readers waiting for the next installment of his story spurred him on and allowed him to keep writing by dictation for a time while bedridden. He practically held his breath to learn the results of his efforts at the end when it was published, the overwhelmingly positive reception from readers around the world gratifying him. I wish I could show Mr. Collins my own five star review, however inadequate it is, and however impossible it is since the author passed in 1889. Speaking of holding one's breath, it's something I always do when starting a classic since I'm uncertain if the language will be archaic or the story dated. There is also the length of such books to consider with my "to read" pile growing daily. It took me two weeks to read this book and it was worth every minute I spent on it. Yes, it was long, which I sometimes complained about, but never was it too long for the story it told. Not a word was wasted on anything that didn't advance the story or the development of the characters driving it forward. Because as Mr. Collins had hoped to achieve, the characters are at the heart of this story and they are the story itself, which has a little bit of everything for just about anyone. There's a fine mystery, a gothic influence, suspense, a bit of the supernatural, romance, humor, tragedy, pathos, and philosophy, among many other things, including revenge and redemption. And no worries about it being dated. It's highly readable and amazingly contemporary in style. It is recognized as the first full length English mystery novel, the one that started it all and influenced those following in its footsteps. The story begins dramatically in 1799, in a remote region of India, with horrific bloodshed and a priceless yellow diamond known as The Moonstone stolen, not from a single person, but from an entire people who have used it for religious purposes for centuries. The thief is an Englishman in the military whose actions forced the actions of others. Three Brahmins, and eventually their descendants, go in pursuit of the sacred Moonstone. It passes out of the thief's hands into the hands of his own descendent in 1847 in the guise of a gift which might just be a curse instead. And when the priceless diamond then disappears from the hands of its new owner, a young woman eighteen years of age, that's where this story really begins, from two years into the future, the multiple narrators looking back on their part in the mystery when trying to solve it. But the catch is--and this is where Mr. Collins showed his genius--each narrator may only relate firsthand knowledge of what was happening at the time, even if he now knows more. It's the ultimate set up of withholding information from the reader without teasing or manipulating him. It made for a fine mystery that slowly unraveled with each new tug by each narrator. If you're anything like me, I love memorable characters. For me, they often make or break a book. In this book, there was no shortage of great ones, all highly individual and flawed. My favorite was Gabriel Betteredge, house steward to the woman whose daughter inherited the Moonstone. He lightened my heart with his wit, his presence of mind, his loyalty, his addiction to tobacco and Robinson Crusoe, a book he read like other people read The Bible. My second favorite narrator was Ezra Jennings, a medical man and virtual outcast from society, trying to escape a past not his own. He broke my heart more than once, as did another outcast, Rosanna Spearman. To the other extreme, my least favorite narrator was Miss Clack, an obsessive compulsive religious fanatic and do gooder. But again, Mr. Collins showed his genius by presenting such a character as perfectly rational and righteous, if only in her own mind. The reader can't help but pity her even while wishing her away. I see I've already gone on too long about this book without even mentioning that besides being entertaining, it raises some deep and troubling subjects such as xenophobia, chauvinism, the plunders of war being fair game regardless of their sacred value, among many other thought provoking ideas. This is also a morality tale without any preaching. It merely presents choices every single character made which either made that character admirable or not--at that point in time. Because the characters in this book are all very fluid, same as people are in real life. It added to the story's suspense since the reader couldn't ever be quite certain how a character would react and possibly cause a twist to events. So after reading this mystery over the course of two weeks, did I guess who did what and why? No, not exactly, but I had my suspicions. And in the end, it wasn't as important "who done it" as how it was done, the very sequence of people and events colliding to lead to what happened. So if you enjoy mysteries that will have you thinking forward, backward, and in circles, and if you enjoy wonderful characters, and you haven't read this book yet, I recommend that you do. It's going onto my favorites shelf. Favorite quotes: "I am now somewhere between seventy and eighty years of age—never mind exactly where!" "It is one of my rules in life, never to notice what I don't understand." "We had our breakfasts—whatever happens in a house, robbery or murder, it doesn't matter, you must have your breakfast." "Your tears come easy, when you're young, and beginning the world. Your tears come easy, when you're old, and leaving it. I burst out crying." "People in high life have all the luxuries to themselves—among others, the luxury of indulging their feelings. People in low life have no such privilege. Necessity, which spares our betters, has no pity on us. We learn to put our feelings back into ourselves, and to jog on with our duties as patiently as may be. I don't complain of this—I only notice it." "This is a miserable world," says the Sergeant. "Human life, Mr. Betteredge, is a sort of target—misfortune is always firing at it, and always hitting the mark." "Crime brings its own fatality with it." "I have merely been mistaken for somebody else. I have only been blindfolded; I have only been strangled; I have only been thrown flat on my back, on a very thin carpet, covering a particularly hard floor. Just think how much worse it might have been! I might have been murdered; I might have been robbed. What have I lost? Nothing but Nervous Force—which the law doesn't recognise as property; so that, strictly speaking, I have lost nothing at all."

  21. 5 out of 5

    BrokenTune

    There stood Miss Rachel at the table, like a person fascinated, with the Colonel's unlucky Diamond in her hand. There, on either side of her, knelt the two Bouncers, devouring the jewel with their eyes, and screaming with ecstasy every time it flashed on them in a new light. There, at the opposite side of the table, stood Mr. Godfrey, clapping his hands like a large child, and singing out softly, "Exquisite! exquisite!" There sat Mr. Franklin in a chair by the book-case, tugging at his beard, an There stood Miss Rachel at the table, like a person fascinated, with the Colonel's unlucky Diamond in her hand. There, on either side of her, knelt the two Bouncers, devouring the jewel with their eyes, and screaming with ecstasy every time it flashed on them in a new light. There, at the opposite side of the table, stood Mr. Godfrey, clapping his hands like a large child, and singing out softly, "Exquisite! exquisite!" There sat Mr. Franklin in a chair by the book-case, tugging at his beard, and looking anxiously towards the window. And there, at the window, stood the object he was contemplating— my lady, having the extract from the Colonel's Will in her hand, and keeping her back turned on the whole of the company. That blasted diamond. I had no idea what to expect from this novel. Sure, it is deemed to be the first detective story. Sure, it is a masterpiece of gothic atmospheric writing. Sure, it had its entertaining moments. However, the large part of this book just dragged. It dragged even more than The Woman in White! And just as in The Woman in White, the ending was a little illogical and over-complicated: (view spoiler)[- an opium-induced hallucination (hide spoiler)] ? Collins' reliance on a deus ex machina solution did not work for me in The Woman in White and it did not work for me in The Moonstone.

  22. 4 out of 5

    Steve

    As good as anything I've read by Dickens. What a wonderful gallery of characters! House steward Gabriel Betteridge, with his overall loyalty and decency, and constant use of Robinson Crusoe as a guide through life, is one of the great characters in literature. That said, I found the haunted doctor Ezra Jennings to be one of those secondary characters that stay with you forever. Anyway, as many have noted, The Moonstone is considered the first, and still among the very best, of detective novels. As good as anything I've read by Dickens. What a wonderful gallery of characters! House steward Gabriel Betteridge, with his overall loyalty and decency, and constant use of Robinson Crusoe as a guide through life, is one of the great characters in literature. That said, I found the haunted doctor Ezra Jennings to be one of those secondary characters that stay with you forever. Anyway, as many have noted, The Moonstone is considered the first, and still among the very best, of detective novels. I suppose so. It has a great detective in the rose loving Sgt. Cuff, but the reading impact of this book goes beyond the guilty pleasure of a genre read. The novel is bookended in such a way -- with the theft and eventual recovery of the diamond -- as to leave you feeling that you've just finished a piece of great and epic literature. Collins' obvious swipe at the human cost of British imperialism must have been considered bold stuff at the time.

  23. 4 out of 5

    Marwan

    That was a long journey, but it was worth it. I always feel discouraged when I start reading a long novel, thinking it might be too long for its own good, and I couldn't have been more wrong. It was a masterpiece, truly a masterpiece. It's filled with adventure and twists. Also, what I liked most about it is that the story is told from the perspective of several characters (multi-narration), which made it more interesting and more thrilling. This novel (as the title suggests) is a rare gem, and I That was a long journey, but it was worth it. I always feel discouraged when I start reading a long novel, thinking it might be too long for its own good, and I couldn't have been more wrong. It was a masterpiece, truly a masterpiece. It's filled with adventure and twists. Also, what I liked most about it is that the story is told from the perspective of several characters (multi-narration), which made it more interesting and more thrilling. This novel (as the title suggests) is a rare gem, and I recommend it to any mystery fan.

  24. 5 out of 5

    Nancy Oakes

    4.5 rounded up . I must admit that I'd completely ruled out the "who" in all of this early on in the story, so at least Collins kept me guessing over 400+ pages and gave me a nice jolt at the end. That's always a good thing. A little farfetched though plausible, and a little on the draggy side in parts, but I had a great time with it and I loved the switching narrative style. Anyone who has not yet read The Moonstone really ought to pick up a copy, not solely because it is considered by some to 4.5 rounded up . I must admit that I'd completely ruled out the "who" in all of this early on in the story, so at least Collins kept me guessing over 400+ pages and gave me a nice jolt at the end. That's always a good thing. A little farfetched though plausible, and a little on the draggy side in parts, but I had a great time with it and I loved the switching narrative style. Anyone who has not yet read The Moonstone really ought to pick up a copy, not solely because it is considered by some to be "The first and greatest of English detective novels" (à la T.S. Eliot on the front cover), but more to the point, it is downright fun to read. It's also a novel I read as a teen when I caught a case of Collinsmania and made my way through everything he'd ever written that I could get my hands on at the time. As I said to someone, although I read it as a teen, coming back to it, I realized that I hadn't really read it. Now that I have, I can't recommend it highly enough. Bottom line -- I think it's a brilliant book. I go into a bit of plot, etc. at the crime page of my reading journal, otherwise, let me just say that there is a LOT happening in this book beyond and underneath the mystery itself, but I won't go into any of that here because The Moonstonehas been studied inside and out, upside and down, picked apart, analyzed, and has provided many scholarly works that can be found on one's own. I can see how it might frustrate a number of modern detective-fiction readers and seem a bit tedious at times, but it had the completely opposite effect on me: every moment of free time I could possibly grab during a day was devoted solely to this novel. And while his The Woman in White will always remain my favorite Collins novel, I loved this book.

  25. 4 out of 5

    Manuel Antão

    If you're into stuff like this, you can read the full review. The Lady is Dark: "The Moonstone" by Wilkie Collins (Original Review, 1981-01-28) The instant my eyes rested on her, I was struck by the rare beauty of her form, and by the unaffected grace of her attitude. Her figure was tall, yet not too tall; comely and well-developed, yet not fat; her head set on her shoulders with an easy, pliant firmness; her waist, perfection in the eyes of a man, for it occupied its natural place, it filled out i If you're into stuff like this, you can read the full review. The Lady is Dark: "The Moonstone" by Wilkie Collins (Original Review, 1981-01-28) The instant my eyes rested on her, I was struck by the rare beauty of her form, and by the unaffected grace of her attitude. Her figure was tall, yet not too tall; comely and well-developed, yet not fat; her head set on her shoulders with an easy, pliant firmness; her waist, perfection in the eyes of a man, for it occupied its natural place, it filled out its natural circle, it was visibly and delightfully undeformed. She had not heard my entrance into the room; and I allowed myself the luxury of admiring her for a few moments, before I moved one of the chairs near me, as the least embarrassing means of attracting her attention. She turned towards me immediately.

  26. 4 out of 5

    Kathryn

    This is supposedly one of the first mystery novels ever published and is believed to introduce the prototype for the English detective hero character. It is also the first book in the Tyler-and-Kate Book Club; I will always love it because it's one of the only books Tyler and I could decide on to read together and it was wonderfully absorbing and provided us with lots of grand characters and interesting plot twists to enjoy—and the mystery to ponder! It's certainly very long and often verbose—I This is supposedly one of the first mystery novels ever published and is believed to introduce the prototype for the English detective hero character. It is also the first book in the Tyler-and-Kate Book Club; I will always love it because it's one of the only books Tyler and I could decide on to read together and it was wonderfully absorbing and provided us with lots of grand characters and interesting plot twists to enjoy—and the mystery to ponder! It's certainly very long and often verbose—I usually find a fast-pace to be more appealing in a mystery—but I believe this was more a character-driven story than a plot-driven one (in his preface, Collins says that means to "trace the influence of character on circumstance") and the mystery (though it was deep and fascinating) was second to the characterization since the tale is told in Narrative form from some half-dozen characters. I feel as if I have befriended Betteredge and his dog-eared and beloved "Robinson Crusoe," suffered through an acquaintance with Miss Clack and her hideous pamphlets, sniffed roses beside Sargent Cuff and felt some of the deep love and longing of Ezra Jennings. Kudos, kudos, Mr. Collins! I'd also like to point out that this is an excellent mystery for those who prefer a more intellectual and thought-process sort of mystery, rather that one focused on murder.

  27. 4 out of 5

    Duane

    3.5 stars for this overly long classic/mystery novel by Collins. The second half of the novel picked up in pace but the foreshadowing left little doubt about the outcome. The writing is good, it saves the book really. I have previously read "The Woman in White"' which I liked more, but this book has secured it's position in the canon of English Literature.

  28. 5 out of 5

    Bruce

    What a fine fine book this is. I am so surprised that it has taken me so long to get to it given how much I love Victorian Era British Novels. I think perhaps that is because of how slow a book I found the Woman in White to be. I finally picked up the Moonstone three days ago, and have read through it virtually nonstop. This is often described as the first real detective novel in the English language, and as such you might expect it to be completely plot driven. That is not the case at all. Coll What a fine fine book this is. I am so surprised that it has taken me so long to get to it given how much I love Victorian Era British Novels. I think perhaps that is because of how slow a book I found the Woman in White to be. I finally picked up the Moonstone three days ago, and have read through it virtually nonstop. This is often described as the first real detective novel in the English language, and as such you might expect it to be completely plot driven. That is not the case at all. Collins uses seven different voices (detectives) in the telling of the tale. Some are endearing (Betheredge), some annoying (Miss Clack), and some totally heartbreaking (Ezra Jennings); but each is individually believable, and each adds to the unravelling of the mystery. It is these characters who are the heart and strength of the novel, as much as the mystery at its center. Surprisingly, Collins never breaks faith with the reader in the development and resolution of the mystery. The solution is a surprise, but on that fits within the parameters of what the reader knows, and within the characters of the individuals who are central to the story. I have heard it described as too long and too slow, but personally I didn't find either to be the case. Its status as a classic is totally justified in my mind.

  29. 5 out of 5

    Alessia Scurati

    Questo è un ‘romanzo d’altri tempi’, definizione che per me ha connotati non negativi. Non che io sia un’inguaribile nostalgica. Ammetto solo, anche con un po’ di vergogna, che all’inizio ho dovuto ri-abituare la mia lettura a certi tempi, spazi, la dilatazione e il passo da maratoneta di una narrazione sontuosa. Cose che in un ‘poliziesco’ contemporaneo raramente trovano spazio. Alla fine, però, stavo lì, famelica, a girar le pagine. Chi sarà stato? Chi sarà stato? Ho vissuto questo romanzo come Questo è un ‘romanzo d’altri tempi’, definizione che per me ha connotati non negativi. Non che io sia un’inguaribile nostalgica. Ammetto solo, anche con un po’ di vergogna, che all’inizio ho dovuto ri-abituare la mia lettura a certi tempi, spazi, la dilatazione e il passo da maratoneta di una narrazione sontuosa. Cose che in un ‘poliziesco’ contemporaneo raramente trovano spazio. Alla fine, però, stavo lì, famelica, a girar le pagine. Chi sarà stato? Chi sarà stato? Ho vissuto questo romanzo come fosse un mega serial della Bbc - ne esiste più di uno tratto dal romanzo. Mi ci sentivo troppo dentro. Un piacere immenso. Un grande classico. Finisco qui, che già tutto è stato detto. Imperdibile. (E comunque la zitella moralista Miss Drusilla Clack è un personaggio di cui ci sarebbe bisogno in ogni romanzo. Idolo).

  30. 5 out of 5

    Emmkay

    We had our breakfasts - whatever happens in a house, robbery or murder, it doesn't matter, you must have your breakfast. Thus began an entire genre. I loved The Woman in White a number of years ago, and was also fully enthralled by The Moonstone. It's regarded as the first English detective novel, and it's such a good, fat, satisfying read. The excitement of a really great Victorian sensation novel - a missing diamond, huge dollops of Orientalism, an illicit affair, opium, quicksand - and some q We had our breakfasts - whatever happens in a house, robbery or murder, it doesn't matter, you must have your breakfast. Thus began an entire genre. I loved The Woman in White a number of years ago, and was also fully enthralled by The Moonstone. It's regarded as the first English detective novel, and it's such a good, fat, satisfying read. The excitement of a really great Victorian sensation novel - a missing diamond, huge dollops of Orientalism, an illicit affair, opium, quicksand - and some quite modern plot devices, in particular the skillful use of multiple narrators. Faithful old family servant Gabriel Betteredge is a treat, and I was sad when his section was done, but the ensuing Miss Clack was hilarious and had me re-reading her bon mots aloud. What a delightful book.

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