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The Moonstone by Wilkie Collins

The Moonstone (1868)

by Wilkie Collins

Other authors: See the other authors section.

MembersReviewsPopularityAverage ratingMentions
6,518130585 (3.97)588
  1. 90
    Lady Audley's Secret by Mary Elizabeth Braddon (Booksloth)
  2. 62
    Drood by Dan Simmons (Jannes)
    Jannes: A (fictional) tale about Collins and his friendship with Dickens. "The Moonstone" in prominently featured. Give it a try if you're into historical thrillers.
  3. 41
    Uncle Silas: A Tale of Bartram-Haugh by J. Sheridan Le Fanu (Anonymous user)
  4. 21
    Dead Men Tell No Tales by E. W. Hornung (TineOliver)
    TineOliver: Both are essentially mystery novels, although Collins is both more pioneering and, in my view better written. While the two novels were published approximately 30 years apart, both are set in the mid 19th century. Reading both books allows the reader to place the works in context of other mystery novels from the 19th century. Accordingly, I am not suggesting that just because you enjoyed one means you will enjoy the other to the same extent.… (more)

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English (122)  Spanish (2)  Dutch (1)  French (1)  Swedish (1)  All languages (127)
Showing 1-5 of 122 (next | show all)
Wonderful book. Loved the characters, especially Betteridge the butler. Loved the way the various narrations blended together. Great detective story. The heroine was a stronger character than usually portrayed in 19th century books. ( )
  scot2 | Jan 24, 2015 |
When Rachel Verinder inherits the Moonstone, a yellow diamond of unusual size, she knows a little bit about its mystique -- but she does not know that the diamond will be stolen within hours. Who could have taken it: the sketchy characters lurking around the village? A disaffected servant with a shady past? A house guest with a dark secret?

The narrative is taken up by a variety of delightful characters, and there are plenty of plot twists and lots of humor. The book is a product of its time, particularly in its treatment of non-English people, and while parts of the mystery were pleasantly puzzling, other parts were easy to guess at. All in all, I enjoyed this book, and would recommend it to fans of the classics as well as mystery buffs. ( )
  foggidawn | Jan 10, 2015 |
One of Wilkie Collins's best-known novels, The Moonstone has all the elements that keep people reading Victorian thrillers even today. A beautiful heroine, a mysterious foreign jewel, a devious plot, a dying man's revenge, opium, and a scientific experiment all come together to create a highly enjoyable, even landmark reading experience. It also has some things you don't immediately associate with this genre, like a hilarious narrator in Gabriel Betteredge and some sharp, highly satirical statements about religious hypocrisy. All in all, this was one of the more satisfying novels I've read (or rather, reread) this year.

On her birthday, Rachel Verinder inherits her uncle's infamous Moonstone, a gigantic yellow diamond with a flaw in its heart. Its bloody history reaches back centuries, and now it spreads its dark poison in a peaceful English family. Within hours the Moonstone is stolen and a long train of events is begun that will end in robbery and murder. Secrets will be outed, facades will fall, people will die... but a happy ending will be procured for the deserving. It just takes several hundred gripping pages to get there.

Of course there's some latent racism evident here; the dark and sinister Indians who are tracking the Moonstone are portrayed as slinky, evil men. At least there is Mr. Murthwaite, the explorer who says the Indians are a "wonderful people." But though they do commit murder in the end, I found it a bit hard that they should be counted villains for seeking to take back something that was stolen from their temple. They sacrificed their caste to do it, too. If the positions were reversed, the Europeans would be the heroes to bravely penetrate the uncivilized wilds to rescue a cultural treasure. Right?

I'm not sure I have ever read a sharper indictment of busybody Christianity than the character of Miss Clack, that inveterate do-gooder who, in her own words, is "always right" about what is best for everybody else. After her tracts and books are gently refused by Lady Verinder on account of their upsetting nature and her precarious health, Miss Clack peppers them all throughout Lady Verinder's house (on her couch, in her robe pocket, etc.) so that she cannot escape them. And all with such an odious air of self-righteous zeal. Christians everywhere (myself included), take note.

Another striking character is Rosanna Spearman, the servant who falls in love far above her class and kills herself as a result. Collins handles her with sad poignancy and I'll always feel sorry when I think of her.

If you have the Oxford World's Classics edition, skip the introduction by John Sutherland. I always feel that introductions should be written by people who at least seem to like the work in question. This supercilious piece, however, had a sneer all over it. No thanks. Get to the good stuff right off and leave superior guys like this one to talk to the air. ( )
1 vote wisewoman | Dec 27, 2014 |
Synopsis: On her 18th birthday, Rachel Verinder inherits a large Indian diamond from her uncle. Rachel wears the Moonstone on her dress that evening at her party and later that night it is stolen from her bedroom. Turmoil, unhappiness, misunderstandings and bad luck follow.
Review: This story is told by a series of narratives from some of the main characters. The twisted plot follows efforts to explain the theft, identify the thief, trace the stone and recover it. This is another of Collins's books on which the modern genera of mystery and suspense is based.
Review: Much like the Lady in White, this story is presented in first-person by characters within the story. Some of these persons are terribly verbose. There is an interesting plot twist, with the final unveiling satisfying. ( )
  DrLed | Nov 26, 2014 |
An enjoyable story told in the fashion of Charles Dickens about the theft of a great diamond (The Moonstone). Originally published as a series in Dicken's newspaper it has many chapters and sections making it easy to pick up and put down. However it is a long book so a good run at reading it is required to get the book read ! ( )
  JuliaBrooke | Oct 18, 2014 |
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» Add other authors (233 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Collins, Wilkieprimary authorall editionsconfirmed
Capriolo, EttoreTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Cole, G. D. H.Introductionsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Cole, MargaretIntroductionsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Eliot, T. S.Introductionsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Jeffrey, PeterNarratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Karl, Frederick R.Introductionsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Lane, Dr. LauriatIntroductionsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Maine, G. F.General editorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Nayder, LillianAfterwordsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Stewart, J. I. M.Editorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Sutherland, JohnEditorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Willis, ChristineEditorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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First words
In the first part of Robinson Crusoe, at page one hundred and twenty-nine, you will find it thus written: 'Now I saw, though too late, The Folly of beginning a Work before we count the Cost, and before we judge rightly of our own Strength to go through with it.'
We are all of us more or less unwilling to be brought into the world. And we are all of us right.
It is one of my rules in life, never to notice what I don't understand.
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(Click to show. Warning: May contain spoilers.)
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Book description
Stolen from the forehead of a Hindu idol, the dazzling gem known as "The Moonstone" resurfaces at a birthday party in an English country home-with an enigmatic trio of watchful Brahmins hot on its trail. Laced with superstitions, suspicion, humor, and romance, this 1868 mystery draws readers into a compelling tale whose twists and turns range from sleepwalking to experimentation with opium.

Described by T.S. Eliot as a "master of plot and situation," Collins possessed gifts of characterization that rivaled those of his close friend, Charles Dickens. The Moonstone exhibits these skills with suspenseful and dramatic effects, as the narrative passes from one colorful character to the next. The novel is particularly distinguished by the appearance of Sergeant Cuff, a prototype of the English detective hero and the harbinger of a popular tradition of sleuthing.
Haiku summary
History is made
As first detective novel
In English language.
Rachel gets diamond
For birthday. It's stolen at
Night: call detective!

Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0375757856, Paperback)

"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.

(retrieved from Amazon Mon, 30 Sep 2013 13:18:03 -0400)

(see all 11 descriptions)

Rachel Verrinder receives the stone as a gift and does not realize that it has been passed to her in a sinister form of revenge by John Herncastle who, it transpires, acquired the moonstone by means of murder and theft. The jewel also brings bad luck. The stone disappears on the very night it is given to Rachel, though, and the tale concerns the unveiling of the culprit after the intervention of Sergeant Cuff, a famous London detective.… (more)

» see all 19 descriptions

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17 editions of this book were published by Audible.com.

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Penguin Australia

2 editions of this book were published by Penguin Australia.

Editions: 0140434089, 0141198877

Recorded Books

An edition of this book was published by Recorded Books.

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