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The Moonstone (Wordsworth Classics) by…

The Moonstone (Wordsworth Classics) (original 1868; edition 1997)

by Wilkie Collins

MembersReviewsPopularityAverage ratingMentions
7,201163495 (3.97)652
Title:The Moonstone (Wordsworth Classics)
Authors:Wilkie Collins
Info:Wordsworth Editions Ltd (1997), Paperback, 464 pages
Collections:Your library
Tags:Krimi, Diebstahl, Diamant

Work details

The Moonstone by Wilkie Collins (1868)

  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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Showing 1-5 of 156 (next | show all)
Wilkie Collins has never disappointed me. ( )
  Sareene | Oct 22, 2016 |
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. ( )
  Lisa2013 | Sep 17, 2016 |
This is the best book I have read in a long time. I loved the fact that the story was written in different voices. It shows a brilliant author. Mr. Collins did a wonderful job of creating a negative character in Miss Clack. She is such an unlikeable person! Sergeant Cuff was wonderful. I loved Gabriel Bettered. Actually I enjoyed reading each characters view of the happenings. Clever, clever book. ( )
  JanicsEblen | Sep 8, 2016 |
Whether this or The Woman in White is the better novel is probably a matter of choice. I found Woman more compelling, I think because I’m moved more by the mystery surrounding a person than a stone. Cold as the light of the moon, you might argue.

Miss Clack has to be one of the most foul creatures in literature, though I loved her proto-bookcrossing :)

I particularly liked Collins’ sly and heartfelt anti-racism. Not something you often see in an English novel of this period. If Jennings isn’t a self portrait then I’ll eat my hat. ( )
  Lukerik | Jul 12, 2016 |
Enjoyed the story coming from the different perspectives of the characters involved. Each took you to a point and then passed on to the next character.
Took my time and enjoyed the images painted with words by the author. Plan to read more by Wilkie Collins. ( )
  ChazziFrazz | Jun 23, 2016 |
Showing 1-5 of 156 (next | show all)
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» Add other authors (115 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
Connolly, JoyIntroductionsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Eliot, T. S.Introductionsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Jeffrey, PeterNarratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Karl, Frederick R.Introductionsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Lane, Dr. LauriatIntroductionsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Laurora, HoracioTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Maine, G. F.General editorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Nayder, LillianAfterwordsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Stewart, J. I. M.Editorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Sutherland, JohnEditorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Sutherland, JohnIntroductionsecondary 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.'
Intending praise, T. S. Eliot slung an albatross around the neck of The Moonstone with his encomium: 'the first and best of detective novels.' (Introduction)
In some of my former novels, the object proposed has been to trace the influence of circumstances upon character. (Preface)
The circumstances under which The Moonstone was originally written have invested the book - in the author's mind - with an interest peculiarly its own. (Preface to a New Edition)
I address these lines - written in India - to my relatives in England. (Prologue)
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.
Last words
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Wikipedia in English (1)

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 Thu, 12 Mar 2015 17:58:31 -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)

(summary from another edition)

» see all 19 descriptions

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18 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

Tantor Media

An edition of this book was published by Tantor Media.

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An edition of this book was published by Recorded Books.

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