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The Moonstone (1868)

by Wilkie Collins

Other authors: See the other authors section.

MembersReviewsPopularityAverage ratingMentions
9,816231604 (3.96)826
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 with numerous twists and turns.… (more)
  1. 90
    Lady Audley's Secret by Mary Elizabeth Braddon (Booksloth)
  2. 41
    Uncle Silas: A Tale of Bartram-Haugh by Joseph Sheridan Le Fanu (Anonymous user)
  3. 63
    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.
  4. 31
    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)
1860s (2)
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English (215)  Spanish (10)  French (1)  Dutch (1)  Swedish (1)  Danish (1)  Italian (1)  Portuguese (1)  All languages (231)
Showing 1-5 of 215 (next | show all)
I had lots of fun stitching to the audiobook. So many great characters! ( )
  IVLeafClover | Jun 21, 2022 |
I enjoyed this immensely! I liked the structure - a sort of 'found record'/collection of primary and secondary sources in the form of family papers, journal entries, etc - and, for the most part, I liked the story itself. I didn't like the double-twist of who actually stole the Moonstone, as one robber would've sufficed and the method under which it was originally taken is dubious, to say the least. Apparently the author considers this part of the plot to be the high point of the story; for me, it was actually a deflating moment when my suspension of disbelief broke into several pieces.

I really enjoyed the idea of several subjective/biased narrators, and some of the sections are downright hilarious - like poor sanctimonious Miss Clack, who feels it her good Christian duty to consistently interfere in her relatives' affairs, and who couldn't understand why no one would read the tracts she was constantly handing out. That section was a hoot! Gabriel Betteredge, who narrates the vast majority of the story, has just as much faith in Robinson Cursoe as Miss Clack does in her Christian tracts, isn't much better, but draws an interesting distinction between stereotypical hypocritical evengelical Christianity and secular worship.

I wasn't much of a fan of Rachel Verinder, either, which dampened some of my enjoyment of the story, as she is the central character in all this. She does not have a narrative, but you see her through so many of the characters' eyes, and quite frankly, I found none of them appealing. She's only 18, granted, but she grated on my very last nerve with her erratic behavior.

Ezra Jennings, I discovered as I read the original introductions, probably struck quite a close nerve with the author. His was a sad tale, and I was genuinely sad when he died, and did everything in his power to not leave any hint of his life behind him in death.

All in all, a fabulous classic, and perhaps the first of the "cursed stolen jewel" stories, as well as the first detective novel, at least in the sense of developing some of the tropes of the genre, as there is no one central detective. ( )
1 vote eurohackie | Jun 2, 2022 |
Surprised no one has turned me on to Collins before. Excellent page turner whodunnit. I particularly enjoyed the first part, narrated by the butler. He was very droll. Franklin's account got a bit boring. ( )
  invisiblecityzen | Mar 13, 2022 |
Surprised no one has turned me on to Collins before. Excellent page turner whodunnit. I particularly enjoyed the first part, narrated by the butler. He was very droll. Franklin's account got a bit boring. ( )
  invisiblecityzen | Mar 13, 2022 |
What can I say other than the book is worth the hype?

I wasn't sure at the start; I listened to the audiobook version - which was excellently done - and Gabriel Betteredge's opening narrative is... trying. I loved his character the best and the narrator who played his part played it to the hilt, which meant it felt like there was an amiable, loveable, old man telling me a story by taking the longest possible route. I was charmed, while at the same time wanting to prod him along, and honestly, if I had to hear much more about Robinson Crusoe I might have started pulling out my own hair.

Once we get past Betteredge's ramblings (which take up the first 40% of the book), the story moves along much quicker and the story becomes far more interesting, as the twist at the midway point was riveting. I only ever listen to audio while I'm in the car, because I'm so easily distracted, but I found myself carrying my phone and portable speaker out to the garden to listen to The Moonstone while I weeded, and found 3.5 hours disappeared in a blink. I got so close to the end today by the time I got home, I came straight in and grabbed my print edition so I could finish it.

I guessed who the villain was at the start, but then the twist came in and I had NO idea where he was going with the mystery; subtle misdirections were everywhere in the narratives and so, while I never really gave up my notions of who was guilty, I was entirely ready to believe I had the wrong end of the stick until the end.

The Moonstone is excellent and I highly recommend it; it's not a light, breezy read to be done in one or two settings, but it does reward the reader's commitment at the end.

Book themes for Boxing Day/St. Stephen’s Day: Read anything where the main character has servants (paid servants count, NOT unpaid) or is working as a servant him-/ herself. ( )
  murderbydeath | Feb 4, 2022 |
Showing 1-5 of 215 (next | show all)

» Add other authors (101 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Wilkie Collinsprimary authorall editionscalculated
Capriolo, EttoreTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Cole, G. D. H.Introductionsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Cole, Margaret IsabelIntroductionsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Connolly, JoyIntroductionsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Dignimont, AndréIllustratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Eliot, T. S.Introductionsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Geisler, GiselaTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Harrison, B. J.Narratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Karl, Frederick R.Introductionsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Lane, Dr. LauriatIntroductionsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Langton, JamesNarratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Laurora, HoracioTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Lindt, IngeTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Maine, G. F.General editorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Mancuso, MariarosaIntroductionsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Nayder, LillianAfterwordsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Rinaldi, MartinaTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Starrett, VincentIntroductionsecondary 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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Epigraph
Dedication
IN MEMORIAM MATRIS
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)
Quotations
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)

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 with numerous twists and turns.

No library descriptions found.

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.
(passion4reading)
Rachel gets diamond
for birthday. It's stolen at
night – call detective!
(passion4reading)

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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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