Search Site
This site uses cookies to deliver our services, improve performance, for analytics, and (if not signed in) for advertising. By using LibraryThing you acknowledge that you have read and understand our Terms of Service and Privacy Policy. Your use of the site and services is subject to these policies and terms.

Results from Google Books

Click on a thumbnail to go to Google Books.


The Moonstone (1868)

by Wilkie Collins

Other authors: See the other authors section.

MembersReviewsPopularityAverage ratingMentions
10,465246634 (3.95)848
Classic Literature. Fiction. Mystery. HTML:

The Moonstone is a 19th-century novel by the master of sensation fiction, Wilkie Collins. It is considered, with The Woman in White, to be his best work, and is also commonly seen as the first English detective novel. Many of the standard ground rules for detective fiction can be found in this work, as well as examples of Collins' forward-thinking approach to the treatment of Indians and servants.

.… (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)
AP Lit (4)
1860s (2)
My TBR (17)

Sign up for LibraryThing to find out whether you'll like this book.

No current Talk conversations about this book.

» See also 848 mentions

English (228)  Spanish (11)  Italian (1)  Catalan (1)  Danish (1)  Portuguese (1)  Swedish (1)  French (1)  Dutch (1)  All languages (246)
Showing 1-5 of 228 (next | show all)
Blue Leather bound with embossed 24K design and blue sil ribbon marker. ICL description insert pamphlet.
  OChiron | Sep 25, 2023 |
I'm taking half a star off because I don't really like the epistolary nature of the book. I find that approach somewhat lazy. But otherwise, it is a good story despite the fact that I knew who the culprit was waaaaayyyyy before the ending. The manner in which the Moonstone was stolen was ludicrous, though. (I had expected perhaps hypnotism to be involved, but although that wasn't the case, the actuality was equally ridiculous.) If I sound somewhat churlish toward Mr. Collins's literary efforts, it is probably because some fools find him to be superior to his contemporary, Charles Dickens. I find that as laughable as parts of Mr. Collins's plot. I probably would have rated the book lower, but the character of Gabriel Betteredge was a true gem. I will give credit where credit is due. ( )
  AliceAnna | Jul 30, 2023 |
Want to rate a 4.5. What a [LONG] ride! I loved Collins‘s THE WOMAN IN WHITE, and this is his other best known work. Being a friend of Dickens, Collins serialized this book, so the more he wrote, the more he got paid. It could have been whittled down quite a bit, but part of the fun in reading Victorian literature is the fact that a lot of them are chunky! I loved the characters, the rollercoaster-ride-of-a story, and all that 19th-century British stuff EXCEPT colonialism. 😊 ( )
  crabbyabbe | Feb 19, 2023 |
Often considered the prototype for the English detective novel, The Moonstone fulfils all its promise and more. The plot is on the surface quite simple: a gemstone of great cultural significance disappears from a country house. Who has taken it? Why? Is there a connection with three itinerant Indian jugglers seen in the vicinity of the house? And why does the daughter of the house, in whose care the gemstone was, take so much umbrage at the investigation?

We are introduced to a wide range of characters who retell their part in the mystery. I reacted the most favourably to Gabriel Betteridge, the steward to the house; to Sergeant Cuff, the esteemed detective brought in to solve the mystery (but who is thwarted by both the deliberate and involuntary actions of others) and Ezra Jennings, a medical man with a tragic past and a dark secret. But there is also humour in the story; Betteridge and Cuff have ample reserves of wit; and another minor participant, Miss Drusilla Clack, a cousin with an obsession with evangelising and handing out religious tracts, is written in terms that stop short of caricature.

Some of the situations and plot twists may seem overtly melodramatic and perhaps a little contrived; but all clichés started out as something new, and for the detective story, this book is where many of those clichés had their birth. And the story betrays its original publication, as a serial in the London periodical All the Year Round, edited by Collins' friend Charles Dickens. There are shocking revelations at the end of certain chapters, and although there are no overt cliff-hangers, readers will see that they were not far behind.

Like Dickens, Collins shows us upper-class England in the mid-nineteenth century, and the observant reader will learn much about Victorian society, personal finance and attitudes. The mistress of the house from where the gem disappears, Lady Verinder, is depicted as an aristocrat of a particular type (perhaps to make the aristocracy seem less remote). I was reminded of the historian Edmund Wilson, who observed that there was never a working-class revolution in Britain because the managerial class knew when it was time to negotiate (and the trade unions put advancing the cause of their members before political objectives). To this, after reading The Moonstone, we could perhaps add that there was a segment of the British aristocracy that nonetheless recognised that they had obligations towards the people in their service; and those obligations went beyond the financial and the social into matters of respect. Not all of the upper class did this; but enough did to prevent socialist ideas penetrating too far into the rural working class in particular. (Nonetheless, one minor character looks forward to a time when "the poor will rise against the rich".)

It is worth noting here that modern readers will find matters here that could be troubling: racism, sexism and classism (not to mention the use of tobacco and other substances). The racism is mostly that of ignorance, and indeed there is a secondary character who has travelled widely in India and provides perspective, although how much of that is supposed to be from a genuine interest and how much is inserted to move the plot along is another matter. And given current debate about returning cultural treasures to their places of origin, the end of the book makes quite a contemporary point.

These points aside, The Moonstone was an engaging story, brought to life by some engaging characters, yet very clearly showing how our society has changed in some 170 years. ( )
1 vote RobertDay | Feb 12, 2023 |
Pretty good story though a bit wordy. Loved some of the characters very much! ( )
  JudyGibson | Jan 26, 2023 |
Showing 1-5 of 228 (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
Judge, PhoebeNarratorsecondary 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
You must log in to edit Common Knowledge data.
For more help see the Common Knowledge help page.
Canonical title
Original title
Alternative titles
Original publication date
Important places
Important events
Related movies
Awards and honors
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
(Click to show. Warning: May contain spoilers.)
(Click to show. Warning: May contain spoilers.)
(Click to show. Warning: May contain spoilers.)
(Click to show. Warning: May contain spoilers.)
(Click to show. Warning: May contain spoilers.)
Disambiguation notice
Publisher's editors
Original language
Canonical DDC/MDS
Canonical LCC

References to this work on external resources.

Wikipedia in English (1)

Classic Literature. Fiction. Mystery. HTML:

The Moonstone is a 19th-century novel by the master of sensation fiction, Wilkie Collins. It is considered, with The Woman in White, to be his best work, and is also commonly seen as the first English detective novel. Many of the standard ground rules for detective fiction can be found in this work, as well as examples of Collins' forward-thinking approach to the treatment of Indians and servants.


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

Popular covers

Quick Links


Average: (3.95)
0.5 1
1 20
1.5 3
2 64
2.5 22
3 404
3.5 102
4 864
4.5 111
5 532

Is this you?

Become a LibraryThing Author.

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.

» Publisher information page


About | Contact | Privacy/Terms | Help/FAQs | Blog | Store | APIs | TinyCat | Legacy Libraries | Early Reviewers | Common Knowledge | 194,989,920 books! | Top bar: Always visible