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The Moonstone by Wilkie Collins
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The Moonstone (1868)

by Wilkie Collins

Other authors: See the other authors section.

MembersReviewsPopularityAverage ratingMentions
8,263188608 (3.96)732
  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)
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» See also 732 mentions

English (180)  Spanish (3)  Dutch (1)  French (1)  Portuguese (1)  Danish (1)  Swedish (1)  All languages (188)
Showing 1-5 of 180 (next | show all)
Unlike other books featured on 'Wishbone', this episode did not stick with me at all other than some detective snooping and drawing room gasps. As a result, the plot of 'The Moonstone' was entirely fresh and I enjoyed it a lot. From other reviews I expected a great deal more repetition and a great deal more of the meanderings and mutual compliments that made 'The Woman in White' a bit of a chore.

I found nothing of the sort here. 'The Moonstone' was a Victorian novel, and long, but Collins had learned something about how to move a compilation narrative along in the 12 years between those two books. I enjoyed the commentary between the various "authors", especially the asides of the pamphlet evangelical cousin Miss Clack and the credulous to a fault Betteredge and his copy of 'Robinson Crusoe'. From a sociological perspective I appreciated the sympathetic treatment of the Indians who had the diamond stolen from them in the first place. Women get a hard deal, especially the very intriguing Rosanna Spearman, but you can't get everything. Collins was a product of his era blah-de-blah so women are fundamentally flawed and foolish creatures in his eyes.

A great deal is said and much of it, if we wanted to be spoil-sports about it, says absolutely nothing about the mystery, but the relations of the characters and the world they live in strike me as absurd, grim and yet better-balanced (thus imminently more plausible) than the charming in other ways narratives of, say, Dickens and Trollope.

I'm no great shakes at guessing mysteries, Encyclopedia Brown often gets the best of me, but I enjoy guessing and wracking my deeply unsleuthy brain for the solution to the riddles of mystery plots. Collins drops a lot of information in 'The Moonstone' and reveals several facts of the case throughout the novel's many narratives without once jeopardizing the reveal. It fairly stumps one of the greatest detective minds in fiction. Fair by Victorian standards anyway. Seriously, you'll never guess. ( )
  ManWithAnAgenda | Feb 24, 2019 |
Given my awkward history with Collins, I must attribute my success with The Moonstone with the mystique of the Medina. It was frightfully hot in Morocco and I slipped into this novel as an escape and enjoyed its serial protagonists, its clumsy racism, its outrageous plot. Along with Stendhal's Charterhouse of Parma this novel fit the definition of transportive in an airtight manner.

The Moonstone has been regarded as the first detective movel. Its disparate perspectives don't quite overlap and there is a lack of torque about the affair. The lingering gray ambiguity suits the novel's mood, which unsettles. The Moonstone does yield a fertile field of suspects. The representation of opium is a curious bend to the whole process. ( )
  jonfaith | Feb 22, 2019 |
(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. The easy elegance of every movement of her limbs and body as soon as she began to advance from the far end of the room, set me in a flutter of expectation to see her face clearly. She left the window—and I said to myself, The lady is dark. She moved forward a few steps—and I said to myself, The lady is young. She approached nearer—and I said to myself (with a sense of surprise which words fail me to express), The lady is ugly!

Never was the old conventional maxim, that Nature cannot err, more flatly contradicted—never was the fair promise of a lovely figure more strangely and startlingly belied by the face and head that crowned it. The lady's complexion was almost swarthy, and the dark down on her upper lip was almost a moustache. She had a large, firm, masculine mouth and jaw; prominent, piercing, resolute brown eyes; and thick, coal-black hair, growing unusually low down on her forehead. Her expression—bright, frank, and intelligent—appeared, while she was silent, to be altogether wanting in those feminine attractions of gentleness and pliability, without which the beauty of the handsomest woman alive is beauty incomplete. To see such a face as this set on shoulders that a sculptor would have longed to model—to be charmed by the modest graces of action through which the symmetrical limbs betrayed their beauty when they moved, and then to be almost repelled by the masculine form and masculine look of the features in which the perfectly shaped figure ended—was to feel a sensation oddly akin to the helpless discomfort familiar to us all in sleep, when we recognise yet cannot reconcile the anomalies and contradictions of a dream. ( )
  antao | Nov 30, 2018 |
I unexpectedly loved this Victorian twisty-turny mystery. I enjoyed the story and investigation, the snarky characterizations, humor, little jabs at contemporary society. The reason I am deducting a star is because it is at least twice as long as it needs to be.

I listened to the audiobook narrated by Peter Jeffrey. His narration is superb. ( )
1 vote Gezemice | Oct 29, 2018 |
"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.
1 vote | JESGalway | Oct 9, 2018 |
Showing 1-5 of 180 (next | show all)

» Add other authors (112 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
Karl, Frederick R.Introductionsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Lane, Dr. LauriatIntroductionsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Langton, JamesNarratorsecondary 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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Important events
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Awards and honors
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
(Click to show. Warning: May contain spoilers.)
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Disambiguation notice
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References to this work on external resources.

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

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)

» see all 34 descriptions

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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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