The adventure begins when the priceless yellow diamond from India, known as the 'Moonstone', is brought to English as spoils of war and is bestowed upon the spirited Rachel Verrinder on her 18th birthday. Chaos soon commences. The valuable jewel is stolen that very night and the entire household falls under suspicion - including a hunchbacked maid, an assemblage of enigmatic Indian jugglers, and Miss Verrinder's cousin Mr. Franklin Blake. Suspicion of thievery does not even escape Miss Verrinder herself. The famed Sergeant Cuff is summoned to the house to try and make sense of the baffling mystery of the diamond's disappearance and the strange events that ensue.
The Moonstone is comprised of three novelettes and a handful of sub-sections, each narrated by three individuals (and a handful of other characters writing shorter supporting memoirs), with their own whimsical writing styles and detailed anecdotes about their adventures surrounding the jewel's disappearance and the aftermath. Their varying perspectives on incidents throw interesting light on the events unraveling around the reader. Introducing the novel is the household's elderly and garrulous manservant, Mr. Gabriel Betteredge, with his witty maxims and proverbial quotes from his personal bible, "Robinson Crusoe". The pious and almost-fanatical Miss Clack's cold recital of events, is followed soon after by Mr. Franklin Blake's narrative of events, and the mystery's final and most ingenious outcome. It will not disappoint.Read more ›
I believe that The Moonstone was a fascinating and well thought out mystery novel. Although I thought it was a little too lengthy near the end, this was only for the better. Collins uses eight different narratives to re-tell the story of the missing Diamond. The characters develop into believable and helpful elements of the story. The narratives allow Collins to achieve suspense, thrill, and mystery. In my opinion, he has successfully accomplished the true title of a classic mystery novel.
The story is absolutely the classic style of "Who-Done-It." The Moonstone, a sacred Hindo stone is stolen from India, and makes its way to the peaceful Yorkshire countryhouse where the rich daughter Rachel Verinder lives with her mother. On her birthday night, however, immediately after the stone is presented to the young lady, it vanishes without a trace. So, who stole it? Or is it just 'missing,' as the inimitable London detective Sgt. Cuff thinks?
The story sounds like Agatha Christie (who, like Collins, wrote stories about the British middle-class), but if you are looking for some ingenious 'trick' or something, you will be disapponited. The story is written BEFORE Sherlock Holmes is born, and though the basic elements of detective stories can be found here, Collins does not use them as you might expect the later writers like Conan Doyle do. I cannot reveal much, but I can tell you that the whereabout of the stone is not necessarily the primary concern of the novel.
The most strikingly original aspect of the novel is its characters. Remember, "The Moonstone" is primarily a Victorian novel, and Wilkie Collins is one of the best friends of Charles Dickens, who wrote "Great Expectations" which attacks the idea of 'gentleman.' The story is told by many characters themselves, and they unwittingly reveal the hidden side of their personalities in the narrative.Read more ›