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The Moonstone [Paperback]

Wilkie Collins , Carolyn G. Heilbrun
4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (40 customer reviews)
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Book Description

Sept. 11 2001 Modern Library Classics
"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.

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Review

"The first and greatest of English detective novels."
--T. S. Eliot

From the Publisher

The Broadview Literary Texts series is an effort to represent the ever-changing canon of literature in English by bringing together texts long regarded as classics with valuable, though lesser-known literature. --This text refers to an alternate Paperback edition.

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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 wit" Read the first page
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Customer Reviews

Most helpful customer reviews
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A True Mystery Novel May 10 2004
Format:Paperback
The Moonstone is a wonderfully written English mystery novel of the mid 1800s. It tells the story of the path of a stolen Indian gemstone. The path begins from the day it was stolen from the forehead of a sacred statue of the god of the Moon guarded by three Brahmins (or Indian priests) to and from its journey Yorkshire. While in Yorkshire, the stone is eventually passed down to Miss Rachel Verinder on the day of her eighteenth birthday and within the same night, the precious Diamond is stolen. In several narratives, the theft of the Diamond is described.
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.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
Format:Paperback
First published in 1868, Wilkie Collins' "The Moonstone" has been never out of print. This fact testifies the popularity of the book, but somehow because of the famous comment by TS Eliot, "The Moonstone" is likely to be regarded as 'detective fiction.' The fact is slightly different, and you have to keep that in mind before you read it.
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.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars "The first, the longest, and the best ...". Oct. 15 2002
Format:Paperback
It was T S Eliot who described Wilkie Collins' "The Moonstone" as "the first, the longest, and the best of Modern English detective novels". Not everybody might agree with this, but all practitioners, readers, and fans of detective fiction will find much to admire and enjoy in this magnificent 1868 publication.
Although not exactly the first example of detection novels, it provides the archetypal sleuth, Sergeant Cuff, an astute though idiosyncratic detective who leads the chase to the solution of the mystery, easily surpassing the dim-witted local police authorities. It also explores the full potential of the whodunit formula.
Arguably, it is still the longest example of detective fiction. Unlike most other serialized novels of its era, this one is meticulously plotted. You'll find red herrings, suspense, the unexpected, climaxes that overwhelm or fizzle out, and a satisfying denouement. It is narrated largely by some of the principal characters. All are revealed in well-rounded perspective while carrying forward the story line. The most popular has always been Drusilla Clack, "that rampant spinster", a self-righteous tract-dispensing lady who likes to eavesdrop and to be judgmental.
Is it the best? I would unhesitatingly award it the prize, while welcoming other internet browsers to name other contenders.
Wealthy internet browsers are recommended to download the unabridged audio reading of the book. It is a novel that reads well, and the full length reading available is a model of its kind. Naxos has produced an abridged version. It has the benefit of multiple readers, but most of the charm and all the atmosphere seems to disappear in the abridgment process. Book format will put you in touch with the original text and, provided you have the leisure and disposition for tackling a 20 hour read, will provide your imagination, your mind and your literary appetite with rich material.
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4.0 out of 5 stars the magnum opus of suspense and intrigue Jan. 28 2004
Format:Paperback
T.S. Eliot was not exaggerating when he dubbed Collins' masterpiece "the first, the longest, and the best of modern English detective novels". The Moonstone, first published in 1868, is the magnum opus of suspense and intrigue that will surely please the avid mystery and/or classics buff.
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.
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Most recent customer reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars The Moonstone by Wilkie Collins
Considered the first English detective novel , this is a cannnot- put-down
book .This is because the reader and the detectives share the same information , cleverly edited by... Read more
Published on April 4 2011 by bookworm
2.0 out of 5 stars Go ahead and yawn, you won't miss anything
I understood that The Moonstone is a classic so I decided to read this to be culturally literate. Well the story line may be interesting but the writing is atrocious. Read more
Published on June 27 2006 by bernie
5.0 out of 5 stars Diffrent
MoonStone absolutley has you on edge. It's unlike most books, instead of having a slow begining where they introduce all the cahracters, it goes straight to the plot. Read more
Published on May 31 2004 by Sulece
4.0 out of 5 stars LOVE THAT WILKIE!
Wilkie Collins is a master storyteller, but like his other masterpiece, THE WOMAN IN WHITE, THE MOONSTONE would have been improved with a bit of editing. Read more
Published on Feb. 21 2004 by Author in the Attic
3.0 out of 5 stars Lost me at the end
I enjoyed this book for about the first two-thirds and then it became remarkably tedious. For the last third I really just wanted it to be over. Read more
Published on Nov. 30 2003 by madcarrot
5.0 out of 5 stars A Favorite Many Times Over
This is a book worth reading many times. I pick it up every couple of years and enjoy it more and more every time. Read more
Published on Sept. 1 2003
1.0 out of 5 stars Go ahead and yawn, you won't miss anything.
I understood that The Moonstone is a classic so I decided to read this to be culturally literate. Well the story line may be interesting but the writing is atrocious. Read more
Published on May 5 2003 by bernie
2.0 out of 5 stars Go ahead and yawn, you won't miss anything.
I understood that The Moonstone is a classic so I decided to read this to be culturally literate. Well the story line may be interesting but the writing is atrocious. Read more
Published on Feb. 6 2003 by bernie
4.0 out of 5 stars A Stolen Gem
The Moonstone is a slow-paced detective novel written in the 19th century in London, England. The Moonstone was first obtained by Colonel Herncastle who bequeaths it to his niece... Read more
Published on Jan. 10 2003
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