The Moonstone, a priceless Indian diamond which had been brought to England as spoils of war, is given to Rachel Verrinder on her eighteenth birthday. That very night, the stone is stolen. Suspicion then falls on a hunchbacked housemaid, on Rachel’s cousin Franklin Blake, on a troupe of mysterious Indian jugglers, and on Rachel herself. The phlegmatic Sergeant Cuff is called in, and with the help of Betteredge, the Robinson Crusoe-reading loquacious steward, the mystery of the missing stone is ingeniously solved.
The Moonstone by Wilkie Collins is considered to be the first detective novel in the English Language. And being a huge fan of detective stories I had long wanted to read it, but had never gotten around doing it. So a couple of months ago I joined The Classics Club Challenge and added this book to my list.
What I absolutely loved about this novel, and perhaps the reason it’s considered a classic, is how well Collins developed the plot. The twists, the suspects, the idea of the super detective who comes in to save the day–all of this pretty much from scratch, no template or recipe to follow. The language, naturally, gives it away. This novel was first published in 1868, and the fact that he wrote it as an epistolary novel (written as a series of documents, such as letters or diary entries) made it much easier to read. It changed the pace of the book and kept it interesting.
This novel should be required reading for fans of detective novels. It is almost impossible to think of books by Agatha Christie, P.D. James, or even Arthur Conan Doyle without referring to The Moonstone. Great read!
Title: The Moonstone/Author: Wilkie Collins/Genre: Fiction/Crime / ISBN:9781593083229/Publisher:Barnes & Noble Classics/Rating: 5-Stars/Read: May, 2015.