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The Moonstone

3.89  ·  Rating Details  ·  50,466 Ratings  ·  2,804 Reviews
"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 ...more
Paperback, 528 pages
Published September 11th 2001 by Modern Library (first published 1868)
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David Vidaurre Drusilla Clack is certainly mocking the officious, self righteous christians that abound even to this day. Wilkie Collins' domestic arrangements were…moreDrusilla Clack is certainly mocking the officious, self righteous christians that abound even to this day. Wilkie Collins' domestic arrangements were less than conventional for the time, so I sure he probably crossed paths with this type of character.(less)
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Jackie King
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Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 3,000)
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Bill  Kerwin

The Moonstone, rightly praised as the first detective novel, is not only a work of historical importance but also a work that transcends the genre it created, in the artfulness of its plotting, in its compassionate depiction of servants, and in its enlightened resolution of the theme of the British Empire, its crimes and their consequences.

Not that I wish to minimize its historical importance. The Moonstone is the first—certainly the first fully-formed—detective novel, and it contains within tha
...more
Sean
The following is a recently found letter written by the English author Charles Dickens to his friend Wilkie Collins concerning the latter’s newly released 1868 novel The Moonstone:

Charles Dickens
11 Gad’s Hill Place
Hingham, Kent
England

November 13, 1868

Dear Wilkie,

I am now pressing my pen against this paper to congratulate you on the success of your excellent new novel, The Moonstone. I have just completed reading it and I would like to present you with my opinion that this was, as they say, a tr
...more
Paul Bryant
Sep 03, 2014 Paul Bryant rated it liked it
Shelves: novels
The problem with mysteries – for me, anyway, is that I don't care who did it. Which is a drawback. I just think well, it's one of those characters the author has given a name to, it won't be the fourth man back on the upper deck of the omnibus mentioned briefly on page 211. It will be someone with a name. And further, it will be someone who you don't think it will be, because that's the whole point. You don't think it's going to be that person so it's a surprise. So, if it turns out to be the no ...more
Jeffrey Keeten
May 04, 2016 Jeffrey Keeten rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: gothic, victorian
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The Moonstone was published in 1868 and is considered by most people to be the first detective novel. Given the novels place in the history of the genre, that alone should put this book on most people's reading lists. To sweeten the pot, the plot is compelling, the last hundred pages I couldn't have put the book down for anything. I was caught up in the case and wanted to find out the why and the who in the mysterious circumstances surrounding the MOONSTONE.

The novel is narrated by several diff
...more
Kyle
Apr 05, 2013 Kyle rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: People
Though Wilkie Collins was long-time friends with Charles Dickens, they had drastically different writing styles, and suffered some rough patches in their relationship. In a letter to someone, Dickens talks about his thoughts on The Moonstone: "The construction is wearisome beyond endurance, and there is a vein of obstinate conceit in it that makes enemies of readers."

What the heck? Who's this Dickens guy, anyway? What the heck does he know about writing? Sheesh!

I don't know what book the vaunte
...more
knig
Dec 05, 2012 knig rated it it was amazing
Recommended to knig by: Jeffrey Keeten
Shelves: favourites
Literary 2012 is closing on an auspicious high, no doubt about it. These are the facts.

First, there was waterworks over Turgenev’s Fathers and Children a couple of weeks ago.

Second, upon finding out that my favourite film Marienbad was based on The Invention of Morel, which now ordered will see me through to the New Year, there was flushed excitement.

Third, I have not stopped laughing since I took up The Moonstone.

A veritable boon of emotions. Some have pointed out it might be less the influen
...more
Daniel
Feb 04, 2009 Daniel rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2009
I was torn between giving two stars and three stars to Wilkie Collins's "The Moonstone," a book T. S. Eliot called "the first, the longest, and the best of modern English detective novels." "Longest" is perhaps the operative word here, reminding one of Samuel Johnson's comment (speaking, in his case, of Milton's "Paradise Lost") that none ever wished it longer. "The Moonstone"'s length, in the end, is its chief and perhaps only major failing. Large chunks of the novel seem to drag on and on with ...more
Bruce
Feb 03, 2009 Bruce rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: mystery fans, fans of early English novels
What a fine fine book this is. I am so surprised that it has taken me so long to get to it given how much I love Victorian Era British Novels. I think perhaps that is because of how slow a book I found the Woman in White to be. I finally picked up the Moonstone three days ago, and have read through it virtually nonstop.

This is often described as the first real detective novel in the English language, and as such you might expect it to be completely plot driven. That is not the case at all. Coll
...more
Duane
3.5 stars for this overly long classic/mystery novel by Collins. The second half of the novel picked up in pace but the foreshadowing left little doubt about the outcome. The writing is good, it saves the book really. I have previously read "The Woman in White"' which I liked more, but this book has secured it's position in the canon of English Literature.
Donna
In the preface to another edition of this book, the author informed his readers that it was his intention with The Moonstone to trace the influence of character on circumstances instead of what he usually did in his stories, which was to trace the influence of circumstances on character. To quote him: "The conduct pursued, under a sudden emergency, by a young girl, supplies the foundation on which I have built this book." In short, this is a character driven novel. He also conveyed that when he ...more
Kathryn
Sep 28, 2008 Kathryn rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: those wishing to read one of the first mystery novels and realize why it's still so good!
This is supposedly one of the first mystery novels ever published and is believed to introduce the prototype for the English detective hero character. It is also the first book in the Tyler-and-Kate Book Club; I will always love it because it's one of the only books Tyler and I could decide on to read together and it was wonderfully absorbing and provided us with lots of grand characters and interesting plot twists to enjoy—and the mystery to ponder!

It's certainly very long and often verbose—I
...more
Tracey
Jan 19, 2016 Tracey rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Well thank goodness for that!
I got a little bit bogged down with this one, maybe because I had two other books going at the same time which were quite fast paced and kept my attention.
I ended up liking the story of the diamond stolen from an Indian sacred statue but mostly I liked it for some of the characters who tell the story in 11 different narratives. My special favourite is Betteredge the old steward of the country house where much of the story takes place who relies on Robinson Crusoe fo
...more
J.G. Keely
May 11, 2008 J.G. Keely rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to J.G. Keely by: Ama
Perhaps it is not surprising that I managed to guess the 'who', if not the how of this prototype mystery. What may be somewhat of a surprise is that this recognition did not make the book tedious, nor did it become a plodding step-by-step towards inevitability like many mysteries are.

Like The Virginian, this predecessor of a genre never seems to fall into the same traps as its innumerable followers. Indeed, with both these books, the focus itself becomes something entirely different than the obs
...more
Shobhit Sharad
Dec 15, 2015 Shobhit Sharad rated it really liked it
Shelves: wilkie-collins
The best thing about a classic book is that the author dissects out, and lays before you bare, all the thoughts and feelings of the characters. This not only helps you understand the story better, but it lets you make a bond with the characters; all irrespective of whether the genre of the story is crime or drama or romance. If you'll read The Moonstone, you'll come across how the author describes the French, German and Italian aspects of an important character's personality, this in itself goes ...more
 Danielle The Book Huntress (Self-Proclaimed Book Ninja)
It took me about seven months to finish this book. I listened to it at night on Kindle via text-to-speech. "The Moonstone" is a mystery involving the theft of an enormous Indian diamond called The Moonstone which is fated to be cursed. The mystery is who stole it the night of Miss Rachel Verinder's birthday. She had shortly received the diamond as a bequest from a deceased uncle, carried by the dashing young Mr. Franklin Blake on his travel to England.

According to Wikipedia, this is the first E
...more
Melora
This is loads of fun! I read The Woman in White about five years ago, and it wasn't bad, but I don't recall it being anything like as entertaining as The Moonstone. Its “funniness” might derive in part from how I “read” this one – as an audiobook, read by an excellent cast of readers including Patrick Tull, which I Highly recommend – but most of it comes from the absolutely wonderful characters Collins has created. The romantic “lead” characters, Rachel Verinder and Franklin Blake, are nothing s ...more
Pink
Liked, didn't love. I found it a little slow in parts and the mystery didn't have enough suspense for me. I was also a slightly disappointed by the reveal of what actually happened. Nevertheless, I enjoyed reading a story with multiple points of view and touches of humour that kept me smiling and turning the pages. A solid 3 stars for me.
Leni Iversen
This was excellent. Called the first modern English detective novel, it is equal parts mystery and Victorian social commentary. The story has multiple narrators, all with their own quirks and biases, who take turns filling in the events of the story. An Indian jewel that comes with a curse has been stolen. Who dunnit? How? Why? As the story unfolds we get intrigue, high emotion, tragedy and comedy. I was a bit worried at the start that the Indian element would lead to the rampant racism and orie ...more
Alex
Feb 24, 2016 Alex rated it it was amazing
Shelves: 2014, rth-lifetime
The Moonstone is known as the first detective novel*, and it's a cracking one. You can see things invented here that were directly borrowed by future writers: Holmes' overconfidence (and his use of London urchins as agents); Agatha Christie's exploration of narrative reliability.

* as opposed to Poe's Dupin, which was the first detective story - I know, we're splitting hairs.

And if the mystery's not enough for you, how about mysterious Oriental cultures? Romance? Quicksand?* Opium? This is a lud
...more
Uncle
I would hesitate to call the current interest in Wilkie Collins to be a revival, since his best novels never seem to have fallen out of fashion with the reading public. His most famous work, The Woman in White (1859), is usually considered the definitive Victorian “sensation novel”. Still widely read and loved by readers, its influence can be detected in the many contemporary supernatural and macabre novels set in Victorian England. His second most famous book, The Moonstone (1868), is generally ...more
Madeline
Dec 01, 2009 Madeline rated it liked it
Shelves: the-list
Multiple narrators tell the story, from their own vastly different perspectives, of the finding, theft, and recovery of a huge diamond called the Moonstone. It's first stolen from an Indian temple (surprisingly, Collins actually intends the reader sympathize with the people it was stolen from, rather than just saying that brown people don't deserve diamonds) by some jackass Englishman, who then leaves it to his niece. The diamond is cursed, supposedly, but actually there are three very real men ...more
Kirstine
Apparently this is one of the very first crime novels, paving the way for the modern detective stories and such, and as a crime and mystery novel it is very very good.

The mystery is not a murder, but the disappearance of a yellow diamond, the Moonstone, a stone that was malicious stolen once upon a time and has been cursed ever since. Now it’s become the birthday present for Rachel Verinder, a young English woman, and the next day it’s mysteriously gone.

It’s told in a peculiar way, one which a
...more
Kirsten *Dogs Welcome - People Tolerated"
Mr Betteridge would be very disappointed in me as I have never read Robinson Crusoe and I should have read this book long since.

It was wonderfully crafted and put together with delicious twists and turns. So many characters and situations, yet you care for the characters. They are delightful and even the villains are not truly villainous. I loved this book.
Rajan
May 15, 2016 Rajan rated it did not like it
his life had been twice threatened in India; and it was firmly believed that the Moonstone was at the bottom of it. When he came back to England, and found himself avoided by everybody, the Moonstone was thought to be at the bottom of it again. The mystery of the Colonel's life got in the Colonel's way, and outlawed him, as you may say, among his own people. The men wouldn't let him into their clubs; the women—more than one—whom he wanted to marry, refused him; friends and relations got too near ...more
David
Dec 02, 2014 David rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: british, whodunnit
Mysteries are so hard to review - I mean, what's the by what metric do you gauge them? Surprise? Overall dramatic tension? Writing Style? I'm not even sure myself, but I really liked Wilkie Collins' The Moonstone, it had a very different mode than the classical detective tale à la Agatha Christie et. al. In fact, it's not much of a detective tale at all. There's a detective, rather briefly, but he retires and gives the case up to pamper his rose garden.

There's a tangible appreciation for art and
...more
Jane
Jan 04, 2014 Jane rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: re-reading
While storms have raged, while at high tide waves have hit the sea wall with such force that the house shook, I have been spending the dark evenings re-reading ‘The Moonstone’, secure in the knowledge that out house was built not long after the publication of Wilkie Collins’ wonderful book and so it has survived many storms and was so solidly built that it should survive many more.

I think that ‘The Moonstone’ is pitched at the perfect point between crime fiction and sensation fiction, and it mak
...more
Kerrie
Whenever I try to explain or describe anything penned by Wilkie, I always come up short so I'm not even going to try. This book totally deserves its place in the halls of famous literature. I suppose it is considered an epistolary novel (though a depositional novel would be more precise!) as the entire story is seen through the point of views of a series of characters from the beginning of the saga to the end. And what a huge cast of characters! The melodrama was thick enough to eat with a spoon ...more
Fiona
The Moonstone is perfect in every particular, and I will fight anyone who disagrees. The narrative voice, the pace, the plot. The locations. The little details. The characters! The detection by means of a whole lot of laudanum and implausible coincidences. The women - Collins has a Type, like Sondheim has a Type, of lady-character, and I love her to bits.

I finished it last night, and shed a single tear of pure joy that such a book could exist in the world.
Amy Sturgis
Jul 30, 2013 Amy Sturgis rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 19th-century, mystery
This is a classic for a reason. Despite its impressive length, the reader doesn't want it to end. (Well, this one didn't, at any rate.)

At its heart, this is a mystery story - the first great detective novel, in fact - centered on the question of the theft of the moonstone. (This layers irony upon irony, as it is stolen no less than four times - and, for that matter, the tale is built on the original theft of the stone by a British officer from its native Indian setting.) Collins skillfully build
...more
Katharine
Jan 01, 2009 Katharine rated it really liked it
Shelves: drama, classic, mystery
The Moonstone

I have read The Woman in White and I'll be honest -- I wasn't so impressed. I skimmed parts of the middle section, I admit, but my overall impression was of Gothic cliches, an unlikeable hero and heroine, and a soppy romance. But I've heard The Moonstone mentioned as the first and greatest detective story so many times, that when I found a copy at a garage sale I thought I might as well give Collins another try. (I am eternally hopeful when it comes to the classics.) That, and in
...more
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A close friend of Charles Dickens' from their meeting in March 1851 until Dickens' death in June 1870, William "Wilkie" Collins was one of the best known, best loved, and, for a time, best paid of Victorian fiction writers. But after his death, his reputation declined as Dickens' bloomed. Now, Collins is being given more critical and popular attention than he has received for fifty years. Most of ...more
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“Your tears come easy, when you're young, and beginning the world. Your tears come easy, when you're old, and leaving it. I burst out crying.” 57 likes
“We had our breakfasts--whatever happens in a house, robbery or murder, it doesn't matter, you must have your breakfast.” 37 likes
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