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The Moonstone

3.88 of 5 stars 3.88  ·  rating details  ·  42,009 ratings  ·  2,400 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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Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 3,000)
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Paul Bryant
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
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
Jeffrey Keeten
Photobucket

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 5 of 5 stars  ·  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 5 of 5 stars
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
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 5 of 5 stars
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
Kathryn
Sep 28, 2008 Kathryn rated it 5 of 5 stars  ·  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
Keely
May 11, 2008 Keely rated it 4 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to 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
 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
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
Alex
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? Opium? Quicksand?* This is a lud
...more
Kirsten
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.
Amy Sturgis
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
David
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
Madeline
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
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
Jonfaith
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 th
...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
Katharine
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
Jane
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
Donna
Oct 01, 2012 Donna rated it 5 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: all mystery lovers
Recommended to Donna by: PD James in "Talking About Detective Fiction"
07/05/12 re-read for Maze book discussion

No need to adjust those stars...this is a 5-star novel all the way. The eleven narrators present their first-person account just like evidence in a courtroom. Quite modern use of experimentation to arrive at solution. Pathos, humor, class warfare, British imperialism, and a bright diamond...can you feel bad that it ends up where it does?




P. D. James says that "The Moonstone" is "one of the most perfectly plotted and technically brilliant novels in the Engl
...more
Felisa Rosa
T.S. Eliot described The Moonstone as 'the first, the longest and the best of modern English detective novels', but for some reason I was still surprised by the brilliance of this book.
For a Victorian, Collins' writing is remarkably clear, and the story reflects his unconventional sense of morality and his wicked sense of humor. Highly recommended, especially if you are the sort of person who likes to cozy up with the sort of classic mystery that is set in an English manor house and involves di
...more
Don
Mar 24, 2015 Don rated it 5 of 5 stars
Shelves: uk
Was resistant to getting around to reading this mostly because it seemed as if though it were notable mostly for having been deemed the first detective novel. But it's on the Borges' list of 74 books for a personal library (http://www.openculture.com/2015/03/jo...) so I broke down and am quite glad I did. Not just a crackin' good yarn with some great narrative voices and wonderful humor, but humane with a respectful and sympathetic attitude towards people in service and Indians. I'll not presume ...more
Ed [Redacted]
The Moonstone is an epistolary novel, written by Wilkie Collins and first published in 1868. It is set about 20 years earlier. I found the pace of the novel to be a little slow but built to a great end. The central conceit of the novel is that what we are reading is a collection of written statements from a variety of people who were witness in some manner to the theft of an Indian diamond called the "Moonstone". The voice is excellent throughout and changes a bit in each section with the person ...more
Safae
Review to come!
EDIT
First of all I wanna add a little bit of information about the moonstone. when i first googled The moonstone and found that it does exist (picture below)
 a real moonstone
I was like

IT does exist and it really does originates from India.
But surprise surprise !!! they are sooo cheap you can get them at 50$ or even less.seriously? what the hell?

So all this for a cheap diamond ?
Ok enough with the diamond and let's talk about the book.
This book contains a lot of different narrators, in an attempt
...more
Dfordoom
The Moonstone, published in 1868, occupies an important place in the history of the crime novel. Wilkie Collins certainly didn’t the invent the detective story, but he was one of its earliest exponents and the huge success of his “sensation novels” such as The Woman in White and The Moonstone helped to create the market for this genre, and thus contributed to the detective fiction boom of the late 19th century. The Moonstone is more than just a crime story. Collins combines his mystery with some ...more
Jackie "the Librarian"
Sep 24, 2007 Jackie "the Librarian" rated it 5 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: mystery readers
Supposedly the first ever mystery novel. Told from the viewpoint of multiple characters, this is the story of a cursed gem brought to England from India, and given as a birthday gift, only to disappear.
Sleepwalking, a trio of mysterious turban-wearing Indians, forbidding sea cliffs, shifting sands, and a butler who loves Robinson Crusoe. What could be better! An excellent alternative to Dickens. The Woman in White is really good, too.
Faouzia
The Moonstone is the second mystery by Wilkie Collins i read. After "The Woman in White" I was afraid i would be dissapointed by this one! But it was a great book and i really enjoyed reading it!
The story is pretty simple, an indian Diamond called the Moonstone find its way to an english heiress on her birthday and then simply dissapears the day after the birthday party.

What i loved most in this book, which is i guess the style of Wilkie Collins, is how the story was told. Every character transc
...more
Pete daPixie
I have forever preferred to read non-fiction, with a bias toward historical works. Every now and then I venture into the realms of the novelist. It has taken me a full week to plough my way through 'The Moonstone' by Wilkie Collins. I found this tale to be too convoluted. A 'whodunit' theft of a fabulous diamond, a story told through various characters in the plot. Originally published in the mid nineteenth century in serialised form in 'All the Year Round'.
However Collins does not reach the ric
...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.” 44 likes
“We had our breakfasts--whatever happens in a house, robbery or murder, it doesn't matter, you must have your breakfast.” 26 likes
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