Goodreads helps you keep track of books you want to read.
Start by marking “The Moonstone” as Want to Read:
The Moonstone
Enlarge cover
Rate this book
Clear rating
Open Preview

The Moonstone

by
3.90  ·  Rating details ·  89,609 ratings  ·  4,909 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 August 1st 1868)
More Details... Edit Details

Friend Reviews

To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up.

Reader Q&A

To ask other readers questions about The Moonstone, please sign up.
Popular Answered Questions
Paul Driskill Definitely! I think it is worth noting her habit of capitalizing "Me" often times when she refers to herself. For all her piety, she is elevating hers…moreDefinitely! I think it is worth noting her habit of capitalizing "Me" often times when she refers to herself. For all her piety, she is elevating herself through a clever grammatical move to the level of Godhood. Not to mention the fact she fairly blatantly more concerned with doing her own good works than with the works themselves--ie (I'm dodging a spoiler here), she is excited to learn about someone's misfortune because it gives her an opportunity to be devoted to someone. (less)
This question contains spoilers... (view spoiler)
Jackie King
This answer contains spoilers… (view spoiler)

Community Reviews

Showing 1-30
Average rating 3.90  · 
Rating details
 ·  89,609 ratings  ·  4,909 reviews


More filters
 | 
Sort order
Start your review of The Moonstone
Bill Kerwin

The Moonstone, generally recognized as the first detective novel (despite the appearance of The Notting Hill Mystery a few years before), 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
...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 d
...more
Tadiana ✩Night Owl☽
4.5 stars, rounding up, for this 1868 Victorian-era mystery, often considered the first English-language detective novel. Wilkie Collins spins a literary web that starts out slowly but then inexorably pulls you in; I finished the last half of the book in one extended readathon. He has a gift for writing as vastly different characters, who each take a turn telling or writing their part of the story, and a droll, sometimes very sarcastic sense of humor.
description
In 1799 a British soldier steals a large yell
...more
Anne
Holy shit! This was actually funny and I was not expecting that at all.
It was a serialized story, so it tends to ramble in places and not wrap up as quickly as it probably would have otherwise. However, it didn't feel tedious or drawn out like some of those stories do. This was truly entertaining. I'd recommend this to anyone who loves locked-door mysteries because this one definitely stands the test of time.
The book is told by four different narrators who have been asked by Franklin Blake to w
...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
Dec 02, 2011 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
Alex
May 29, 2014 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
Piyangie
Apr 11, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
The Moonstone is probably the most popular work of Wilkie Collins in his day. Perhaps it still is or perhaps The Woman in White rivals its rank at present times. But no matter, its popularity in Collin's day is no secret. Named as the first detective fiction of English literature, The Moonstone paved the way and laid the ground rules on modern detective novels. In that sense The Moonstone is pioneer of the genre.

With his customary use of different narrators, Collins works on his story on
...more
Fionnuala
I finished this book several days ago but couldn't motivate myself to add it to my goodreads shelves or write a review. It's as if the weight of the tons of words in the text has paralysed me. What's more, I knew what I was getting into. I read The Woman in White just before this one and it left me with a similar lethargy. The only thing I was able to do after finishing it was pick up The Moonstone as if my mind had been taken over by a rabid Wilkie Collins fan. Today, I'm beginning to emerge fr ...more
Daniel
Jan 03, 2009 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
Kyle
Jan 26, 2013 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
Ahmad Sharabiani
862. The Moonstone, Wilkie Collins
The Moonstone (1868) by Wilkie Collins is a 19th-century British epistolary novel, generally considered the first full length detective novel in the English language.
The Moonstone tells of the events surrounding the disappearance of a mysterious (and cursed) yellow diamond. T. S. Eliot called it 'the first, the longest, and the best of modern English detective novels'. It contains a number of ideas which became common tropes of the genre, including a crime bein
...more
Simona B
“I am (thank God!) constitutionally superior to reason. [...] Profit, good friends, I beseech you, by my example. It will save you from many troubles of the vexing sort. Cultivate a superiority to reason, and see how you pare the claws of all the sensible people when they try to scratch you for your own good!”

I've wanted to read it since I read The D. Case or The Truth About The Mystery Of Edwin Drood and The Mystery of Edwin Drood. I've discovered a new favourite author. Right now, I am perfect
...more
Kat
Mar 04, 2021 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I greatly enjoyed reading this story which was told through various characters and I liked them all with the exception of miss Clack since I found her character unsympathetic to say the least.
The narratives which I enjoyed most were Betteredge's, Mr. Bruff's and Fraklin Blake's.
The narrative given by Betteredge was the one which amused me at many points and I found his relationships with the family members, his daughter and his employees very endearing and I liked his personality!
The most intrig
...more
Jaya
Damn those heathen savages trying to get back their stolen sacred stone from them sahibs!

Mildly spoilerish
To my utmost disappointment The Butler, didn't do it :(
Considering that this book was written wayyy back in the 1840-1850s, one needs to ignore
a) the methods of solving a supposed crime and mystery behind certain unexplained events
b) the "oriental" tenor of describing certain ahem races/nationalities (using the term loosely here)
c) the obscure experiments providing confounding astounding
...more
Jason Koivu
Mar 17, 2017 rated it liked it
I guess a review of this requires me to say that Wilkie Collins' The Moonstone is one of the first mystery novels ever written. Now that I've got that out of the way, let's get on with the review.

This English drama/mystery started out great. It also started out much the same way many English drama/mysteries of the period would start out: in the manor house. It also used the popular-in-its-time epistolary form of storytelling, with about a half dozen characters taking up their pens to relate thei
...more
knig
Nov 27, 2012 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
Manuel Antão
Nov 30, 2018 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 1981
If you're into stuff like this, you can read the full review.



The Lady is Dark: "The Moonstone" by Wilkie Collins



(Original Review, 1981-01-28)


The instant my eyes rested on her, I was struck by the rare beauty of her form, and by the unaffected grace of her attitude. Her figure was tall, yet not too tall; comely and well-developed, yet not fat; her head set on her shoulders with an easy, pliant firmness; her waist, perfection in the eyes of a man, for it occupied its natural place, it filled out i
...more
Apatt
Nov 16, 2013 rated it really liked it
Rereads generally work very well for me, as I have memory like a sieve. However, some books are more rewarding when re-reading than others and I usually only find out once I have committed to the reread. I first read The Moonstone decades ago and I enjoyed it very much, unfortunately even my poor memory still retains the outrageous denouement to the central mystery of the theft of the eponymous diamond. Still, I was curious to reread it as I remember enjoying it so much.


The Moonstone is about t
...more
Becky
Jan 19, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: classics
The first detective story written in the English language, and it holds up. Although I had my suspicions, I didn't know exactly whodunnit or how, right up to the end. In fact, if you removed the sexist and racist bits (a product of its time, eye-rolling encouraged), the book would seem quite modern.

[Aside] Thank god authors no longer describe female characters as the sillier, weaker sex at every opportunity. Or automatically place suspicion on every non-white character. Or have characters who s
...more
Roger Brunyate
More Interesting for Plot than People

Published in 1868, The Moonstone outsold Great Expectations. Yet Dickens is universally acknowledged the greater author today, and I’d assumed that Wilkie Collins was now just a literary footnote, notable as author of the first detective story, but scarcely worth reading for his own sake. The other day, however, I bragged to a friend that I was reading The Moonstone, but instead of congratulations all I got was: “You surely mean re-reading it”? Ouch!



The essen
...more
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
Tristram Shandy
“‘Take a drop more grog, Mr. Franklin, and you’ll get over the weakness of believing in facts! […]’”

This advice on the part of Mr Betteredge, the butler, is excellent for anyone willing to read Wilkie Collins’s The Moonstone and being too much given to measure fiction by their own experience. Much of what happens in connection with the Moonstone mystery is definitely far-fetched, and a glass of grog or whisky will help you muster up the necessary degree of generosity. And if you still believe in
...more
Lisa Vegan
I read this as a buddy read with my Goodreads’ friend Laura, and it was fun to discuss it as we went along. Reading it with her helped me persist and finish it. I’m appreciative to her for waiting for me while I waited for my library copy and then sometimes waiting for me to catch up with her while we read.

This book is incredibly hard for me to rate and even more difficult to review.

I’m going to settle on 2 stars, possibly coming close to 2 ½ stars. As usual, I’m rating based on my personal rea
...more
Steve
May 10, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: Fans of Robinson Crusoe, Victorian Stoners
As good as anything I've read by Dickens. What a wonderful gallery of characters! House steward Gabriel Betteridge, with his overall loyalty and decency, and constant use of Robinson Crusoe as a guide through life, is one of the great characters in literature. That said, I found the haunted doctor Ezra Jennings to be one of those secondary characters that stay with you forever. Anyway, as many have noted, The Moonstone is considered the first, and still among the very best, of detective novels. ...more
BrokenTune
Aug 12, 2017 rated it it was ok
Shelves: reviewed
There stood Miss Rachel at the table, like a person fascinated, with the Colonel's unlucky Diamond in her hand. There, on either side of her, knelt the two Bouncers, devouring the jewel with their eyes, and screaming with ecstasy every time it flashed on them in a new light. There, at the opposite side of the table, stood Mr. Godfrey, clapping his hands like a large child, and singing out softly, "Exquisite! exquisite!" There sat Mr. Franklin in a chair by the book-case, tugging at his beard, an ...more
Olivia-Savannah
May 16, 2021 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: favorites
I loved this. The writing style is brilliant. While it’s a long classic everything adds up at the end, and I liked how it all came together and the outcome of the mystery. Despite its length, I couldn’t see anything unnecessary in the story. I loved that Collins once again used different perspectives for weaving the mystery. I especially loved the voices of Mr Betterage and Mr Franklin. I was also impressed with how much I cared for every one of the characters – secondary characters included! It ...more
Nancy Oakes
4.5 rounded up . I must admit that I'd completely ruled out the "who" in all of this early on in the story, so at least Collins kept me guessing over 400+ pages and gave me a nice jolt at the end. That's always a good thing. A little farfetched though plausible, and a little on the draggy side in parts, but I had a great time with it and I loved the switching narrative style.

Anyone who has not yet read The Moonstone really ought to pick up a copy, not solely because it is considered by some to
...more
Marwan
Oct 09, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
That was a long journey, but it was worth it. I always feel discouraged when I start reading a long novel, thinking it might be too long for its own good, and I couldn't have been more wrong. It was a masterpiece, truly a masterpiece. It's filled with adventure and twists. Also, what I liked most about it is that the story is told from the perspective of several characters (multi-narration), which made it more interesting and more thrilling.

This novel (as the title suggests) is a rare gem, and I
...more
J.G. Keely
Mar 13, 2008 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
« previous 1 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 next »

Readers also enjoyed

  • The Leavenworth Case
  • The Trail of the Serpent
  • The Murder on the Links (Hercule Poirot)
  • The Mysterious Affair at Styles (Hercule Poirot)
  • The Hound of the Baskervilles (Sherlock Holmes, #5)
  • Lady Audley's Secret
  • The Secret Adversary (Tommy and Tuppence, #1)
  • The Tenant of Wildfell Hall
  • Bleak House
  • Crossover (Cross your Heart and Die, #1)
  • Westwind Secrets
  • The Turn of the Screw
  • Inspired by The Holy Ghost
  • The Uninhabited House
  • The Mystery of Edwin Drood
  • Vanity Fair
  • Silas Marner
See similar books…
See top shelves…
2,041 followers
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 50 years. Most of his bo
...more

Articles featuring this book

If you ask us, it's always the perfect time to lose yourself in a page-turning mystery. To help you sleuth out a new read, we asked the...
174 likes · 103 comments
“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.” 89 likes
“We had our breakfasts--whatever happens in a house, robbery or murder, it doesn't matter, you must have your breakfast.” 76 likes
More quotes…