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The Moonstone
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2016 Group Reads - Archives > The Moonstone - Prologue, First Period Chapters 1-10

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message 1: by Pip (last edited Oct 03, 2016 04:55AM) (new) - rated it 4 stars

Pip | 468 comments Section 1 - Prologue, 1st narrative – chs 1-10

The Moonstone often referred to as one of the first detective novels. This segment has introduced us to the history of the stone, which changes in brilliance along with the moon, the location, and some of the players in our story. The stone has been willed to Rachel and is to be given on her birthday. Mysterious Indian jugglers arrive at the house. And we have a servant, Roseanna, who has previously been in prison. Sounds like a perfect formula for a mystery!

Here are some questions to get us started, but please feel free to comment on other points which interested you and raise your own questions.

1. How (well) does the Prologue draw the reader into the story?

2. What impression do you have of Gabriel Betteredge and his narrative? Do you think he is well-placed to narrate the story?

3. How are questions of class, caste and social standing dealt with?

4. In Chapter 8 Collins writes "Gentlefolks in general have a very awkward rock ahead in life, the rock ahead of their own idleness". How do you think idleness of the wealthy affects their lives? The lives around them?

5. This section ends as the guests depart from the house party. We have met a wide-ranging cast of characters; does anyone else feel that this was a little like that of an Agatha Christie set-up?


message 2: by Rosemarie, Moderator (new) - rated it 4 stars

Rosemarie | 2803 comments Mod
The Prologue is great for getting us interested in the story. If it were a film, that would take place before the titles.
I really like Gabriel and his daughter Penelope. I like the way he strays from the storyline at times, and especially his various attempts to get on with the story of the disappearance/theft of the Moonstone.
As for the "idle rich", they have to work very hard to keep themselves amused.


message 3: by Lori, Moderator (new) - rated it 5 stars

Lori Goshert (lori_laleh) | 1323 comments Mod
A few notes:

I looked up the history of the Anglo-Mysore wars, which got me sad and philosophical - how people see their own riches and power as more important than the lives of other people. And of course, it's still happening...

Quicksand. I don't think quicksand is ever mentioned in a novel, except that someone ends up in it. And my instinct is to say Rosanna, since she's the one drawn to the area. I wonder who she really is? Mr. Betteredge says there's something of the lady about her. Was she someone of noble birth who fell on hard times (in a lot of these British novels, it seems to me like nobility is treated almost as a magic power - like in children's books when we find out the seemingly ordinary person is really a prince or a princess - and they often have magic powers, such as the princess and the pea)? Did she know Mr. Franklin before?

Mr. Betteredge saying to the reader: "Haven't I seen you with the greatest authors in your hands." Was he praising Collins? :-)

The cursed diamond makes me think of Moonfleet.

There are a lot of interesting characters, and I'm excited to find out what happens with them!


message 4: by Rosemarie, Moderator (new) - rated it 4 stars

Rosemarie | 2803 comments Mod
I think the name of the quicksand, the Shivering Sands, sounds very sinister and ominous.


message 5: by Gem , Moderator (new)

Gem  | 685 comments Mod
I just picked up my copy from the library today... can't wait to start reading.


Dianne | 91 comments Just finished this section, and what a great book so far. I love the whimsical and witty narration, the compelling cast of characters, the elaborate set up of the story itself. The constant refuge of Robinson Crusoe is hilarious! At the end of this section, the reader is full of questions about almost everyone - what a delicious mystery! I mostly wonder what the real motivation was in gifting Rachel with the moonstone, surely given all of the danger, mystery and intrigue surrounding it there is more to the story than the Colonel just seeking to irritate his sister after his death.


message 7: by Rosemarie, Moderator (new) - rated it 4 stars

Rosemarie | 2803 comments Mod
Mr. Murthwaite, the Indian explorer, opened Franklin Blake's eyes to how dangerous a possession the Moonstone was and that the Indians would stop at nothing to get it back. The suggestion to cut the large diamond into smaller pieces may have solved the problem, but they didn't have the opportunity to carry it out.


Roxane I just became a member of this group yesterday, and began to read "Moonstone" last night, its having been on my shelf for years. I read late into the night and am enthralled.

I love the point of view and narration by Betteredge. (Was the name chosen for a specific reason?) It reads just like an elderly persons account of history where they often find themselves diverging from the main story. Well done!

I am anxious to discover what the symbolism of the Shivering Sands is.


message 9: by Rosemarie, Moderator (new) - rated it 4 stars

Rosemarie | 2803 comments Mod
Roxane, welcome to the group. I am glad you joined us. I didn't notice Gabriel's last name "Betteredge" until you mentioned it because I was so engrossed in the narrative. The name Shivering Sands certainly sounds sinister.


Hilary (agapoyesoun) | 181 comments Oh yes, Pip, it's pure Agatha. Spot on! (It's at least a year since I read part of this book and I hope to get into it again soon! It struck me as fascinating at the time.)


Roxane Rosemarie wrote: "Roxane, welcome to the group. I am glad you joined us. I didn't notice Gabriel's last name "Betteredge" until you mentioned it because I was so engrossed in the narrative. The name Shivering Sands ..."
Thanks for the welcome! I am honored and excited to be a part of this group! Your past selections and the variety that this group has to offer has me pumped!


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