Thursday, October 17, 2013

The Moonstone by Wilkie Collins

Diamonds Are a Girl’s Best Friend (Classic Mysteries Week)

The Moonstone by Wilkie Collins is a mystery published in 1868 that involves the disappearance of a precious diamond called The Moonstone, so named because it emanates a yellow color that grows and lessens with the waning and waxing of the moon. The Moonstone is a gift to Rachel on her eighteenth birthday from her uncle who obtained the stunning stone under questionable circumstances. This is no little bauble, no diamond dust, no Cubic Zirconia. It’s the real thing. It is dazzling, absurdly bodacious bling, worth a fortune. More than monetary merit, this diamond is highly valued because it belongs on the forehead of a sacred Hindu statue.  Unfortunately, on the night of Rachel’s party, The Moonstone goes missing and so the hunt for the glitzy gem begins.

This book is generally considered the first English detective novel and is rife with twists and turns. I was pleasantly surprised at the writing style. Several main characters narrate the story, which is told with wry humor that had me chuckling along the way. By looking at a picture of the author, I would never have thought he would crack a smile, much less a joke. He looks stuffy and pompous, but turns out he was probably a big, fuzzy, funny teddy bear. That just goes to tell you, don’t judge a book by its cover, or in this case a man by his picture.

Five top reasons to love this book:

1. It crackles with dry humor.
“The ugly women have a bad time in this world. Let’s hope it will be made up to them in another.”
Wilkie Collins, The Moonstone (1868; reprint, Garden City, NY: International Collectors Library, unknown), 100.

2. It involves a mystery that the reader wants to solve.
"The horrid mystery hanging over us in this house gets into my head like liquor, and makes me wild."
Wilkie Collins, The Moonstone (1868; reprint, Garden City, NY: International Collectors Library, unknown).

3. It has vivid descriptions. 
(The Moonstone) “The light that streamed from it was like the light of the harvest-moon.  When you looked down into the stone, you looked into a yellow deep that drew your eyes into it so that they saw nothing else.”
Wilkie Collins, The Moonstone (1868; reprint, Garden City, NY: International Collectors Library, unknown), 54.

4. It is logical.
“We had our breakfast—whatever happens in a house, robbery or murder, it doesn't matter, you must have your breakfast.”   
Wilkie Collins, The Moonstone (1868; reprint, Garden City, NY: International Collectors Library, unknown), 72.

5. It is shocking.
“The music she selected to play was of the most scandalously profane sort associated with performances on the stage which curdles one’s blood to think of.”
Wilkie Collins, The Moonstone (1868; reprint, Garden City, NY: International Collectors Library, unknown), 220.

Don't pass up this gem of a book! 


As I’ve mentioned so many times before, many classics can be found online—free.  Click below for a pdf version of The Moonstone by Wilkie Collins.  http://www.fulltextarchive.com/pdfs/The-Moonstone.pdf




Happy reading,

Annette


What did you think of this book? Post a comment or email: Readinginthegarden@gmail.com

3 comments:

  1. I absolute love The Moonstone, I like the way Collins gives everyone a chance to contribute their part of the story. He does that also in his most famous novel, The Woman in White and a recently read a third, not as well known novel by him, Armadale, also a great read.

    The reason why he looks so strict in the picture might have been the way pictures were taken, you had to sit still for ages because it took the photographer so long to expose the film. LOL

    Anyway, I love his writing style. I love English classics, I love all classics but English are the best.

    Marianne from Let's Read

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    1. I have not read The Woman in White or Armadale. I will definitely have to add them to my list, because he's got a great style. Thank you for the info. You're right about his photo, though I didn't even think about it. I know many people also did not smile for photos in the old frontier days in the 1800s because many had rotten teeth and didn't want to advertise that fact.
      Always nice to hear from you!

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  2. I haven't read any of his books but it sure sounds as if I need to add at least this one to my ever growing book list... Thank you

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