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The Moonstone (Modern Library Classics) Paperback – September 11, 2001


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Product Details

  • Series: Modern Library Classics
  • Paperback: 528 pages
  • Publisher: Modern Library; Modern Library edition (September 11, 2001)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0375757856
  • ISBN-13: 978-0375757853
  • Product Dimensions: 5.2 x 0.9 x 8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 14.4 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (249 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #987,017 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

Review

"The first and greatest of English detective novels."
--T. S. Eliot

From the Publisher

The Broadview Literary Texts series is an effort to represent the ever-changing canon of literature in English by bringing together texts long regarded as classics with valuable, though lesser-known literature. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

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Customer Reviews

The cast of characters are well drawn, eccentric and quirky.
C. M Mills
By telling bits of the story from different character's points of view, we learn as much about the narrators as the plot itself.
Janet
I have read this book so many times over the decades and never get tired of it.
Regine Tollefsen

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

342 of 354 people found the following review helpful By A. Wolverton VINE VOICE on May 12, 2003
Format: Paperback
As many reviewers have noted, T.S. Eliot called `The Moonstone' "the first and greatest English detective novel." Is the novel worthy of such praise? We shall see...
The story begins with a brief prologue describing how the famous yellow diamond was captured during a military campaign in India by a British officer in 1799. The action moves quickly to 1848 England, where, according to the British officer's will, the diamond has been given to one of the soldier's young relatives, Rachel Verinder. Yet only hours after the diamond arrives at the Verinder estate, it disappears. Was it stolen by a relative? A servant? And who are these three Indian men who keep hanging around the estate?
`The Moonstone' is told from the point of view of several characters. The first portion of the tale is told by Gabriel Betteredge, house steward of the Verinder estate, who has been working for the family practically his entire life. Although over 200 pages, Betteredge's account holds the reader's interest as he introduces the main players and the crime itself. The next account, by distant Verinder relative Miss Clack, is humorous and somewhat important, but far too long (nearly 100 pages) for its relevance to the story. But after Miss Clack's account, things really take off at breakneck speed.
Readers who latch onto the T.S. Eliot quote expecting a modern detective tale will be sorely disappointed. You aren't going to see anything resembling Jeffrey Deaver, James Patterson, Sue Grafton, or even Mary Higgins Clark. You also won't see Mickey Spillane, Dashiel Hammett, or Raymond Chandler. Nor will you see Agatha Christie, Dorothy Sayers, or Martha Grimes. You won't even see Arthur Conan Doyle. But you WILL see the novel that influenced them all.
You'll also see something else.
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92 of 98 people found the following review helpful By Robert Moore HALL OF FAMETOP 500 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on May 22, 2004
Format: Paperback
THE MOONSTONE was the first mystery story, and it in many ways remains one of the most remarkable. Working in the shadow of the Gothic and Romantic literary traditions, Wilkie Collins managed to create something new and unique. Instead of the endless evocation of atmosphere and focusing on sinister villains, Collins focuses instead on a simple mystery and its solution: who stole the diamond known as the Moonstone, and where did it go? But any reader of the novel knows that the mystery is secondary to the exposition and the marvelous parade of characters. It isn't the getting to the resolution of the mystery that is the main thing, but the process of getting there.
One of the great attractions of the novel is the extraordinary style of the writing. Although the first English mystery story, it had not yet devolved into a genre, and Collins was not aware that a mystery story could not also be great literature. As a result, he imbued his characters with enormous charm and give them each a vivid manner in expressing themselves. The multiple narratives by this remarkable characters was a strategy to deal with the problem of authorial point of view. On the one hand, Collins wanted to avoid the omniscient narrator who would know the truth both about each character and about the myster of the fate of the diamond. Collins therefore cast the novel in the form of a succession of narratives by the various participants in the novel. He thereby limits the knowledge of each narrator, but he also is able thereby to provide considerable variation in the style of each narrative.
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81 of 87 people found the following review helpful By robert robbins on June 27, 2009
Format: Kindle Edition
I have become a recent convert to Victorian literature. Educated as an electrical engineer, I did not appreciate literature until I reached my 70's. This book is to the modern detective novel as Maxwell's equations are to the wireless engineer of today. All the modern detective novels follow the basics exhibited in Moonstone, but usually fall far short because they leave out one or more of the "equations". A thoroughly gripping and inventive novel by a master.
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30 of 32 people found the following review helpful By StdPudel VINE VOICE on February 25, 2007
Format: Paperback
Almost everyone has heard of Sir Arthur Conan Doyle and Sherlock Holmes, whereas his predecessor Wilkie Collins has been relegated to footnote status. However writers in the "golden age" of detective mysteries, especially Dorothy Sayers, were very aware of Collins and his influence.

The Moonstone uses a clever device whereby the narrative is passed from hand to hand to tell the story of the massive yellow diamond called the Moonstone. Ill-gotten spoils from colonial India, the Moonstone vanished for a generation until it was bequeathed as an 18th-birthday gift to Rachel Verinder. The engaging characters who tell the story of the mysterious disappearance of the Moonstone on Miss Verinder's birthday, each with his or her unique background and perspective, kept me following the story until the end. Collins also depicts the setting in rural England of Rachel Verinder's home town very effectively and without romanticizing. Unexpectedly, the famous detective plays a minor and reluctant role. In the end, I found the actual method of commiting the crime to be a bit unbelievable, but because I enjoyed the storytelling so much this was a minor quibble.
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