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The Dead Writers' Society Presents: The Moonstone by Wilkie Collins

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Showing 1-25 of 151 posts in this discussion
Initial post: Sep 9, 2012 11:45:15 AM PDT
Last edited by the author on Sep 9, 2012 11:07:41 PM PDT
The discussion has begun!

In reply to an earlier post on Sep 9, 2012 12:01:33 PM PDT
Karen Walker says:
I have this book in my tbr pile. Pulling it up to read today! Hopefully I'll finish it and be back tomorrow.

Posted on Sep 9, 2012 12:17:33 PM PDT
Anna and Anastasia, I will let you in on a secret: nobody cares.

Posted on Sep 9, 2012 12:47:41 PM PDT
Last edited by the author on Sep 9, 2012 12:48:05 PM PDT
Shell says:
You might be aware of this, but if you download this version of the book, The Moonstone, you can also get the Audible version for free. If you've already downloaded this version, you'll find the offer on the product page.

Posted on Sep 9, 2012 12:54:45 PM PDT
Thanks Anna, can't wait.

In reply to an earlier post on Sep 9, 2012 12:55:41 PM PDT
[Deleted by Amazon on Sep 9, 2012 12:57:29 PM PDT]

In reply to an earlier post on Sep 9, 2012 1:09:31 PM PDT
Last edited by the author on Sep 9, 2012 1:11:56 PM PDT
Karen Walker says:
um... Anna cares and I care and Shell and G. You seem to be the nobody.

Posted on Sep 9, 2012 1:13:33 PM PDT
My deleted post contained an experimental word that was apparently frowned upon by the Zon bots, carry on. ;)

In reply to an earlier post on Sep 9, 2012 1:20:34 PM PDT
I suggest putting him on ignore and acting as though he is not here.

Posted on Sep 9, 2012 1:26:33 PM PDT
Just Peachy says:
I'm ready to discuss!

In reply to an earlier post on Sep 9, 2012 1:27:54 PM PDT
Only a few more hours! I will start the discussion before I go to bed.

In reply to an earlier post on Sep 9, 2012 1:31:03 PM PDT
Karen Walker says:
Pat! Glad to see you're going to be in the thread. Hope all is well.
I have to get busy reading... it was one of those books I always wanted to read but just never got around to opening.

In reply to an earlier post on Sep 9, 2012 1:35:37 PM PDT
Just Peachy says:
Hi, hope you are doing okay.

I didn't know if I would like the Moonstone because I'm not much on mystery books but it is a great whodunnit. I told Anna the other day that I was very close to the end on Friday at lunch. When I left work I put my Kindle on the car seat thinking I could sneak in a few sentences at red lights. Of course I got few red lights. I considered pulling into a parking lot and finishing the book LOL

Posted on Sep 9, 2012 4:01:19 PM PDT
I finished a while ago & have been waiting impatiently to discuss! See you tomorrow . . .

Posted on Sep 9, 2012 5:15:18 PM PDT
Last edited by the author on Sep 9, 2012 5:15:26 PM PDT
Jenna says:
Oh man I missed the boat, I have this in my TBR pile as well. I see you're doing the Woman in White next month, I read it aaaaaages ago but perhaps I can take part in that discussion.

Posted on Sep 9, 2012 11:07:02 PM PDT
And so we begin our discussion of The Moonstone, by Wilkie Collins.

I immediately fell in love with the first narrator, Gabriel Betteredge. I loved his sly digs at women/marriage. You could tell he was a product of his time (The Moonstone was written in 1868), when women were often considered less intelligent than men. He was humorous, but never cruel. And his deep devotion to his Lady Verinder and his love for his daughter were always apparent.

I was intrigued by Collins' use of the three narrators to tell the story. The Moonstone is considered to have inaugurated the genre: Detective Fiction. By the use of three characters from the story, the reader has as much information as the characters in the story do. Instead of the criminal being pulled out of a hat, as it were, we are able to play along and try to solve the case with the same clues that the police have.

The three narrators each had a unique point of view. My favorite was Betteredge, but the one who allowed Collins to showcase his wit was Drusilla Clack, the unlikeable Christian evangelist second narrator. Imagine how different her exploits would have been if an invisible narrator had been describing her leaving her little tracts around the house disguised as flowers and then receiving then back in a package sent to her? Her inability to understand others' reactions to what she did was half the fun.

And who were the real main characters? Were they Rachel Verinder and Franklin Blake; the narrators; or The Moonstone? Or did they shift as the story moved along, each taking center stage in their turn?

Posted on Sep 10, 2012 8:08:22 AM PDT
Just Peachy says:
I liked the way the story was told from various points of view. As Anna said the reader only knows as much as the narrators know. I liked Betteredge's devotion to the family and to ROBINSON CRUSOE. Some of his views of women were funny, such as that he felt it was cheaper to marry his wife than keep her own as a housekeeper.

Aunt Clack was a hoot! Anna you are so right that a third person description of her would not have been near as entertaining. I could just picture her face when people talked of things she did not approve of. I bet she looked like she was sucking lemons most of the time LOL

I changed my mind a few times about who took the stone. Of course, there was that moment of thinking Rachel took it and then just thinking she knew who took it. I didn't think Rosanna took it unless someone had put her up to it. For a long time I suspected the Lady Verinder. Yes, the mother. I thought she may have taken it or had Rosanna take it. I was surprised that Rosanna ever thought Franklin would pay any attention to her since she was a servant. At first I wasn't sure if she had really killed herself or had she just run away (or been sent away).

I found this on Wikipedia:
One of the features that made The Moonstone such a success was the sensationalist depiction of opium addiction. Unbeknownst to his readership, Collins was writing from personal experience. In his later years, Collins grew severely addicted to laudanum and as a result suffered from paranoid delusions, the most notable being his conviction that he was constantly accompanied by a doppelganger he dubbed "Ghost Wilkie".

In reply to an earlier post on Sep 10, 2012 8:34:25 AM PDT
I loved Betteredge's references to Robinson Crusoe - this actually caused me to put that book onto my to read list.

I agree about Miss Clack. I thought she was very vividly drawn, and was obviously a bit of a caricature of a specific type of Victorian woman. You see that character type in a lot of the Dickens novels as well - interfering, busybody, completely unself-aware. She really encapsulates that old Biblical passage about taking care of the plank in your own eye before worrying about the mote in the eye of your neighbor (or whatever it is). I thought that his made up charitable society was hilarious and perfect - so full of self-righteousness and ultimately so unimportant.

I didn't figure out the mystery, but I did figure out that the *real* bad guy was the bad guy. I honestly thought that the whole opium/laudanum aspect of the book was silly, and I didn't buy it a bit, but that's all right.

I wish that Collins would've spent a little bit more time on the blossoming romance between Franklin and Rachel.

Rosana was a rather tragic figure, wasn't she?

Posted on Sep 10, 2012 9:01:02 AM PDT
peachbird76 says:
I thoroughly enjoyed reading the Moonstone. Reading the story from different perspectives, really drew you into the story.
I loved Gabriel Betteridge. His views on life and love were very down to earth and quite humerous at times. His obvious love for Lady Verinder and his daughter shone through in his narration.
I didn't quite buy the laudanum, stealing the stone scenario but I did guess correctly as to who was the culprit in regard to disposing of the Moonstone.
I had no clue as to how the stone went missing or why.
I felt all the characters were entirely believable and true to how people acted in those times. Miss Clack being a prime example.
It was a truly entertaining 'who done it'.

Posted on Sep 10, 2012 10:22:52 AM PDT
Vanished says:
I found myself caring for Ezra Jennings. I really wanted a happy ending for him.

In reply to an earlier post on Sep 10, 2012 10:36:08 AM PDT
Just Peachy says:
I felt bad for Erza. I wanted to know about who he was and what had he suffered.

Posted on Sep 10, 2012 10:41:34 AM PDT
ketterperson says:
I've been wondering if Collins had ever travelled to India. From his biography it looks as though he did not, although he did spend time in Italy (which would have been the basis for his humorously providing Franklin with his three different outlooks!). At the writing of the book (in 1868), Britain would have been about halfway through its reign over India. So, it would seem that Collins was comparing the acquisition of the Moonstone to the acquisition of India by the British, and suggesting that India should be returned to the Indians. If so, would that opinion have been a popular one? Or would public opinion have maintained that Britain was entitled to govern India? I wish I knew if Collins took any flak for that opinion.

I also found it VERY interesting that-at the end of the book-Godfrey Ablewhite was found to be keeping a mistress (to prove what an evil man he was). In reality, Collins lived with one woman (to whom he was not married) from 1858 until his death, and "kept" ANOTHER woman (with whom he had three children)!

In reply to an earlier post on Sep 10, 2012 10:53:00 AM PDT
I'm not sure it was so much to establish that Ablewhite was "evil" as it was to establish that he was a hypocrite. The Victorians raised hypocrisy to an art form - that hypocrisy is a constant theme in the works of Dickens and his pals.

Your question about the pespective of the populace on Britain's colonies is a good one. Perhaps one of our British posters can weigh in and tell us how that colonial history is treated in the current day British education system. What is the general theme when you learn about it in school? Pride or shame? I'm really curious. My perspective as an American, having been obtained in large part through being educated as an American, is obviously going to be totally different.

In reply to an earlier post on Sep 10, 2012 11:48:01 AM PDT
Thanks for posting the info about Wilkie's opium addiction, Pat.

I had read that he was addicted to opium, but not about the doppelganger "Ghost Wilkie." That alternately funny and tragic. But his addiction certainly gave him the experience to write about Ezra and he painted a very sympathetic character.

In reply to an earlier post on Sep 10, 2012 11:50:21 AM PDT
I definitely agree about the ending. It wasn't worthy of the rest of the book. But thinking in that time period it probably was a big hit with readers.

I was really sad about Rosanna. It's hard to figure that a servant of the time would really imagine Franklin would show a love interest in her. But I guess women are women no matter when they live and we can certainly spin a romantic daydream out of whole cloth, can't we?
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Discussion in:  Kindle Book forum
Participants:  20
Total posts:  151
Initial post:  Sep 9, 2012
Latest post:  Jul 12, 2013

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