Manual The Moonstone (Modern Library Classics)

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What the heck does he know about writing? I don't know what book the vaunte Though Wilkie Collins was long-time friends with Charles Dickens, they had drastically different writing styles, and suffered some rough patches in their relationship. I don't know what book the vaunted Mr. Charles Dickens read, but the book I read was absolutely wonderful. It was hilarious, entertaining, smart, and everything else that makes a good novel. Beyond that, it was especially surprising!

Being one of the first detective novels, I expected it to be rather dry. Maybe a little dull, or outdated feeling. Perhaps even a bit shallow and boring. I'm pleased to say, that it was none of these things. For a book written in the mid's this novel has a remarkably modern feel. Though the main plot is a detective-style mystery, there is a wonderful underlying social commentary aspect, all revealed through the lenses of the unique cast of characters.

The story is brilliantly told by using various written narratives of different people, all which not only tease us with knowledge of the mystery at just the right pace, but also provide wildly entertaining character studies of the people writing them. From my favorite character the chauvinistic old butler, who wants nothing more than to serve his household faithfully while leaning upon the crutch of Robinson Crusoe and his tobacco pipe, to the absolutely, but painfully , hilarious distant cousin who is on a mission to convert everyone to her particular brand of christian values.

Each character's narrative is written in their unique voice, and it makes you love them all even when you're hating them. I think Collins himself puts it perfectly, when he said that, unlike examining the influence of circumstances upon character as many other novels , this book examines the influence of character upon circumstance.

This isn't some novel where you place an average person in an extraordinary situation, and watch what becomes of them. This is a novel where the extraordinary characters are the movers and shakers of the plot. Yet, even as wonderfully unique as these characters are, they are all at the same time, so wonderfully human. With the narrative style Collins chose, we are allowed insight into the characters' thought processes, and feelings; we are able to see more than what actually happens. In many other novels, this approach might generate superfluous noise, but in The Moonstone it keeps the book churning at a page-burning pace, and allows us to appreciate the smaller aspects of the novel, even when the larger parts might normally be prepared to overshadow them.

This book almost feels like one of those "guilty pleasure books" people always try to judge others for reading, but you can hold your head high on this one. It's fun, fast-paced, and riveting, but nobody can accuse it of being shallow. Let's explore what I mean with a couple of my favorite gentlefolk, shall we?: People in low life have no such privilege.

Necessity, which spares our betters, has no pity on us. We learn to put our feelings back into ourselves, and to jog on with our duties as patiently as may be. I don't complain of this--I only notice it. Franklin, in our conduct to our mothers, when they first start us on the journey of life. We are all of us more or less unwilling to be brought into this world. And we are all of us right. He received it with an oath; upon which I instantly gave him a tract. If I had presented a pistol at his head, this abandoned wretch could hardly have exhibited greater consternation.

He jumped up on his box, and, with profane exclamations of dismay, drove off furiously. Quite useless, I am happy to say! I sowed the good seed, in spite of him, by throwing a second tract in at the window of the cab. I was so lighthearted that I sang a verse of the Evening Hymm. I was so lighthearted that I fell asleep before I could sing another. Quite like a child again! So I passed the blissful night. On rising the next morning, how young I felt!

I might add, how young I looked, if I were capable of dwelling on the concerns of my own perishable body. But I am not capable--and I add nothing. Basically, read this book. If you like detective novels, or if you like Victorian novels, or if you like novels in general, read this. The true mark of a great mystery novel is that even if you know or "solved" the mystery, the book still manages to keep your attention and make you want to see the conclusion unfold for yourself. I can't imagine re-reading most mystery novels I can think of, but I can't imagine not re-reading The Moonstone again in the future.

It's simply too much fun. View all 11 comments. 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 discovered a new favourite author. And the final essay by Eliot delighted my literature student crave for a little literary history.

More detailed comment to follow View all 4 comments.

For the Love of Classics

Eliot called "the first, the longest, and the best of modern English detective novels. Large chunks of the novel seem to drag on and on with I was torn between giving two stars and three stars to Wilkie Collins's "The Moonstone," a book T. Large chunks of the novel seem to drag on and on with few advancements being made to the plot in the process. The latter parts of the section narrated by Gabriel Betteredge, chief servant to the Verinder household, and almost all of Drusilla Clack's section really could have used some judicious editing.

I suspect, though, that long after I forget what a slog much of "The Moonstone" was to get through, I'll remember its many charms. Betteredge is a particularly fun narrator, given his obsession with Daniel Defoe's "Robinson Crusoe" -- a book he treats as a cross between the Holy Bible and Nostradamus's "Prophecies" -- and his jaundiced eye toward male-female relations.

Collins also must have had a ball making Drusilla Clack one of the most judgmental, grating Christian evangelists in English literature. Particularly priceless are the passages in which she wanders around the Verinder household and strategically places religious tracts in spots where family members, she hopes, would just happen upon them, instantly putting her relatives on the path to salvation.

Betteredge and Clack are so compelling that almost every other character in "The Moonstone," with the possible exception of opium addict Ezra Jennings, pales in comparison. Rachel Verinder -- despite being at the book's center as the recipient of the Indian diamond known as the Moonstone, the theft of which the plot revolves around -- isn't as fully drawn as the other characters, perhaps because she never takes over narration of the story.

This, in a way, actually demonstrates one of Collins's chief skills as a writer: And that, ultimately, is what makes "The Moonstone" an interesting book. Despite being such an early and influential mystery novel -- it predated Arthur Conan Doyle's introduction of Sherlock Holmes by almost two decades -- it's really more about the characters themselves, their view of the world, and the decisions they make than it is about solving the mystery of the diamond's disappearance.

It's a shame that more of today's mystery novelists haven't learned that lesson from "The Moonstone. I cannot overstate just how much this book tests the reader's patience, and for scores of pages at a time. View all 12 comments. Nov 27, knig rated it it was amazing Recommended to knig by: Literary is closing on an auspicious high, no doubt about it. These are the facts. 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 Literary is closing on an auspicious high, no doubt about it. Now there will be those who say this is a poor sort of protracted mystery indeed with oodles of trivia and asides not pertinent to the matter at hand. To them, I would say something. Then I will instantly exert my wits but being of a slovenly English sort, they are consequently muddled until someone takes them in hand points out what they ought to do.

In this case, things stand just like the relationship with Betteredge and his deceased wife, who seemed, with the best of motives, to be getting in one anothers way: And so it is here: No need to have read Robinson Crusoe to get the gist. The Moonstone, Wilkie Collins The Moonstone by Wilkie Collins is a 19th-century British epistolary novel, generally considered the first full length detective novel in the English language.

The Moonstone by Wilkie Collins Paperback Book

The Moonstone tells of the events surrounding the disappearance of a mysterious and cursed yellow diamond. 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 It contains a number of ideas which became common tropes of the genre, including a crime being investigated by talented amateurs who happen to be present when it is committed, and two police officers who exemplify respectively the 'Scotland Yard bungler' and the skilled, professional detective.

Mar 17, Jason Koivu rated it liked it Shelves: 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. 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 I guess a review of this requires me to say that Wilkie Collins' The Moonstone is one of the first mystery novels ever written. It also used the popular-in-its-time epistolary form of storytelling, with about a half dozen characters taking up their pens to relate their portion of this story.

What is the story? Well, it starts off like an adventure with a mysterious diamond discovered in a faraway land. The diamond is passed down as inheritance and then it is stolen. Lovers are torn asunder and the mystery of the missing diamond must be solved if love is to prevail. In fact, love plays a large roll in this, so large actually that I'm inclined to call it a romance as much as a mystery. If memory serves, it is even referred to as such as a subtitle, as in The Moonstone, a romance.

Regardless, if you've come solely for the mystery you'll be disappointed in much of this. As I say, it started out great. The first quarter or so of the story is related by the butler and much of his portion of the tale involves the facts of the case. He's also a colorful character, who it seems Collins enjoyed writing about. After him, we move on to less charming characters such a fanatic Christian, a lawyer, a physician, detective and one of the principle suspects involved in the disappearance of the diamond. The faults, for me, in this novel are its overlong explanations, its unnecessary sidebar storylines, occasional repetition, and the time spent dwelling on the mundane.

Many scenes could have been easily reduced, some could have been dispensed with all together, and the book would've been all the better for it.


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All in all, it's not horrible. I'd put it in league with Dickens' middling work. Not worth rushing forth to read, but I wouldn't dismiss it altogether. Esta novela es para muchos, uno de las tres mejores novelas policiales de todos los tiempos y todos esos componentes que yo enumero en mis preguntas iniciales lo confirman. Dupin fue el pionero, dado que ese cuento fue publicado en Es destacable la manera en que Collins delinea a sus personajes.

Tanto lectores como escritores expertos en la materia sostienen que esta es una de las tres mejores novelas policiales de la literatura. Ha sido un placer llegar al final para descubrir el robo de la asombrosa piedra lunar. View all 10 comments. The other day, however, I bragged to a friend that I was reading The Moonstone, but instead of congratulations all I got was: The essence of the story is simple enough. A British officer steals a sacred diamond from an Indian idol. Years later, in accordance with his will, it is presented to a young lady, Rachel Verinder, on her eighteenth birthday.

And the same night, it mysteriously disappears. One of the house guests at the birthday party, or the three Brahmans who mysteriously appear, disguised as traveling jugglers? Fortunately, the Indians mainly lurk as a background threat, keeping the main focus on the English characters, both above and below stairs. And when the theft is followed by a suicide, more robberies, and a murder, the mysteries deepen and proliferate. The novel is remarkable for its structure, being told in separate but linked narratives involving eleven different voices.

Some of these are only a page or two; the longest, which covers everything from the preparations for the birthday through the failure of the first investigation, is pages. The delight of this method is that it introduces us to a series of unreliable narrators who reveal as much about themselves as the story they are telling.

The Mod Lib Moonstone

For example, the narrator of that longest part, the old steward in the Verinder household, Gabriel Betteredge. He has already made one false start; here he is reluctantly acknowledging another: I am asked to tell the story of the Diamond, and, instead of that, I have been telling the story of my own self. Curious, and quite beyond me to account for. I wonder whether the gentlemen who make a business and living out of writing books, ever find their own selves getting in the way of their subjects, like me? If they do, I can feel for them.

In the meantime, here is another false start, and more waste of good writing-paper. What's to be done now? Nothing that I know of, except for you to keep your temper, and for me to begin it all over again for the third time. But amusing though he is, the amiable fuddy-duddy outstays his welcome. We are glad when the great detective from Scotland Yard, Sergeant Cuff why only a sergeant? The second part of the novel, which picks up the mystery after the interval of a year, is more interesting. This is partly because it moves faster, and partly because it involves many more narrators.

The first of these, an impoverished spinster relation of the Verinders called Drusilla Clack, is a small comic masterpiece. Collins mercilessly parodies her evangelism, which makes her delusional about her own motivations and tone-deaf to the needs of others. As in this scene when her aunt, seeking comfort, has just told her that she is seriously ill: Here was a career of usefulness opened before me!

Not much, probably, yet it is hard not to do so. By those standards, Collins is guilty more than once of coloring outside the lines. He introduces a significant new character three-quarters of the way through. An important plot point is resolved through an implausible experiment involving psychology and drugs.

Too many new facts are revealed only the last few dozen pages, without the benefit of real detection. And once more there will be recourse to those hovering Brahmans, although there is quite a poetic symmetry to the way Collins handles them. His skill at sketching the foibles of his narrators does not extend to his protagonists.

Rachel Verinder, for example, has two suitors both her cousins , Franklin Blake and Godfrey Ablewhite. We are clearly expected to rejoice or despair at the progress or setbacks of both these romances. And, though for different reasons, neither Franklin nor Godfrey comes across as admirable, or even particularly interesting. Think how quickly Dickens can get you to fall for his heroines and feel for his heroes.

If The Moonstone indeed outsold Great Expectations, it can only have been for its unusual plot. In his ability to fill a novel with interesting and lovable people, Dickens had Collins beat. View all 9 comments. 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.

Or automatically place suspicion on every non-white character. Or have characters who s The first detective story written in the English language, and it holds up. Or have characters who scream when they see someone with a "swarthy" appearance. You know, as those silly women tend to do. So, in addition to being the first detective story, it also shows how far we have come and maybe how far we still need to go.

View all 5 comments. Nov 16, Apatt rated it really liked it Shelves: 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.

Wilkie Collins Fiction & Literature Books in English | eBay

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 th Rereads generally work very well for me, as I have memory like a sieve.


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  4. The Moonstone is about the theft of an Indian diamond from a country house on the night of a birthday party for eighteen-year-old Rachel Verinder. The theft and its continued disappearance have serious repercussions for the two main characters of the novel throughout the book which spans about a year. It also, directly and indirectly, causes the death of several characters. The novel is structured in the epistolary format where multiple characters narrate sections of the story through their written accounts of their involvement in the case.

    The different narrative tones are very skillfully written, with the distinctive personality of each narrator coming through clearly. Some of the narrators are rather eccentric and unreliable and this adds a lot of flavors and humour to the narrative. I particularly like the grumpy butler Gabriel Betteredge who uses the book Robinson Crusoe as if it is The I Ching , the fanatical evangelist, and — best of all — the almost Sherlockian Sergeant Cuff who would have solved the crime single-handedly if not for the stupid meddling kids basically the two main characters Franklin Blake and Rachel Verinder.

    There are quite a few other colorful characters I could mention but, if you are interested to read this book, the less you know about it the better. There are a couple of issues with this book for me, the solution to the mystery stretches believability, but I suppose that is what makes it so memorable. The other issue is the depiction of Indian characters as inscrutable, sinister people, too foreign to be understood, not to mention evil.

    Neither flaws are too injurious to the overall quality of the book, it is a product of its time after all, and even ahead of its time in some ways. If you have never read Victorian literature before The Moonstone may be the ideal starting point, it is very readable even for modern readers who are not familiar with Victorian prose style. The Trial Franz Kafka. Marina Carlos Ruiz Zafon. The Lord of the Rings J. A Monster Calls Siobhan Dowd.

    The Bell Jar Sylvia Plath. The Horror in the Museum H. Fahrenheit Ray Bradbury. Tales from Shakespeare Charles Lamb. Other books in this series. Mod Lib Meditations Marcus Aurelius. Crossing to Safety Wallace Stegner. Mod Lib Plutarch's Lives Plutarch. Paradise Lost John Milton. My Silent War Kim Philby. The Belly of Paris Emile Zola. Flap copy "The Moonstone is a page-turner," writes Carolyn Heilbrun. Review quote "The first and greatest of English detective novels. About Wilkie Collins Carolyn G. She lives in New York City. Book ratings by Goodreads. Goodreads is the world's largest site for readers with over 50 million reviews.

    Final Verdict A tragic, haunting tale about mistaken identities, unbelievable selfishness and cruelty, bust also true love and persevering friendship. Kindle Edition Verified Purchase. I never expected to love this book as much as I did and I'm so happy I tried it. It's a long one, so be prepared for that. Be prepared, also, for twists and turns and that slam you feel when you thought you knew what was going on and had it all figured out and you got the rug pulled out from under you!

    This was written in that grand style English that you just don't find in modern literature. I adore reading it, and if you love the classics, and a good mystery, then this is for you. These people came from a different time, and what was considered a huge scandal years and years ago wouldn't raise an eyebrow today, so keep that in mind as you read. This is truly a different world. But, human nature is fairly consistent, and you will recognize in these characters, people you have read in more modern tomes, or even people you know yourself.

    They are well developed, complex characters that I enjoyed immensely. I love the dramatic swooning This Kindle edition was free I'm sure you will be as engrossed as I was.

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    I'd never heard of Wilkie Collins before I got my Kindle. In searching out free classics, I of course found a number of references to this classic mystery. I inferred from the title that the woman in white was a ghost who knows why! Instead, I was surprised to find myself in the grip of a diabolical and tragic tale told by several different and distinct voices.

    While a tad overlong - why use one word when you can use six? I had no desire to 'cheat' on Walter, Laura, Marion, Anne, the Baronet and Fosco with another book, and in fact could barely put down my Kindle until I could no longer keep my eyes open in the wee hours of the night. Collins was a genius at keeping the reader guessing, which I did throughout.

    Just when I thought I had it all figured out, Collins read my thoughts and threw me a curveball. And though the language is very old-fashioned and formal - think 19th century England - I had few troubles figuring out the odd unfamiliar phrase. Of course, it was tough not to chuckle at the quaint and genteel 'evils' that seem so commonplace today, but it didn't take away from my enjoyment of the book.

    Wilkie Collins Fiction & Literature Books in English

    If anything, it added to it. After reading - and thoroughly enjoying - The Woman in White, I can clearly understand why this classic has endured. A note on Kindle formatting: Not only were there few if any typos, the formatting was quite readable. The one addition I would have liked is a linked table of contents. If you find a 99 cent version that boasts such a TOC, I'd recommend buying it instead of downloading it for free as I would have like to have looked back at different characters' accounts after reading them.

    If this review gave you information that was helpful, please feel free to click the YES button below! See all 1, reviews. See all customer images. Most recent customer reviews. Published 3 days ago. Published 19 days ago. Published 21 days ago. Published 22 days ago. Published 25 days ago.