The Moonstone: A Romance

The Moonstone: A Romance

by Wilkie Collins


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A fabulous yellow diamond--an ancient talisman which had been looted from the holy Hindu city of Somnauth--becomes the dangerous inheritance of Rachel Verinder. And when the Moonstone disappears, what seems like a simple case turns into a masterpiece of detection and suspense.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9789353369088
Publisher: Astral International Pvt. Ltd.
Publication date: 06/10/2019
Pages: 410
Product dimensions: 6.14(w) x 9.21(h) x 0.91(d)

About the Author

William Wilkie Collins (8 January 1824 - 23 September 1889) was an English novelist, playwright, and short story writer. His best-known works are The Woman in White (1859), No Name (1862), Armadale (1866) and The Moonstone (1868). The last is considered the first modern English detective novel. Born into the family of painter William Collins in London, he lived with his family in Italy and France as a child and learned French and Italian. He worked as a clerk for a tea merchant. After his first novel, Antonina, was published in 1850, he met Charles Dickens, who became a close friend, mentor and collaborator.

Date of Birth:

December 8, 1824

Date of Death:

September 23, 1889

Place of Birth:

London, England

Place of Death:

London, England


Studied law at Lincoln¿s Inn, London

Read an Excerpt

The Moonstone

By Wilkie Collins

ISIS Large Print Books

Copyright © 1992 Wilkie Collins
All right reserved.

ISBN: 1850895430

Chapter One

First Period -- the loss of the diamond (1848) The Events related by Gabriel Betteredge, House-Steward in the service of Julia, Lady Verinder

In the first part of Robinson Crusoe, at page one hundred and twenty-nine, you will find it thus written:

"Now I saw, though too late, the Folly of beginning a Work before we count the Cost, and before we judge rightly of our own Strength to go through with it."

Only yesterday, I opened my Robinson Crusoe at that place. Only this morning (May twenty-first, Eighteen hundred and fifty), came my lady's nephew, Mr. Franklin Blake, and held a short conversation with me, as follows:--

"Betteredge," says Mr. Franklin, "I have been to the lawyer's about some family matters; and, among other things, we have been talking of the loss of the Indian Diamond, in my aunt's house in Yorkshire, two years since. Mr. Bruff thinks, as I think, that the whole story ought, in the interests of truth, to be placed on record in writing--and the sooner the better."

Not perceiving his drift yet, and thinking it always desirable for the sake of peace and quietness to be on the lawyer's side, I said I thought so too. Mr. Franklin went on.

"In this matter of the Diamond," he said, "the characters of innocent people have suffered under suspicion already--as you know. The memories of innocent people may suffer, hereafter, for want of a record of the facts to which those who come after us can appeal. There can be no doubt that this strange family story of ours ought to be told. And I think, Betteredge, Mr. Bruff and I together have hit on the right way of telling it."

Very satisfactory to both of them, no doubt. But I failed to see what I myself had to do with it, so far.

"We have certain events to relate," Mr. Franklin proceeded; "and we have certain persons concerned in those events who are capable of relating them. Starting from these plain facts, the idea is that we should all write the story of the Moonstone in turn--as far as our own personal experience extends, and no farther. We must begin by showing how the Diamond first fell into the hands of my uncle Herncastle, when he was serving in India fifty years since. This prefatory narrative I have already got by me in the form of an old family paper, which relates the necessary particulars on the authority of an eye-witness. The next thing to do is to tell how the Diamond found its way into my aunt's house in Yorkshire, two years ago, and how it came to be lost in little more than twelve hours afterwards. Nobody knows as much as you do, Betteredge, about what went on in the house at that time. So you must take the pen in hand, and start the story."

In those terms I was informed of what my personal concern was with the matter of the Diamond. If you are curious to know what course I took under the circumstances, I beg to inform you that I did what you would probably have done in my place. I modestly declared myself to be quite unequal to the task imposed upon me--and I privately felt, all the time, that I was quite clever enough to perform it, if I only gave my own abilities a fair chance. Mr. Franklin, I imagine, must have seen my private sentiments in my face. He declined to believe in my modesty; and he insisted on giving my abilities a fair chance.

Two hours have passed since Mr. Franklin left me. As soon as his back was turned, I went to my writing-desk to start the story. There I have sat helpless (in spite of my abilities) ever since; seeing what Robinson Crusoe saw, as quoted above--namely, the folly of beginning a work before we count the cost, and before we judge rightly of our own strength to go through with it. Please to remember, I opened the book by accident, at that bit, only the day before I rashly undertook the business now in hand; and, allow me to ask--if that isn't prophecy, what is?

I am not superstitious; I have read a heap of books in my time; I am a scholar in my own way. Though turned seventy, I possess an active memory, and legs to correspond. You are not to take it, if you please, as the saying of an ignorant man, when I express my opinion that such a book as Robinson Crusoe never was written, and never will be written again. I have tried that book for years--generally in combination with a pipe of tobacco--and I have found it my friend in need in all the necessities of this mortal life. When my spirits are bad--Robinson Crusoe. When I want advice--Robinson Crusoe. In past times, when my wife plagued me; in present times, when I have had a drop too much--Robinson Crusoe. I have worn out six stout Robinson Crusoes with hard work in my service. On my lady's last birthday she gave me a seventh. I took a drop too much on the strength of it; and Robinson Crusoe put me right again. Price four shillings and sixpence, bound in blue, with a picture into the bargain.

Still, this don't look much like starting the story of the Diamond--does it? I seem to be wandering off in search of Lord knows what, Lord knows where. We will take a new sheet of paper, if you please, and begin over again, with my best respects to you.


Excerpted from The Moonstone by Wilkie Collins Copyright © 1992 by Wilkie Collins. Excerpted by permission.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
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The Moonstone 3.8 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 86 reviews.
Guest More than 1 year ago
I started reading this story about a month and a half ago. For the first 40 pages, I wasn't sure if I could stay interested in the first narrator's tale. But as the story went on, I realized that everything he was saying was key to the mystery. I could hardly put it down even when my eyelids started to droop uncontrollably at night. I was relieved to get sick over the weekend and decided to devour the last half of the book on a Sunday afternoon. It was soooo good, that I even forsook my favorite TV program to finish it. I was BLOWN away by all the events. They got better and better and built up to an amazing finale. The only narrator who annoyed the socks off of me was Miss Clack. But then again, everything she told was key to the story. I was amazed at how each narrator had a voice of their own even though it was all written by ONE person. And when certain evidence was revealed, I gasped from shock as though I was seeing the whole thing with my own eyes. By far, the most incredible, captivating mystery I've ever read. I don't care what anyone else says. The change in narrators keeps you from getting bored with the writing style and I will recommend it to ANYONE and EVERYONE who truly appreciates British literature. Thanks to this book, I'm now going to pursue the rest of his works.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I love this book! This is a really great story told from several different viewpoints which makes it more interesting. Fans of Victorian literature will not be disappointed!
e_flaig More than 1 year ago
The Moonstone is dated. That's not surprising; it was written over a hundred years ago. But this is the father of all mystery novels, so there's no better place to start than here. A classic, and one every mystery fan should read.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
More typos than you can imagine. Some clearly automated this job and never proofread the results. Fantastic book, though. Worth finding a readable edition.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Sorry! Can not read thie gray version of this free book. The typos, etc and lack of punctuation suck the enjoyment of reading from this. Maybe, there is an edited version of this classic out there somewhere.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I was looking for a great summer read to "take me away" and make me think of something other than my complicated life this summer. After having enjoyed this kind of distraction while reading "The Woman in White" I went in search of another Collins book. This was the second of his books that I have read, and I have to say it was just what I needed! I love Collins' writing style. This book, as was The Woman in White, was narrated from several different perspectives, each written by different characters. I marvel at the author's ability to write each narrative with such different personalities...I began to believe that each was written by a different person! And each is written in so likeable a style that I dreaded the end, thinking, "surely, I wont like the next character's narrative as well as this one." Yet within a page or two I was once again drawn in and connecting to the new voice. This is a 415 page book, and on at least 4 occasions the conclusion seemed so near I couldn't fathom what the author was going to do with the rest of the pages. This was the result of each narrator telling the story from his or her perspective nearly to its conclusion, then handing the pen off to the next narrator, to start at his or her own beginning and do the same. The resulting story had me on the edge of my seat, confident I had figured out "who done it" and speed reading to see if I was right! I spent numerous nights reading past my bedtime, and allowed myself to read away more daytime hours than is respectable, all in the hopes of proving myself a cunning detective, able to outsmart the author! (An honest report would indicate that was right, sort of, and wrong, sort of, more than a few times over the course of reading this book!) And I am glad, now that I have finished it, that I had the foresight to grab a couple of his other works, which are now at the ready to fill the time void left by finishing this one! As to the quality if the ebook itself, I think nearly every page had at least one OCR error on it, but the errors were rather consistant, and it didn't take me long to figure out the correct text. Most of the time I just read right through them without hesitation. And since I didn't pay for this copy, I suppose I should't be too upset by a few errors. Dont hesitate to grab up this ebook and get to reading!
amydross on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
I'm not much of a one for mysteries, generally, but everything about this book is so irrepressibly charming and smart that I never wanted to put it down. Collins masterfully disrupts our expectations of what a Victorian novel should be and do.
Judith_Starkston on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
I recently decided to reread The Moonstone, a classic of Victorian fiction by Wilkie Collins. One of my online reading groups chose to read it because it is available free as an ebook these days, so it seemed to them like a good ¿recession buster.¿ That got me to thinking maybe I¿d join them with this particular book (though, much as I love my Kindle, I read my aged, yellowed paperback priced originally $1.45). I could only dimly remember the plot since I last read it as a teenager. T.S. Eliot called it ¿the first, the longest, and the best of modern English detective novels.¿ That seemed like a good recommendation, and I am in the midst of laying out the plot to my own mystery, so studying a master would be good inspiration, and he certainly was.What fun to reread this book! I¿m afraid I neglected my own writing for a day or two. I certainly learned some good tricks. For example, Collins invents multiple ways for critical information to be kept from the necessary characters for unconscionably long tracks of time. No quick resolutions here. Sometimes you need to hold off letting the cat out of the bag, and I got plenty of ideas in that regard. He plants clues masterfully, sometimes letting them hide in plain sight, sometimes carefully drawing attention to them but cloaking their true significance behind layers of false assumptions. But the greatest enjoyment for me about this venerable book lay in the personality of the narrators. Collins uses the conceit that one of the main characters has requested reports from each of the key witnesses to the various stages of the remarkable episode of the Moonstone, an exotic diamond originally stolen from India. In this way, Collins creates interest in his long book by changing who tells us the action, but it¿s more than variety that intrigues. Each narrator is built into a richly developed character. Their ways of understanding the people and events contribute to the engaging quality of the novel. After a brief Prologue ¿extracted from a family paper¿ that gives the Indian background, we hear from Gabriel Betteredge, the aged and delightful house-steward of the grand country home where the main strand of the mystery begins. He¿s impossible not to like, even while we chuckle at his set notions. Did you know Robinson Crusoe is an eternal fount of wisdom for all of life¿s difficulties, a true prophetic document? We¿ll hear from the spinster aunt Miss Clack, Mr. Bruff, a clever and worldly solicitor, Franklin Blake, the romantic hero of the book, Ezra Jennings, an outcast physician with Gypsy bloodlines, and Sergeant Cuff, an early example of the brilliant and eccentric detective (but there¿s a twist with his brilliant conclusions). Collins has fun with his story-tellers. Their blindnesses, prejudices, and humanity are all on display. We are invited to assume a superior stance to their limitations, but that, of course, is only part of the ploy. Dear reader, you will discover your own limitations as you read! But you¿ll also laugh at the foibles and idiosyncrasies of each narrator in turn. This is a winding, complex tale with a heart and a conscious. Collins is remarkably forward thinking for a Victorian. The do-gooder Miss Clack, who is always out to save another Christian soul, is portrayed as remarkably small-minded. Her version of religion, a parody of what we sometimes imagine of the Victorian era, does not shine as a beacon of love and charity. Nor do those characters who immediately suspect evil of all dark skinned ¿Orientals.¿ Nonetheless, Collins¿s portrayal of India is decidedly un-PC, as much as his view is enlightened for his day. You¿ll have to accept the historical moment from which he wrote. I found it interesting in light of our current East-West dichotomy that so often underlies the way we approach issues without our being fully conscious of it. The Victorians were, after all, only carrying on a tradition of bigotry against the East started by the Athenians in the 5th Century
vrchristensen on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Wilkie Collins is great fun to read. His philosophies are somewhat liberal for his time, particularly those in regard to servants, foreigners and women. His stories are sprinkled with just a dash of wit and satire, yet his characters and their motives are crystal clear and believable. In this, arguably one of the first mystery novels, (Poe began it all, after all, did he not?) the plot revolves around a stone, a great gem that has been stolen from an Indian idol. A birthday present to our heroine, it is stolen the same night it is given, and through a series of changing narratives the mystery is uncovered. It's a clever twist of plotting to make the hero the villain and then the hero again, but how it comes about I will not say. No one likes to have a mystery spoiled. The Moonstone is a thoroughly enjoyable read. I highly recommend it.
sblock on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
A terrific read, not just for the mystery but for its deft treatment of class in Victorian England. Characters remark on the primitive caste system in India while seemingly oblivous to their own rigid social order. The character of the pious Druscilla Clack is as entertaining as anything Dickens ever dreamed up. The names of her beloved religious tracts made me laugh out loud, especially "A Word With You on Your Cap Ribbons."
lunchbox on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
On her eighteenth birthday, Miss Rachel Verinder is surprised by a gift left to her by her late uncle Herncastle, a man mostly cut off from his relatives. The gift is an unusually large yellow diamond known as the Moonstone which she wears pinned to her dress throughout her birthday party. By the next morning, the Moonstone is gone. In a series of accounts written from different perspectives, those who were present on the night in question or those who had dealings with certain individuals of interest in the months after the theft, both the reader and all those involved are able to unravel the mystery.I loved this book. LOVED IT! Set in Victorian England and hailed as the first English language detective novel, there is a lot of good stuff here: tension between the servants and those they serve, major red herrings in the mystery, the exotic excitement of Indian curses, sanctimonious religious zealots, and a lot of humor. I'm becoming a big fan of Wilkie Collins.Because the novel is written in this specific epistolary style, each narrator has a very distinct voice and take on events and other characters. I found it really enjoyable to see how certain narrators portrayed themselves versus how other narrators saw them. For example, when Betteredge narrated he seemed so composed and respectable as the head steward of the Verinder servants, but when Mr. Blake or Mr. Jennings narrated, he was a little more quirky. The reader got to see Betteredge's feelings about the power of Robinson Crusoe, and then also see Mr. Blake and Mr. Jennings humoring this obsession. And by obsession, I mean he would read it the way some people read the bible. He would open it randomly and use the passage he first came to as advice or an omen.Another character who I found greatly changed between narrators was Mr. Bruff, the lawyer. Seen as so stuffy and judgmental as Miss Clack was writing her account, I was surprised to then find him so intelligent and thoughtful and kind throughout his narration and Mr. Blake's subsequent narration. Of course, by the end of her narration I was ready to take everything Miss Clack said with a grain of salt. She was just so ridiculously sanctimonious! I wanted to scream every time she tried to give someone else a religious tract (with titles such as Satan Under the Tea Table). I think she was the only character I couldn't wait to get rid of. Maybe Godfrey, too, but at least he was never a narrator.I like a mystery where things get a bit convoluted before the big reveal. There's a big drug experiment close to the end of the novel where they tried to reenact the birthday party, and I kept having to refer to the first half of the novel to remember the little details that tuned out to be major clues. I like when every detail turns out to be important.Unfortunately, there is one problem with this novel. Much like The Woman in White, another of Collins' most famous works, The Moonstone hasn't quite aged well. In the 142 years since its publication, we've come understand a little more about drugs and their effects. And while I have no personal knowledge of opium, having never chased the dragon myself, I'm pretty sure you can't manipulate circumstances into giving a person the exact same trip twice. So if you're not someone willing or able to suspend some disbelief, you might have a problem towards the end of the novel. It didn't bother me too much, but it could totally ruin the whole book for other readers.Other than that one issue, I was enthralled the whole way through. It wasn't creepy or suspenseful the same way The Woman in White was, but it kept me thinking and guessing the whole way through.
RGazala on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Wilkie Collins' "The Moonstone," an epistolary mystery story published in 1868, often is cited as one of the first, if not the first, detective novels ever written. No less a literary luminary than T.S. Eliot attributed to Collins the "invention" of the detective novel genre. "The Moonstone" is certainly an excellent mystery story, featuring what would become staples of classic Western detective fiction -- an amateur detective, a renown professional investigator, incompetent policemen, multiple false leads and red herrings, and an "inside job." It's also subtly laced with social commentary about class, race, sexuality, religious evangelism and substance abuse in Victorian England during a period when the British Empire ruled about a quarter of the world's population. For anyone interested in the genesis and evolution of the modern socially conscious detective novel, "The Moonstone" is impossible to ignore.
SandiLee on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
An enjoyable read, although the solution to the mystery is only barely believable. The ending is strangely satisfying if a bit unexpected in that it seems anti-imperialistic in the time of the British empire.
Enamoredsoul on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
The Moonstone by Wilkie Collins was quite possibly one of my first exposures to the world of mystery novels. I can't remember if I read Sherlock Holmes series first of this, but, I distinctly remember being absolutely blown away by The Moonstone upon my first read. And let me tell you - I've read it several times since, and it never fails to amaze me, still! The beauty of the Moonstone lies not only in its ingenious plot, but in its characterization. The author has mapped out the characters so well in this book that you feel akin to them, you feel as if you've known them all your life. Their temperaments, their actions make sense and they are not just used simply to move the plot forward, but to create the illusion that the reader is literally part of the character's world. There are a lot of characters, and it may seem that some characters are in the novel merely to add to its shroud of mystery, however, as the story unfolds you will see that every character in this novel was warranted and needed for the plot to be as interesting as it is. You, as the reader, will make various guesses as to who you think is the "culprit", however, do not be surprised if you find yourself guessing wrong, only to guess again and be proved wrong yet again. The Moonstone is a novel that keeps you guessing till the very end - but leads to an extremely satisfying and sublime ending, tying romance, mystery and drama all together in a nice, neat and pleasant package.
hemlokgang on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
The Moonstone has it all.....memorable characters, a completely engaging plot, and wonderful use of language. Wilkie "Collins wove a mysterious tale complete with thwarted love, dashing heroes and not so dashing heroes, a loyal, lovely maiden, and of course......thievery, trickery, and subterfuge......And remember, this was one of the first suspense novels ever written.
Ganeshaka on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
I'd been meaning to read this book for decade. A friend mentioned it. Then it got jumbled up in my brain with Colin Wilson's Mysteries - which I also hadn't read - because of the vague phonetic similarities. For awhile the two were one book in my chaotic universe. The memory plays tricks, indeed.The Moonstone, written in 1870, has been said to be the first and best mystery novel. While that may be hyperbole, it is a very good mystery read, and it feels modern, despite its age. The story concerns the theft of a unique gem, The Moonstone. The jewel, originally prized by a Hindu cult, and seized from it by a British adventurer, passes, through an inheritance, into the possession of a young lady, from whom, it is, once again, stolen. Therein lies the whodunnit: was the thief one of her rival suitors, a member of the vengeful cult, a member of her household staff, or even, she herself, for obscure reasons?The tale is presented a bit like a relay race. It unfolds chronologically, but, at different stages, the baton (a first person narrative) passes to a different character in the mystery. The characters are very distinct and vivid, and you can sense that Charles Dickens was both a mentor and close friend of Collins. There's a bit of a corny likeness between, say, Dombey and Son's Captain Cuttle, who revers the taciturn advice of one of his fellow sea cap'ns and Gabriel Betteridge who idolizes Stevenson and the wisdom of Treasure Island. There's a similar lack of self awareness, and absurdity, between Miss Clack and Martin Chuzzlewit's "Sairey" Gamp.The difference, though, between the authors, is that with Dickens, the plots of his novels seem to emerge from his characters, and afterward, you remember, principally, their personalities and their quirks. With the Moonstone, however, the characters, though memorable, are clearly subordinate to the mystery, and I think, in a year or so, I will most remember the storyline.I was also intrigued, upon reading a bit about Wilkie Collins, to find that he was addicted to opium and even suffered from paranoid delusions of a doppelganger. It's interesting to ponder, in reverse, what influence his friendship and sufferings may have had, on Dickens, in the writing of The Mystery of Edwin Drood and the shaping of the character of Jaspers.
urduha on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
This is better than No Name and The Lady in White (by the same author). Very entertaining.
Jennie_103 on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
I had to read this for a course I was doing on detective fiction and I'm really glad that I did. Yes it is old fashioned and all the letters and different viewpoints are a little confusing but it is still the basis of a lot of later detective fiction and is still very readable today. Don't just put it off as a classic that you should read someday - give it a go!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Enjoyable story
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Enjoyed reading this for a second time and was impressed by the plot development. Be sure you give yourself enough time to savor the experience and you will enjoy this classic.
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Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I liked this one.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago