Mayhem and Mystery

>> Saturday, August 4, 2012

Not the edition I read, but I suppose
it'll do in a pinch.
The Moonstone
by Wilkie Collins

I think Charles Dickens (yes, that Charles Dickens) described this book best when he said "It is a very curious story, wild yet domestic."

When her uncle, Mr. John Herncastle dies, Rachel Verinder inherits the legendary Moonstone diamond from him, the one he allegedly stole from India. When it is stolen on the morning after her birthday, it seems like an open-and-close case. But nobody is what they seem, and the best and the worst of intentions can be misread.

Simply put, I enjoyed this book. A lot. As in, every morning I'd wake up eager to read more and discover what would happen next. The mystery was baffling, and it seemed the more I learned the less I knew. It also wasn't like any other mystery I've ever read. It wasn't just looking for clues amid innocent and guilty people--these character's emotions and feelings either hindered or helped the hunt for the lost diamond, and in a very realistic way (although once or twice the women were prone to hysterics. But after all, it is a very old book.)

But I think what really made this a classic of literature were the characters. The story was told in separate narratives by different characters, and each of them had such a distinct voice you could swear they were real. I loved old Betteredge, the loyal servant with a love for a certain book, and Franklin Blake, the young man trying to win his cousin Rachel's love, and Sergeant Cuff, the clever detective with a penchant for roses. And let's not forget Ezra Jennings, who's story of redemption is...well...stirring.
Heck, I even liked Gooseberry, and he only showed up for two chapters near the end.
Rachel's other cousin, Miss Clack, was also very real, but also very holier-than-though. I was glad to finish her part of the story, which fortunately wasn't long.

The ending was satisfying, but it could have seemed far-fetched if the author hadn't handled it right. Fortunately, he did, and that made it all the more satisfying.
There was romance, tons of suspense, and even good old-fashioned humor.
I loved The Moonstone, and would definitely have it upon my shelf.

Favorite Line: 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.

Objectionable Content: Uses of the Lord's name in vain, and uses of the D-word. Brief mention of a love nest (all they mention is "a lady and a villa". It has no bearing on the story.)

Related Reads:
Anything written by Agatha Christie
Sherlock Holmes-Arthur Conan Doyle
The Purloined Letter-Edgar Allan Poe


Marian August 4, 2012 at 7:28 AM  

I'll have to read this one! The only Collins I've read is The Woman in White, but I loved that one.

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