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The Moonstone (Wordsworth Classics) [Paperback]

Wilkie Collins
4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (199 customer reviews)
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Book Description

1 May 1992 Wordsworth Classics

This Wordsworth Edition includes an exclusive Introduction and Notes by David Blair, Rutherford College, University of Kent.

The Moonstone, a priceless Indian diamond which had been brought to England as spoils of war, is given to Rachel Verrinder on her eighteenth birthday. That very night, the stone is stolen. Suspicion then falls on a hunchbacked housemaid, on Rachel's cousin Franklin Blake, on a troupe of mysterious Indian jugglers, and on Rachel herself.

The phlegmatic Sergeant Cuff is called in, and with the help of Betteredge, the Robinson Crusoe-reading loquacious steward, the mystery of the missing stone is ingeniously solved.


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The Moonstone (Wordsworth Classics) + The Woman in White (Collins Classics)
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Product details

  • Paperback: 438 pages
  • Publisher: Wordsworth Editions Ltd; Reprint edition (1 May 1992)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1853260444
  • ISBN-13: 978-1853260445
  • Product Dimensions: 19.9 x 12.7 x 2.4 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (199 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 21,550 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Wilkie Collins was born in London in 1824, the eldest son of the landscape painter William Collins. In 1846, having spent five years in the tea business, he was entered to read for the bar at Lincoln's Inn, where he gained the legal knowledge that was to give him much material for his writing.

From the early fifties, he was a friend of Charles Dickens, acting with him, contributing to Household Words, travelling with him on the Continent. Dickens produced and acted in two melodramas written by Collins, The Lighthouse (1855) and The Frozen Deep (1857).

Collins is best remembered for his novels, particularly The Woman in White (1860) and The Moonstone (1868), which T. S. Eliot called 'the first, the longest, and the best of modern English detective novels'. His later, and at the time rather sensational, novels include The New Magdalen (1873) and The Law and The Lady (1875). Collins also braved the moral censure of the Victorian age by keeping two women (and their households) while marrying neither. He died in 1889.


Product Description

Review

“The first, the longest, and the best of modern English detective novels in a genre invented by Collins and not by Poe.” (T.S. Eliot, author of The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock)

“Probably the very finest detective story ever written.” (Dorothy L. Sayers)

“Probably the best detective tale in the world.” (G. K. Chesterton, author of The Victorian Age in Literature) --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.

Book Description

'The first...and the best of modern English detective novels' T. S. Eliot --This text refers to an alternate Paperback edition.

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
115 of 118 people found the following review helpful
By John Austin HALL OF FAME TOP 1000 REVIEWER VINE VOICE
Format:Paperback
It was T S Eliot who described Wilkie Collins' "The Moonstone" as "the first, the longest, and the best of Modern English detective novels". Not everybody might agree with this, but all practitioners, readers, and fans of detective fiction will find much to admire and enjoy in this magnificent 1868 publication.
Although not exactly the first example of detection novels, it provides the archetypal sleuth, Sergeant Cuff, an astute though idiosyncratic detective who leads the chase to the solution of the mystery, easily surpassing the dim-witted local police authorities. It also explores the full potential of the whodunit formula.
Arguably, it is still the longest example of detective fiction. Unlike most other serialized novels of its era, this one is meticulously plotted. You'll find red herrings, suspense, the unexpected, climaxes that overwhelm or fizzle out, and a satisfying denouement. It is narrated largely by some of the principal characters. All are revealed in well-rounded perspective while carrying forward the story line. The most popular has always been Drusilla Clack, "that rampant spinster", a self-righteous tract-dispensing lady who likes to eavesdrop and to be judgmental.
Is it the best? I would unhesitatingly award it the prize, while welcoming other internet browsers to name other contenders.
Wealthy internet browsers are recommended to download the unabridged audio reading of the book. It is a novel that reads well, and the full length reading available is a model of its kind. Naxos has produced an abridged version. It has the benefit of multiple readers, but most of the charm and all the atmosphere seems to disappear in the abridgment process. Book format will put you in touch with the original text and, provided you have the leisure and disposition for tackling a 20 hour read, will provide your imagination, your mind and your literary appetite with rich material.
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81 of 83 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A fantastic romp 19 Jun 2001
By A Customer
Format:Paperback
I wish this book wasn't a "classic" because I was put off reading it for years thinking it would be stuffy. When I eventually overcame my preconceptions I discovered it's a madly entertaining romp that uses every Gothic cliche you could invent. A young beautiful heroine who's to inherit a fabulous Indian diamond bearing a curse, a party at a remote country house, the family's faithful old butler, the heroine's dashing cousin who no-one's seen for years, an ex-criminal servant girl with a sinister secret, quicksands, dodgy Indian jugglers (this is 150 years pre political correctness) with a clairvoyant servant-boy, a returning traveller who unmasks them as Brahmin priests determined to get the jewel back, an opium addict, murder and intrigue. So who did steal the diamond? It'll take you right till the end to find out in the most fantastic plot twist, and you'll be gripped all the way.
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60 of 62 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A Timeliness Masterpiece 8 Dec 2002
Format:Paperback
I was enthralled from the beginning of the book, the fascinating history and "curse" of the Moonstone, as I continue to read on, it was almost impossible to put down the book. An enthralling combination of what makes a "bestseller" nowadays, a cursed gem, the oriental touch, a murder, a love story. The writing was excellent, the characters are vivid, and the progress through a series of narrative by the various characters adds to the suspense of the crime. The plot is also good, it is not easy to guess who stole the Moonstone, even though the book was written about 140 years ago. It won't disappoint you.
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10 of 10 people found the following review helpful
Format:Paperback
T S Eliot called The Moonstone "the first, the longest and the best of modern English detective novels". It's hard not to agree. The Moonstone, an enormous diamond of religious significance, is vilely plundered by a British soldier during the taking of Seringapatam in 1799. The Moonstone is brought back to England and, eventually, given to the prim, beautiful and wilful heiress, Rachel Verinder, on her birthday in 1848. And it goes missing the very same night. Rachel's family and friends are keen to recover the lost stone and to identify the thief and thus call upon the services of Sergeant Cuff, the most celebrated and successful detective that Scotland Yard can offer. Yet Rachel is strangely reluctant to assist in the investigation, and the professional sleuth is not the only one searching for the stone and for answers. Three juggling Indians accompanied by a clairvoyant young boy, a ruthless London money lender and an amiable philanthropist all seem to have their own interests in recovering the stone, while others including Rachel and a reformed thief turned servant girl, seem at least as anxious to conceal certain facts surrounding its disappearance. The stage is thus set for a gripping detective story full of twists and turns and unexpected developments, all centred on the Verinder's country house in Yorkshire.

Written in a semi- epistolary style, with several of the major characters telling the parts of the story with which they were most concerned from their own perspective, Collins' novel has strong gothic overtones and much in common with the `big-house' novels written earlier in the century and serves as a bridge with the swelter of English detective fiction which was to follow.
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15 of 16 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A masterpiece of crime fiction 15 Nov 1999
Format:Paperback
A story about the theft of a diamond seems pretty tame stuff compared to the bloodthirsty standard of today, but the masterful craftsmanship of Wilkie Collins turns a seemingly mundane story into an exciting journey back to the 1840's.
The story is told through a seies of narratives relating to before, during and after the theft. One of my favourite narratives is that of Drusilla Clack, a devout christian who tries to convert anybody and everybody at any opportunity. The book is witty,often very moving and above all mysterious. It is a long story ( I estimate it at over 200,000 words ), but it is worth every word because of the atmospheric and skilful writing. I felt that I knew what it was like to live in England in the mid 1800's and my head was full of vivid pictures of the scenes described by Wilkie Collins.
Definitely one of the most readable and cleverly written books that I have ever read.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars The moonstone
I normally read detective books so I picked this book on that bases ,with a few concerns about the age it was and era set in . Read more
Published 1 day ago by Great game addictive
3.0 out of 5 stars moonstone
Liked characters and story but found it moved very slowly and was not as exciting as I thought it would be.
Published 3 days ago by Christine
4.0 out of 5 stars Does this mean I like mystery stories after all?
I usually avoid crime and mystery stories, and had not realised when I downloaded The Moonstone that that it is what it is, so I was surprised how much it gripped me and I enjoyed... Read more
Published 6 days ago by A. Baker
3.0 out of 5 stars Tedious
Beautifully written but too much of it. Could have been condensed in to half the book and still been enjoyable. Found myself wa
Published 23 days ago by paulette
4.0 out of 5 stars A classic told but classically long-winded
Wonderful command of language, cleverly and differently interpreted for each of the scribes who take up the tale. Read more
Published 1 month ago by james john
5.0 out of 5 stars wonderful story and superb writing
Despite the age of this book it as exciting a page turner as any written now! Going straight to my Wilkie Collins reading list for my next fix!
Published 1 month ago by Littlebad
5.0 out of 5 stars good
Great book, I am a massive bookworm so I love all books but I would definitely recommend this book to my friends and family.
Published 1 month ago by becccci
5.0 out of 5 stars Fantastic book!
If you're a fan of Sherlock Holmes then give this a try. I'm sure Conan Doyle must have read this. Great stuff.
Published 1 month ago by ZomBoy1971
3.0 out of 5 stars Ok Read
Didn't light my fire and could easily put it down, saying that not a bad book for a holiday read
Published 1 month ago by Mal
4.0 out of 5 stars Great Classic
Fabulous Classic book and I really enjoyed reading it on my Kindle. I haven’t read this book for ages and it was a really lovely change
Published 1 month ago by Sophie
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