The Moonstone (The Penguin English Library) Paperback – 26 Apr 2012
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From the Inside Flap
The Penguin English Library Edition of The Moonstone by Wilkie Collins 'Here was our quiet English house suddenly invaded by a devilish Indian Diamond - bringing after it a conspiracy of living rogues, set loose on us by the vengeance of a dead man' When Rachel Verinder's birthday present - the Moonstone, a large Indian diamond - is stolen at her party, suspicion and the diamond's mysterious curse seem set to ruin everyone and everything she loves. Only Sergeant Cuff's famous detective skills offer any hope of peace and a future for them all. The intricate plot and modern technique of multiple narrators made Wilkie Collin's 1868 work a huge success in the Victorian sensation genre. With a reconstruction of the crime, red herrings and a 'locked-room' puzzle, The Moonstone was also a major precursor of the modern mystery novel. The Penguin English Library - 100 editions of the best fiction in English, from the eighteenth century and the very first novels to the beginning of the First World War.
About the Author
Wilkie Collins (1824-89) was a prolific novelist, playwright and short-story writer. Born into a family of artists, in later life the writer of thirty novels and lifelong friend of Charles Dickens became addicted to opium, which he took to help relieve the severe pain of 'rheumatic gout', a form of arthritis. He began to suffer from paranoia and hallucinations, including the presence of a 'subjective doppelgänger' he named Ghost Wilkie, and the drug plays a prominent part in The Moonstone.
The Woman in White is also published in the Penguin English Library.
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There are a number of full-length audio narrations of the entire novel out there (very good ones), but I have found this shortened version to be the best in terms of the ideal actors and actresses (all British) to portray the various parts. I think Clive Swift, in particular, is amazingly convincing as the old servant, Betteridge - you really believe he IS that character. The performance is perfection itself.
A must-have, delightful audio version of The Moonstone, in my view. I return to it again and again - as, I suspect, you will. (A great television adaptation of the story, by the way, is the one produced in England in the 1990s and starring Greg Wise. That is the TV equivalent of this superlative audio-book - almost beyond criticism).
If you enjoy a classic novel and are not daunted or put off by the classical use of the English language then this might be to your taste.
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