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HALL OF FAMETOP 500 REVIEWERVINE VOICEon 9 February 2014
A yellow diamond with a curse on it; a young girl trying to choose between two suitors; one of the first detectives in fiction and more twists and turns in the plot than you can shake a stick at not to speak of a huge cast of characters and multiple narrators and you have a fascinating story of theft and murder.

I was surprised how modern this book still is even though it was published over a hundred years ago. I was especially struck by the conversations between Rachel Verrinder and Franklin Blake – her on/off fiancé. I thought the author caught the different voices of his narrators very well indeed and I was never in any doubt who was narrating the story. This is well worth reading even today and it puts some modern crime novelists in the shade.
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on 30 March 2015
Recommended to me by a friend as essential reading after I'd enjoyed "The Suspicions of Mr Whicher" by Kate Summerscale, as one of the blueprints for the detective fiction genre. I found "The Moonstone" to be a real page-turner - a cast of very engaging characters, not all of whom are particularly likeable (step forward the wonderfully awful Miss Clack); a clever plot with cliffhangers a-plenty; and a satisfactory dénouement.

I particularly enjoyed the style of using several different narrators throughout the book to add different viewpoints of the same event, thereby gradually revealing the story and adding twists where previous narrators have omitted key information to suit their own ends. This technique can have the tendency to be clumsy and repetitive, but it was very effective in this novel.

There's also quite a refreshing portrayal of the female characters in this story for the period in which is was written (1860s) - whilst there are some stereotypical Victorian gender roles presented in the views of some of the male characters and the aforementioned Miss Clack, these are often presented in a satirical way so that the reader is invited to laugh at these strict views. The female protagonists on the other hand are mostly presented by the author as strong, assertive characters in their own right, their actions having a pivotal role in the story.

A thoroughly enjoyable read.
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on 1 August 2017
Plodding and boring. Basically the theft of a gem from a stately house and the efforts to trace it. Reminded me of a bedroom farce from the nineteen sixties ( yes I am that old ). To and fro from room to room with class distinctions rigidly observed. If a feminist were to read it it would be burned by page 21 , so dismissive is the author of women and their abilities. But that's how it was then. The Indian jugglers who are touring the countryside are given the same treatment. I gave up about halfway through. It is said to be the first and best detective novel ever written. How times have changed.
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on 17 June 2017
I am still ploughing through it. It is not my kind of book but I would recommend
it to those who like classical literature. I prefer more modern stuff but am reading it for a reading group. Summed up in one word- tedious!
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on 28 July 2017
I didn't enjoy this book, the woman in white is much better in my opinion
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on 21 August 2017
Riveting with clever story-telling from different characters. Fantastic to read English syntax from 3 centuries ago. If you like an engaging whodunit, this won't fail to please.
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on 29 March 2017
Great
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on 10 November 2013
I have read one other Willie Collins novel and this one was recommended to me. It's quite a long book, but the story had me hooked and I loved the details of all the characters. His details bring the story to life and I will definitely be reading more from this author.
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on 12 October 2017
good
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on 2 September 2017
A great story, loved reading it.
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