The Moonstone by Wilkie Collins
(Modern Library Classics)

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As a writer, I was struck by how masterfully Collins pulls together the different strands of a complicated plot.


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‘The horrid mystery hanging over us in this house gets into my head like liquor, and makes me wild.’

Centred around a glorious yellow diamond that carries with it a menacing history, The Moonstone tells the story of Rachel Verinder, who inherits the stone on her eighteenth birthday. That very evening, the diamond is stolen and there begins an epic enquiry into hunting down the thief. At the same time, three Indian men, Brahmin guardians of the diamond are attempting to reclaim the stone in order to return it to their sacred Hindu Idol.

Told from the perspective of 11different characters, Wilkie Collins’ tale of mystery and suspicion was considered the first modern English detective novel at its time of publication.


About Wilkie Collins

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Born in London, the son of artist William Collins, Wilkie Collins was educated at Highbury and spent four years in Italy with his parents. Upon his return to England, he worked first in business and then law, but eventually turned to literature. Collins created the crime novel of intricate plot and baffling mystery. The Woman in White (1860) was his first success, followed in 1863 by his masterpiece The Moonstone. Both novels demonstrate Collins' fascination with psychological portraiture and sensationalistic complication. Other books include The Haunted Hotel (1875), Antonia (1850), and Heart and Science (1883). Collins was a close friend of Charles Dickens and collaborated with him. His mastery of plot influenced Dickens, and he was influenced by Dickens's mastery of character.
Published November 26, 1998 by Penguin. 280 pages
Genres: Mystery, Thriller & Suspense, Literature & Fiction, Children's Books, Horror, Comics & Graphic Novels, Education & Reference, Science Fiction & Fantasy, History, Crime, Romance, Action & Adventure. Non-fiction
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Critic reviews for The Moonstone
All: 4 | Positive: 4 | Negative: 0


Reviewed by Chitra Banerjee Divakaruni on Aug 04 2013

As a writer, I was struck by how masterfully Collins pulls together the different strands of a complicated plot.

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Above average
on Jul 02 2012

The book is told in the form of a series of narratives, each by a different eyewitness, each of which brings the story forward. Thus, we see each of the major characters through others’ eyes, and often enough through their own eyes as well.

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on Aug 03 2008

All in all, this was a really enjoyable book; it was easy to read, but by the time I had put it down, I felt that I had read something worthwhile...Highly recommended, whether you're a fan of crime fiction or simply just like a damn good read.

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Teen Ink


The Moonstone is one of the longest and most suspenseful mystery novels I have read. I like the way Collins puts twists and turns in the plot so the true suspect is never actually revealed until the end of the story.

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Malinda Charter

Malinda Charter 5 Oct 2013

Added the book to want to read list