The Moonstone

The Moonstone

4.0 156
by Wilkie Collins, Neville Jason, Bill Homewood, Clive Swift

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Wilkie Collins's tale of romance, theft, and murder inspired a hugely popular genre - the detective mystery. Hinging on the theft of an enormous diamond originally stolen from an Indian shrine, this riveting novel features the innovative Sergeant Cuff, the hilarious house steward Gabriel Betteridge, a lovesick housemaid, and a mysterious band of Indian jugglers.  See more details below


Wilkie Collins's tale of romance, theft, and murder inspired a hugely popular genre - the detective mystery. Hinging on the theft of an enormous diamond originally stolen from an Indian shrine, this riveting novel features the innovative Sergeant Cuff, the hilarious house steward Gabriel Betteridge, a lovesick housemaid, and a mysterious band of Indian jugglers.

Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
"The first and greatest of English detective novels." ---T. S. Eliot
William Baker Northern Illinois University
"This superbly edited and richly documented edition of what T.S. Eliot described as 'the first and greatest of English detective novels' is the definitive and indispensible edition of The Moonstone."
Catherine Peters
"The Moonstone, one of Wilkie Collins's most popular and successful novels, has never been out of print since its first publication in 1868. Is another edition needed? The answer, in the case of Professor Farmer's scholarly and impeccably edited text, must be a resounding yes. Invaluable for his survey of past and present reactions to the story, and for his own insights, the edition also includes historical and background material and a well-chosen collection of relevant contemporary documents—always an important feature of Broadview Literary Texts. This Moonstone will surely prove another winner for Broadview's list."
The Wilkie Collins Society Journal
"Steve Farmer's Broadview edition will undoubtedly become the definitive edition of The Moonstone. [It] deserves a five star rating."
Adrian J. Pinnington Waseda University
"Here is a book which anyone with an interest in either Collins or Victorian literature in general will want to buy. The chief reason for this is Broadview's exceptionally generous editorial policy in its series of Literary Texts, and the very good use that Steve Farmer has made of this generosity. In this edition, for a reasonable price, we are given not only a beautifully printed and error-free annotated text of the novel, but also a full introduction and over 150 pages of appendices...This is the first time that Collins' dramatic adaptation of the novel has been reprinted and this text alone is well worth the price of the book."

Product Details

Naxos Audiobooks Ltd.
Publication date:
Edition description:
Abridged, 3 Cassettes
Product dimensions:
4.52(w) x 6.94(h) x 1.11(d)

Read an Excerpt


First Period the loss of the diamond (1848) The Events related by Gabriel Betteredge, House-Steward in the service of Julia, Lady Verinder

Chapter I

In the first part of Robinson Crusoe, at page one hundred and twenty-nine, you will find it thus written:

“Now I saw, though too late, the Folly of beginning a Work before we count the Cost, and before we judge rightly of our own Strength to go through with it.”

Only yesterday, I opened my Robinson Crusoe at that place. Only this morning (May twenty-first, Eighteen hundred and fifty), came my lady’s nephew, Mr. Franklin Blake, and held a short conversation with me, as follows:—

“Betteredge,” says Mr. Franklin, “I have been to the lawyer’s about some family matters; and, among other things, we have been talking of the loss of the Indian Diamond, in my aunt’s house in Yorkshire, two years since. Mr. Bruff thinks, as I think, that the whole story ought, in the interests of truth, to be placed on record in writing—and the sooner the better.”

Not perceiving his drift yet, and thinking it always desirable for the sake of peace and quietness to be on the lawyer’s side, I said I thought so too. Mr. Franklin went on.

“In this matter of the Diamond,” he said, “the characters of innocent people have suffered under suspicion already—as you know. The memories of innocent people may suffer, hereafter, for want of a record of the facts to which those who come after us can appeal. There can be no doubt that this strange family story of ours ought to betold. And I think, Betteredge, Mr. Bruff and I together have hit on the right way of telling it.”

Very satisfactory to both of them, no doubt. But I failed to see what I myself had to do with it, so far.

“We have certain events to relate,” Mr. Franklin proceeded; “and we have certain persons concerned in those events who are capable of relating them. Starting from these plain facts, the idea is that we should all write the story of the Moonstone in turn—as far as our own personal experience extends, and no farther. We must begin by showing how the Diamond first fell into the hands of my uncle Herncastle, when he was serving in India fifty years since. This prefatory narrative I have already got by me in the form of an old family paper, which relates the necessary particulars on the authority of an eye-witness. The next thing to do is to tell how the Diamond found its way into my aunt’s house in Yorkshire, two years ago, and how it came to be lost in little more than twelve hours afterwards. Nobody knows as much as you do, Betteredge, about what went on in the house at that time. So you must take the pen in hand, and start the story.”

In those terms I was informed of what my personal concern was with the matter of the Diamond. 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. Mr. Franklin, I imagine, must have seen my private sentiments in my face. He declined to believe in my modesty; and he insisted on giving my abilities a fair chance.

Two hours have passed since Mr. Franklin left me. As soon as his back was turned, I went to my writing-desk to start the story. There I have sat helpless (in spite of my abilities) ever since; seeing what Robinson Crusoe saw, as quoted above—namely, the folly of beginning a work before we count the cost, and before we judge rightly of our own strength to go through with it. Please to remember, I opened the book by accident, at that bit, only the day before I rashly undertook the business now in hand; and, allow me to ask—if that isn’t prophecy, what is?

I am not superstitious; I have read a heap of books in my time; I am a scholar in my own way. Though turned seventy, I possess an active memory, and legs to correspond. You are not to take it, if you please, as the saying of an ignorant man, when I express my opinion that such a book as Robinson Crusoe never was written, and never will be written again. I have tried that book for years—generally in combination with a pipe of tobacco—and I have found it my friend in need in all the necessities of this mortal life. When my spirits are bad—Robinson Crusoe. When I want advice—Robinson Crusoe. In past times, when my wife plagued me; in present times, when I have had a drop too much—Robinson Crusoe. I have worn out six stout Robinson Crusoes with hard work in my service. On my lady’s last birthday she gave me a seventh. I took a drop too much on the strength of it; and Robinson Crusoe put me right again. Price four shillings and sixpence, bound in blue, with a picture into the bargain.

Still, this don’t look much like starting the story of the Diamond—does it? I seem to be wandering off in search of Lord knows what, Lord knows where. We will take a new sheet of paper, if you please, and begin over again, with my best respects to you.

Copyright 2001 by Wilkie Collins

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“The very finest detective story ever written.”—Dorothy Sayers

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The Moonstone 4 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 156 reviews.
Guest More than 1 year ago
I started reading this story about a month and a half ago. For the first 40 pages, I wasn't sure if I could stay interested in the first narrator's tale. But as the story went on, I realized that everything he was saying was key to the mystery. I could hardly put it down even when my eyelids started to droop uncontrollably at night. I was relieved to get sick over the weekend and decided to devour the last half of the book on a Sunday afternoon. It was soooo good, that I even forsook my favorite TV program to finish it. I was BLOWN away by all the events. They got better and better and built up to an amazing finale. The only narrator who annoyed the socks off of me was Miss Clack. But then again, everything she told was key to the story. I was amazed at how each narrator had a voice of their own even though it was all written by ONE person. And when certain evidence was revealed, I gasped from shock as though I was seeing the whole thing with my own eyes. By far, the most incredible, captivating mystery I've ever read. I don't care what anyone else says. The change in narrators keeps you from getting bored with the writing style and I will recommend it to ANYONE and EVERYONE who truly appreciates British literature. Thanks to this book, I'm now going to pursue the rest of his works.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This was a very entertaining book and despite how long ago it was written seemed more modern at times than it actually is. The book is written in a series of letters that give each character's viewpoint of the story and how it progressed concerning the Moonstone. I only found one character's account a bit trying but I think that was the point as she was a most pompous and sanctimonious individual. Well written.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I love this book! This is a really great story told from several different viewpoints which makes it more interesting. Fans of Victorian literature will not be disappointed!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
O My Gosh. You just love the narrators in the story. Especially sweet, sweet Betteredge!! At first in the mystery i started to hate Lady Verinder and thought that Sergeant Cuff was figuring out the mystery when BAM!!! Sergeant Cuff, the GREAT Sergeant Cuff, had it all wrong!!! It made you want to read on and on and on! But at the same time if you had to stop reading you sort of could-like even though it was soooo annoying as to find it all out you weren't always thinking about it once you had to stop reading it. And then only to think that the actual person who had stolen it was that certain person(totally can't say who!) was astounding!! I mean, they mentioned suspicions towards the person and i myself had had some too but not strong ones so it was it was still sort of hard to believe, and not only that but the person in which the stone was passed onto was also unexpected--and that person's true character was yet also surprising!Gosh, i LOVE THIS BOOK. And heck yeah!!! You better darn read it!! This book is my wonderful treasure---My Moonstone!!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Moonstone is a long and very well written and presented detective mystery which failed to engage me very much: A well written tale about people who are all decidedly uninteresting. I could have put Moonstone down at any given point and not thought about it further. Collins's Moonstone lacks both the genius, flare and humor of Dickens and the warm, personal and utterly engaging style of Conan-Doyle's Holmes stories. Consider the three stars "Style Points".
Nicole Sheldon More than 1 year ago
I love novels from this era, but at points it was difficult to keep reading. I had to remind myself that Collins is the godfather of mystery crime novels and they have come a long way since this one! Knowing that about this story gives you great appreciation for his skill and inspiration this has given others to push the envelope a little farther.
e_flaig More than 1 year ago
The Moonstone is dated. That's not surprising; it was written over a hundred years ago. But this is the father of all mystery novels, so there's no better place to start than here. A classic, and one every mystery fan should read.
var More than 1 year ago
Reading this mystery was a pleasant surprise. The plot had all the undertones of England in transition. The characters were unforgetable. The B&N presentation was excellent. Thank you very much for offering this very enjoyable and quick reading novel.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
More typos than you can imagine. Some clearly automated this job and never proofread the results. Fantastic book, though. Worth finding a readable edition.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I was looking for a great summer read to "take me away" and make me think of something other than my complicated life this summer. After having enjoyed this kind of distraction while reading "The Woman in White" I went in search of another Collins book. This was the second of his books that I have read, and I have to say it was just what I needed! I love Collins' writing style. This book, as was The Woman in White, was narrated from several different perspectives, each written by different characters. I marvel at the author's ability to write each narrative with such different personalities...I began to believe that each was written by a different person! And each is written in so likeable a style that I dreaded the end, thinking, "surely, I wont like the next character's narrative as well as this one." Yet within a page or two I was once again drawn in and connecting to the new voice. This is a 415 page book, and on at least 4 occasions the conclusion seemed so near I couldn't fathom what the author was going to do with the rest of the pages. This was the result of each narrator telling the story from his or her perspective nearly to its conclusion, then handing the pen off to the next narrator, to start at his or her own beginning and do the same. The resulting story had me on the edge of my seat, confident I had figured out "who done it" and speed reading to see if I was right! I spent numerous nights reading past my bedtime, and allowed myself to read away more daytime hours than is respectable, all in the hopes of proving myself a cunning detective, able to outsmart the author! (An honest report would indicate that was right, sort of, and wrong, sort of, more than a few times over the course of reading this book!) And I am glad, now that I have finished it, that I had the foresight to grab a couple of his other works, which are now at the ready to fill the time void left by finishing this one! As to the quality if the ebook itself, I think nearly every page had at least one OCR error on it, but the errors were rather consistant, and it didn't take me long to figure out the correct text. Most of the time I just read right through them without hesitation. And since I didn't pay for this copy, I suppose I should't be too upset by a few errors. Dont hesitate to grab up this ebook and get to reading!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I found Wilkie Collins quite by accident on the B&N online shop...well, what a wonderful find. Look for some of his other books.
Anonymous 11 months ago
Enjoyable story
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Enjoyed reading this for a second time and was impressed by the plot development. Be sure you give yourself enough time to savor the experience and you will enjoy this classic.
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I liked this one.
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I don't generally like different narrators, but this was done very well. Good read
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Enjoyed it much more than I thought I would. Wonderful classic.
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Not a quick read but when a days pay was a dollar that would be at ten an hour today 80 dollars minus irs and ss per book. read in good health a keeper buska