The Moonstone

The Moonstone

4.1 67
by Wilkie Collins

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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

Penguin Group (USA)
Publication date:
Product dimensions:
4.28(w) x 6.86(h) x 1.11(d)

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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 first and greatest of English detective novels." —-T. S. Eliot

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The Moonstone (Illustrated + link to download FREE audiobook + Active TOC) 4.1 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 67 reviews.
Guest More than 1 year ago
I wanted to read this book because I love mysteries and classics and it seemed to be getting good feedback. However, this is one of the highest level mysteries I have read and I enjoyed it thoroughly. I loved how there were several narrators to keep it flowing and all of them were very different people. It has many twists and turns and I was very surprised at the ending! The only thing that stops me from giving it a 5 is that at times it was very dull and confusing but the rest of the novel makes up for it! I will certainly be reading more from Collins!
Guest More than 1 year ago
I have never read any of Wilkie Collins' books before (although I look forward to doing so) and found this book to be extraordinarily intriguing. He is able to capture the reader's attention from the very first page and continues doing just that throughout the rest of the book. His characters are very well chosen and distinguished and his style of writing is very captivating.
Guest More than 1 year ago
This is really a simple detective story that has been written in a likable manner. Three main protagonists tell the tale of the stolen diamond. Among the three the narrative of Miss Clack is quite enjoyable. This book pokes fun at religious fanaticism, sycophancy and stratified social norms of Victorian England. But what attracted me was the way Indian Characters are treated by the writer. Absence of condescension and racial bigotry marks the writer¿s sympathetic viewpoint of the Indian Characters and even rationalizes their murder of the perpetrator. One is then surprised to note that this novel is way ahead of it¿s time, as Indians characters are still either patronized or vilified albeit couched in innuendoes. Though not exactly in the league of the great classics it is undeniably exquisite piece of work! The writer was a great friend of Dickens ¿ who I believe mistreated him and as a result Collins was often depressed. That could well mean that Dickens was jealous of Collins and rightly so. Except for Tale of Two Cities, Oliver Twist and Nicholas Nickleby, I find Dickens¿ writing boring and unnecessarily convoluted. For instance, one does have a hard time reading Hard Times, especially considering that Emile Zola had taken the same subject in Germinal and made it interesting and a delight to read.
NAaisl35 More than 1 year ago
For her 18th birthday Rachel Verinder is given the dazzling Moonstone, an enchanting diamond stolen from an Indian temple. In the dark, the diamond has an eerie glow, making it subject to stories of curses and superstition. It was gifted by her infamous late uncle, only to be stolen that very night. When Sergeant Cuff is brought in to investigate, he realizes that no one in Rachel's household is above suspicion. This mystery is exciting, but it's aimed at a middle aged audience. For any teenager the plot is too slow and the language difficult to understand. It's a brilliant read if you're patient. A classic mystery story, and one of the very first mystery novels. Wilkie Collins was born in 1824 and died in 1889. He was one of the most popular novelists of his day, and wrote many great mystery stories. You could call him a mystery expert because the way he wrote this book showed a deep understanding of the way mysteries are solved. A good mystery novel should have suspense, crime, and a enticing detective . The Moonstone covered them all. Near the start of the book there is already some foreshadowing. As the narrator Mr. Betterage tells us, "If I could only have looked a little was into the future, I would have taken Rosanna Spearman out of the house, then and there, with my own hand." Also, throughout the story the people around Sergeant Cuff, including the readers begin to get 'detective fever'. This is when you get an urge to continue reading, and you desperately want to find out what is going to happen next. In many detective novels, the object of the story was to trace the influence of circumstances upon the character of the people. In other words, use how the people behaved to find out who committed the crime. Collins has reversed this process. The attempt in this story is to figure out the character of the people using the circumstances. In a lot of ways, it is a physiological experiment. Another one of the story's assets was that the story of the diamond is not entirely fiction. The inspiration for the moonstone was actually the stone that sits on top of the Russian Imperial Scepter, which was once the eye of an Indian idol. The idea of the curse came from the famous Koh-i-Noor, another sacred gem of India. It is prophesied to bring certain misfortune to the people who divert it from its ancient uses. It was these realistic objects, along with a new way of solving mysteries and the intricate patterns of character's lives, that made the book so unique. I have read no other mystery books that are as complicated as this one. In a book like The Orient Express by Agatha Christie the mystery story follows the pattern that most mystery stories do. The crime is committed, the detective solves the mystery, the criminal is caught. Still an enjoyable read, but it doesn't have the kind of depth that the Moonstone has. In the Moonstone you not only find out about the crime being solved, but you get the opportunity to observe the nature of human activity. It tries to explain what makes people tick. In conclusion, the Moonstone was a long but unique read, most suitable for anyone from the late thirties up. The story's high points were the suspense, the detective fever, and the realistic approach in the setting. The book would not appeal to a teenager because of the complexity and consideration put into the details of the story. This book is highly recommended to anyone who likes a challenge and a game of wits.
Guest More than 1 year ago
It is incredible!!! I never guessed who it was, a must.
LibrarianJP More than 1 year ago
In The Moonstone, Collins introduces us to a variety of characters, situations, and a great mystery. I found the novel to be so absorbing, that I was hardly able to put the book down. Even when he unravels a part of the mystery, Collns only makes the story more mysterious(an amazing feature)! After reading The Moonstone, I decided that I had to buy The Woman in White to get more of Collins distinctive writing style.
VRC More than 1 year ago
Wilkie Collins is great fun to read. His philosophies are somewhat (and refreshingly) liberal for his time, particularly those in regard to servants, foreigners and women. His stories are sprinkled with just a dash of wit and satire, yet his characters and their motives are crystal clear and believable. In this, arguably one of the first mystery novels, (Poe began it all, after all, did he not?) the plot revolves around a stone, a great gem that has been stolen from an Indian idol. A birthday present to our heroine, it is stolen the same night it is given, and through a series of changing narratives the mystery is uncovered. It's a clever twist of plotting to make the hero the villain and then the hero again, but how it comes about I will not say. No one likes to have a mystery spoiled. The Moonstone is a thoroughly enjoyable read. I highly recommend it.
Dawn83 More than 1 year ago
Fun, thrilling, and utterly captivating from beginning to end.
angie1984 More than 1 year ago
Guest More than 1 year ago
I highly recommend Collins' The Moonstone. It kept my attention throughout with a storyline that was both interesting, entertaining, and a quick read. It reads like a combination of Indiana Jones, Sherlock Holmes, and Edith Wharton...part mystery, part romance, and part social commentary.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
So cool!,
Johnny-Appleseed More than 1 year ago
I have a couple small flaws with this book, but they're insignificant compared to the genius within it. The first is the length of it; the book is over 500 pages long, and for over 400 of them, the Diamond (being The Moonstone) is lost. This leaves a reader such as myself plowing through the thick of the book wanting the Diamond to reappear just so it is over with. But that is a selfish laziness of mine. The second flaw with the book has to do with the narrative style; I found myself wanting Betteridge to write the entirety of it. After reading his entire piece, and noticing that it was the first part (and approximately half of the story), the other ten narrators paled in comparison. In addition, the descriptive styles in which they wrote rarely differed from one another. We as an audience felt as if Collins were simply filling their mouths with words as they spilled them out. Overlooking those two flaws, the book itself is incredible. Keeping in mind throughout the entire story that it was the foundation of the entire mystery genre help make us realize just how incredibly well the story is written. Collins gives us multiple false leads and red herrings on the journey, and leaves us wondering exactly how the sacred Diamond escaped from Miss Verinder's drawer that fateful night. The remainder of this review contain easily conceived spoilers, and it is recommended that those wishing to read this novel ignore it. I will say that my conclusion is The Moonstone is an absolute must read for anyone who enjoys detective novels. As we slowly but surely piece together solid evidence of the path of the Diamond following its disappearance, we suddenly are jilted back to the fateful night; who exactly did the deed? We find out this critical turning point, and shortly after, the puzzle, assembled in reverse, comes to a close. Throughout it all, we grow to dislike the Indians, who are actually the rightful owners, and are finally snapped back into this correct focus and given a satisfactory ending. Incredibly well-constructed plot and a happy, restorative ending make The Moonstone to be an absolute must read for anyone who enjoys detective novels.
Mother-Daughter-Book-Club More than 1 year ago
A diamond is stolen from the English country estate of Lady Verinder and the renowned Sergeant Cuff is brought in from London to help solve the case. The diamond, said to bring bad luck to its owner because it was stolen from a temple in India, was given to Lady Verinder's daughter, Rachel, on her 18th birthday. It was bequeathed to Rachel from her uncle (who stole it when he was a young soldier) on his death. The story unfolds through several narrators, all of whom know a piece of what happened. As each of them writes his or her side of the story, the reader gets just a little more information that helps to solve the mystery. Considered to be the first detective mystery, The Moonstone by Wilkie Collins offers a glimpse into the times it was written-the 1860s. It was published serially, with new pieces of the story unfolding one section at a time for around six months. It reveals the understandings held about English ladies and gentleman, especially the thought that no well brought up young man or woman could ever commit a crime. It touches on a common occurrence at the time, the looting of jewels by English soldiers from temples in India. And, it's fun to read once you get into the rhythm of Collins's writing style (writers at the time were paid by the word, so you won't find sparse descriptions and conversations here). Each narrator brought a different perspective and style that was refreshing, and each break kept the story moving in unexpected ways. My daughter and I both found it fun to guess what had happened the night of the theft and in the days following it. My guesses were invariably wrong, but that didn't stop me from developing new theories as the story progressed. My daughter's guess about the culprit was right, although neither of us anticipated some of the twists and turns The Moonstone took before the mystery was actually resolved. The Moonstone is longer reading for mother-daughter book clubs, but it is easily divided into two separate sections that can be discussed at two different meetings. Groups could read The Loss of the Diamond, then gather to discuss their theories about what happened. They could also write predictions down and compare them to what actually happened during the rest of the book when they meet again. I recommend The Moonstone for reading groups with girls aged 14 and up.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Bought for Book Club; found hard to read author's circuitous style; planned to serialize in newspaper; kept waiting for plot to get better, but it didn't.
Guest More than 1 year ago
it starts off really really really slow.. but after a few hundred pages it picks up pace and gets into the plot.
Anonymous 7 months ago
Pads into a beutiful feild and calls "Lakesurge! You told me to come here!"
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Great characters, storytelling and more.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Alec, calm down.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Vic, deliver this. I need to get to camp. *With another glare at Alec, he left.*
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Thank you, Hephaestus. C'mon Ryan. Let's go.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
"I will. I promise." She whispered and padded away.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Redfur you must unite with Hawk to save Hazle and Day if not great fears come upon and all will be red. Redfure finds himself on a redrock looking over everything ot looks normal the all is red. Goodbye Redfur.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Here, remember Goldenstar? ~&real &hearts~