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The Moonstone

The Moonstone

4.4 40
by Wilkie Collins

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Stolen from the forehead of a Hindu idol, the dazzling gem known as "The Moonstone" resurfaces at a birthday party in an English country home — with an enigmatic trio of watchful Brahmins hot on its trail. Laced with superstitions, suspicion, humor, and romance, this 1868 mystery draws readers into a compelling tale with numerous twists and turns.


Stolen from the forehead of a Hindu idol, the dazzling gem known as "The Moonstone" resurfaces at a birthday party in an English country home — with an enigmatic trio of watchful Brahmins hot on its trail. Laced with superstitions, suspicion, humor, and romance, this 1868 mystery draws readers into a compelling tale with numerous twists and turns.

Editorial Reviews

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."
From the Publisher
"The first and greatest of English detective novels."
—T. S. Eliot

Product Details

Dover Publications
Publication date:
Dover Thrift Editions Series
Sales rank:
Product dimensions:
5.20(w) x 8.20(h) x 1.10(d)
Age Range:
11 Years

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

What People are Saying About This

From the Publisher

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

Meet the Author

William Wilkie Collins was born in London in 1824, the eldest son of a successful painter, William Collins. He studied law and was admitted to the bar but never practiced his nominal profession, devoting his time to writing instead. His first published book was a biography of his father, his second a florid historical romance. The first hint of his later talents came with Basil (1852), a vivid tale of seduction, treachery, and revenge.

In 1851 Collins had met Charles Dickens, who would become his close friend and mentor. Collins was soon writing unsigned articles and stories for Dickens’s magazine, Household Words, and his novels were serialized in its pages. Collins brought out the boyish, adventurous side of Dickens’s character; the two novelists traveled to Italy, Switzerland, and France together, and their travels produced such lighthearted collaborations as “The Lazy Tour of Two Idle Apprentices.” They also shared a passion for the theater, and Collins’s melodramas, notably “The Frozen Deep,” were presented by Dickens’s private company, with Dickens and Collins in leading roles.

Collins’s first mystery novel was Hide and Seek (1853). His first popular success was The Woman in White (1860), followed by No Name (1862), Armadale (1866), and The Moonstone (1868), whose Sergeant Cuff became a prototype of the detective hero in English fiction. Collins’s concentration on the seamier side of life did not endear him to the critics of his day, but he was among the most popular of Victorian novelists. His meticulously plotted, often violent novels are now recognized as the direct ancestors of the modern mystery novel and thriller.

Collins’s private life was an open secret among his friends. He had two mistresses, one of whom bore him three children. His later years were marred by a long and painful eye disease. His novels, increasingly didactic, declined greatly in quality, but he continued to write by dictating to a secretary until 1886. He died in 1889.

Brief Biography

Date of Birth:
December 8, 1824
Date of Death:
September 23, 1889
Place of Birth:
London, England
Place of Death:
London, England
Studied law at Lincoln¿s Inn, London

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The Moonstone (Illustrated + link to download FREE audiobook + Active TOC) 4.4 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 40 reviews.
angie1984 More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
So cool!,
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.
Anonymous 9 months ago
Ran in panting. Im here. (((Sorry im late i got lost)))
Anonymous 9 months ago
She padded in and waited for Falconstar
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Relatable res1-12
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
*walks in, wearing grungy clothes that don't really hide the bulge in his pants*
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
She wait for a super hot guy to walk in and fu.ck her or make her a se.x slave
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Have fun guys and enjoy the party
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Moonpaw climbed into the cave filled with the glowing crystals. She felt her way past the rocks, managing to not snag her pads on the sharp edges of stone. The blind apprentice padded over to her mentor, using Lapis's scent and warmth as a guide. "I wish I could see them for real," she murmured. The gray-furred she cat could see the glinting crystals only when she shared tongues with StarClan.
Stevec50 More than 1 year ago
Next to his, The Woman in White, this is probably the best known novel by Wilkie Collins. Called by some the first 'modern English detective novel'. Collins' creation, Sergeant Cuff is the ancestor of all the police detectives that followed. Cuff has his own procedures and a record that leads him to be one of the most successful men working in his occupation. The book opens with a chapter revealing the history of 'the moonstone' and how it came into the hands of a member of the Verinder family. Long cursed and protected by priests in India, its protectors follow the stone for decades to England intent on retrieving it and returning it to its rightful place. When the man responsible for the stone coming to England dies, his will states the diamond should be given to his niece on her eighteenth birthday. That very night the stone is removed from its hiding place and Sgt. Cuff is called in to retrieve it. As usual in such tales, things are not always as they appear and not everyone is willing to help in the diamond being recovered. The novel is told from the perspective of a number of people involved in the case, from the innocent to the guilty. Not only do we follow Cuff in his investigation, but also discover why the case proves much more difficult than anyone would have foreseen. Several years after the incidents related in the narrative take place a member of the family wants a record made of what took place and, if possible, why they did. It's easy to see why Collins was so popular in his day and why the novel remains a classic.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
A great detective novel which some characters are still revelent to today.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Alec, calm down.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
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
RedReadSD More than 1 year ago
I have read other books by Wilkie Collins and found them to be acceptable, not great but not too bad. 'The Moonstone' was on a list of books that everyone should read, so I was expecting it to be exceptional. I was severely disappointed. The story is told in sections, each section is written by a different character, each relating the events from their perspective. Set in the 1840's (when it was written) the language may be a hurdle for anyone that is not familiar with that era. I was comfortable with the language and the era however the story seemed to drag on forever. The characters were very one-sided and not very likable. Some things were described in complete detail, when no detail was needed, while other things and scenes were not described well at all, leaving me trying to picture who was where. If you want to read a 'classic' mystery just so you can say you have read it, this may be the book for you. If you want a good mystery that draws you in, a story that you can become emotionally invested in the outcome, you should pass on this one.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Because. Its kind of hard to explain.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Cruddy. I'M sick again.
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