Wednesday, 13 January 2016

The Moonstone by Wilkie Collins

The Moonstone, a priceless Indian diamond which had been brought to England as spoils of war, is given to Rachel Verrinder on her eighteenth birthday. That very night, the stone is stolen. 

Suspicion then falls on a hunchbacked housemaid, on Rachel's cousin Franklin Blake, on a troupe of mysterious Indian jugglers, and on Rachel herself.

The phlegmatic Sergeant Cuff is called in, and with the help of Betteredge, the Robinson Crusoe-reading loquacious steward, the mystery of the missing stone is ingeniously solved.

When I read The Woman in White by Wilkie Collins I loved it. In fact, it is up there with my all time favourite books. Consequently, I think I perhaps expected too much from this book as The Woman in White was a very hard act to follow.

This is a multi narrative account with the story being told by various characters. Now, I often find that this enhances a book for me as I like to read the story from different points of view. However, with this book it created a problem for me basically because I could not find much differentiation between the voices.

I liked some of the characters though; particularly those of Gabriel Betteredge, a long standing servant in the Verrinder household and the aptly named, Seargeant Cuff who is called in to investigate the missing diamond. Of all the characters telling the story, these were the only two which I could engage with and who stood out slightly from the other narratives due to their respective loves of Robinson Crusoe and the growing of roses.

Well, here is a case of our old friend 'subjectivity' rearing his head again because I know some people who have raved about this book. Have any of you read this? If so, then please let me know what you thought of it. If you haven't read, it then do give it a go and let me know what you thought.

ISBN: 978-1853260445

Publisher: Wordsworth Classics

Price: £1.99

About the Author:

Wilkie Collins was born on 8 January 1824 and died on 23 September 1889.
In those 65 years he wrote 30 novels, more than 60 short stories, at least 14 plays, and more than 100 non-fiction pieces.

A close friend of Charles Dickens from their meeting in March 1851 until Dickens's death in June 1870, Collins was one of the best known, best loved, and, for a time, best paid of Victorian fiction writers. But after his death, his reputation declined as Dickens's bloomed. 

Now, Collins is being given more critical and popular attention than he has for fifty years. Most of his books are in print - and all are now in e-text - he is studied widely, and new film, television and radio versions of some of his books have been made. All his known letters have been published. And new book length studies of his work or life appear frequently. But there is still much to be discovered about this superstar of Victorian fiction.

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