17 November 2009

Book Review: Wilkie Collins

Title: The Moonstone
Author: Wilkie Collins
Published: 1999/1868 Pages: 466
Genre: Classic Literature, Detective Fiction

Buy  |  Borrow  |  Accept  |  Avoid

Plot Synopsis
A yellow diamond with a rich history is stolen from a young girl's bedroom. What follows is a whodunit of extraordinary detail and tone.

My Thoughts
Wilkie Collins' The Moonstone is widely regarded as the first piece of detective fiction. Including an intelligent, eccentric detective, a gem stolen after a party in a country manor, and of course opium, I can feel the beginnings of the popular and Gothic mystery in its pages.

But it isn't the original plot line that captivated me; it is the characters. The Moonstone contains some of the most intriguing characters I have ever read. From the humble servant Gabriel Betteredge to the prissy and self-righteous Drusilla Clack to the opium-addicted Ezra Jennings, these are people you want to know about, and they speak directly to you as The Moonstone is an epistolary novel with multiple characters recounting firsthand events in their unique tone of voice.

I won't go into detail on the plot as I would hate to spoil it for any readers, and I honestly believe these characters should be discovered through reading the novel. Plus, the other reviewers of this book have done a tremendous job introducing you to the plot and characters.

Memorable Scene: I can't get over the part in the beginning where Betteredge is describing how he chose his wife. He decided to marry the woman who kept house for him so that he didn't have to pay for her services. He believes "it will be cheaper to marry her than to keep her." Sexist but particularly hilarious to me because you can't help but love Betteredge.

Memorable Quote: Once self-supported by conscience, once embarked on a career of manifest usefulness, the true Christian never yields. Neither the public nor private influences produce the slightest effect on us, when we have once got our mission. Taxation may be the consequence of a mission; riots may be the consequence of a mission; wars may be the consequence of a mission; we go on with our work, irrespective of every human consideration which moves the world outside us. We are above reason; we are beyond ridicule; we see with nobody's eyes, we hear with nobody's ears, we feel with nobody's hearts, but our own. (This is my problem with religion stated quite succinctly).

Other Stops on the Tour for Wilkie Collins and The Moonstone

Kay's Bookshelf; Ooh...Books; Rose City Reader; Michelle's Masterful Musings;

Other Wilkie Collins Tour Stops can be found at The Classics Circuit

Other Reviews of The Moonstone
If I've missed yours, let me know.

things mean alot; Farmlane Books; A Guy's Moleskine Notebook; books i done read; A Striped Armchair; S. Krishna's Books

If you haven't yet read this book, I recommend running out and picking up a copy now!


  1. I too loved the characters! I though Betteredge's narration started to get long, but loved the Robinson Crusoe dependence every time he jumped in with something else to share...

  2. I can't wait to read this one.

  3. I loved (hated) the reason Betteredge chose to get married, and Clack, don't get me started on Clack. My tour stop was Thursday.


  4. These characters were the best. I loved The Moonstone!

  5. I loved The Woman in White, so I'm sure I'll be reading more Collins in the future. If I could just figure out when...

  6. I'd love to read this at some point. Glad you liked it!

  7. Everyone - I'm so happy so many people like Collins! I really thought I was the only one.


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