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
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.
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!