The Moonstone by Wilkie Collins

by on May 12, 2019 under , , ,

Cozy up, because this mystery will throw you for a loop in its cast of unreliable narrators and unexpected turn of events. In 600 pages or so, it took me nearly a month to finish this one. I’m a slow reader because of my sight but I don’t regret it.

Truthfully, I haven’t read any classic mystery novels except for Sherlock Holmes. I am not a fan, a Sherlockian. I am just an enthusiast, really. Sure I have the complete set of short stories and novels… Just an enthusiast. We’re not talking about him here. We’re talking about this mystery, The Moonstone.

However, I have been making the intention to read as many classic mystery novels in 2019 before heading towards today’s favourites. And so what’s a good way to be introduced to this particular classic, The Moonstone, that has been acclaimed as a mystery ahead of its time, 10 years before Sherlock Holmes existed.

And this novel isn’t very short. And a considerable epic for me. And it wasn’t a bore at all what with the deduction techniques, the romance, the drama and finally, the question that will be answered, “Where is the bloody Moonstone?” 

Considering it was done in the 1800s, this novel took upon several, I would like to say, unreliable narrators in telling the deduction to finding the Moonstone. Everything in the story surrounds the Yellow Diamond. Nothing has nothing to do with the Moonstone. It was because of the Moonstone that lovers break and people die and things get pretty messy. That Moonstone is a curse.

If I were to compare the story, I would compare it closely to a Korean drama. This book is very sanguine, very sociable. Through its many narrators, some of which are somewhat unreliable and unintentionally humorous, we see the many people moving along just to know the existence of the Moonstone.

A nicely planned and well paced story. Just a little melodramatic for me but perhaps it was done in design considering it was done in the Victorian era.

The novel is broken into 11 parts (1 Prologue, 9 Narrators, 1 Epilogue). Yups you don’t get much views from just one protagonist. But the main cast in the novel is that of Franklin Blake and his lover cousin, Rachel Verinder. And in a span of one year, the Moonstone has been missing. There wasn’t really much sense of urgency in finding the Moonstone. I mean like no one going bankrupt over it. Thus, the Korean drama which focuses a lot of the romance side and the relationships of people that was connected to the Moonstone.

I had of course expected a suspenseful story because it started as that, like an Indiana Jones kina thing because it was done in exotic India and then there was some slight action with the Indians who wanted their Moonstone back. But other than that, the only action you would get is simply their dramatics.

But what kept me going was the interesting unreliable narrators in how they convey the events of the Moonstone and their own personality and of course breaking the page many times, talking to the readers here and there. It was assuming. I particularly enjoyed the character Gabrielle Betteredge that takes upon ROBINSON CRUSOE as his almost a holy book, citing passages within it.

The story was simple but it was the dramatics of the people that was enjoyable. There was very little deduction done. I was disappointed that Sergeant Cuff didn’t have much like a big scene like a typical modern day novel detective. But I was impressed by his conclusions and I enjoy his personality too, who gave Betteredge the ‘Detective-fever’ ever so often.

But it was interesting in how they were willing to reconstruct a crime scene, that is possible in the modern day.

Many times too the author deliberately put plenty of red herrings, casting my suspicions here and there. Very nicely done too. There were so many suspects. So many possibilities. But it got quite tensed as the story comes closer to the truth at the end.

I would definitely love to own this book and re-read again. Took me almost a month to finish reading this one, reading the one on the public domain.

But it was quite a ride. Considering it was written in the 1800s. Slightly disappointed with the investigation part but I enjoyed the relationships surrounding the mystery of the diamond. So I learn mystery need not just be about the finding part but can also revolve around the people whose mysteries of characters we get to uncover as we try to find the whereabouts of the Diamond.

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