Sunday, 16 December 2012

The Moonstone by Wilkie Collins

This is the third time I read The Moonstone. The first time I was in school and this was one of the first ever mysteries I read and, second time at least a decade later. The second time I didn't remember who did it. But now I do remember who did it? So will I enjoy as much as I enjoyed it this the first two times?

The story starts with a letter on how the Moonstone got into the hands of Herncastle in the battle in Seringapatnam (Srirangapatnam) in India where a dying Indian proclaims

“The Moonstone will have its vengeance yet on you and yours!"

and the letter writer believes that

“It is my conviction, or my delusion, no matter which, that crime brings its own fatality with it.”

The infamous Moonstone is left as a birthday present for Miss.Rachel Verinder by her uncle Herncastle. Three Indians have traced the Moonstone to Verinder's House in Yorkshire. Miss Verinder wears the Moonstone proudly on her birthday in a large party. The next morning the Moonstone is missing. Who took the moonstone? The Indians seems to have not been involved in he theft. It looks like an inside job. So who among the residents both guests, and servants have taken the Moonstone. The suspicion moves from one to another before finally solved.

The story is made up of different narratives by people who were important eyewitness to the events, yet not the parties directly involved. Gabriel Betteredge, Verinder's house-steward, narrates the first part. Betteredge is obsessed with Robinson Crusoe and believes that it contains answers to all human problems. Betteredge's narrative has many false starts before it gets into the stride. This is an interesting approach on how to start a story and how somebody who is not a professional may write a story. There is humour throughout the story. Sergeant Cuff, the detective from Scotland Yard, with his passion for roses, investigates the case and makes predictions that come true.

As I started reading it, I realised that I don't remember much about the story, which is a good thing because lots of things did catch me by surprise. It's an enjoyable reread. A classic mystery worth revisiting. No wonder great writers have celebrated this book as the best detective story in the world. The Moonstone published in 1868, is available in the public domain and can be downloaded from many websites including Gutenberg, Amazon and Ibooks.

1 comment:

Kelly @ Reading the Paranormal said...

Srivalli! This review was chosen by as one of the winners for the December Why Buy the Cow? reading challenge. If you would like to claim the prize, please e-mail me. If I don’t get a response from you in 48 hours, a new winner will be selected. TY for participating!