Newest Review: ... that you do not expect much from and usually the ones that you enjoy the most. 'The Moonstone' is such a book. The book has been des... more
'The Moonstone' by Wilkie Collins - An Underrated Classic
The Moonstone - Wilkie Collins
Member Name: mogget
The Moonstone - Wilkie Collins
Advantages: Has lots of twists and turns, surprises you constantly, and is incredibly easy to read
Disadvantages: The perpetrator of the crime is nearly impossible to guess
One of the things that I love the most about 'The Moonstone' is how underrated it is. It does not feature predominantly in any list of classic literature, despite being exceedingly enjoyable and innovative. Even among Wilkie Collins's own works, 'The Woman in White' is probably the more well known of the two. This is surprising to me, as though I enjoyed 'The Woman in White' immensely, 'The Moonstone' has always been a particular favourite of mine. This is perhaps due to the fact that I picked it up not knowing much about it and not expecting very much from it - I generally tend to find that the books that you do not expect much from and usually the ones that you enjoy the most. 'The Moonstone' is such a book.
The book has been described as 'the first ever detective novel', and indeed, this is basically true. The plot revolves around a valuable and supposedly cursed diamond that falls into the possession of a young woman, Rachel, on her 18th birthday. However, the diamond is not in her possession for long before it goes missing, which is when the story truly becomes a detective novel, though not as one may suppose. This is no Agatha Christie, nor an Arthur Conan Doyle mystery - while in those novels, the crime is at the centre of the book, in 'The Moonstone' we are made to feel that it is the characters that are important and that it is they who we should be trying to figure out. This is done particularly well with each chapter of the book being written from a different viewpoint - yet another feature of which Collins was the first to use. The focus on character is also preferable, considering that perpetrator of the crime is almost impossible to deduce - one can guess, of course, but that guess would be based on nothing more than a random choice. In other words, what I mean to say is that one should just sit back and allow the novel to flow over you, and enjoy it without treating the novel as your stereotypical 'whodunnit'.
Another reason why I was so surprised and delighted with 'The Moonstone' comes from the fact that Collins was a contemporary - and indeed, a friend - of Charles Dickens. While Dickens is indisputably a master of his art, I have always found him singularly long-winded and difficult to read. Not so, Wilkie Collins. It was almost astonishing to me just how easy the novel was to read. So much so, that it could almost have been written in modern day. This being the case, it did not take me long at all to finish the book, and have a wonderful time doing so.
It is for this reason that I strongly urge you to pick up 'The Moonstone'. I assure you that you will not only enjoy it, but will be surprised at just how enjoyable and readable it is.
Summary: A must read for anyone who enjoys detective fiction