The Moonstone – Wilkie Collins

A stone is stolen from an Indian idol. It is a religious icon. The man who stole it has been snubbed by his family, yet he leaves it to his niece in his will. The Moonstone though carries with it a danger, it is wanted by followers of the Indian religious order it was stolen from. The niece has received the gem for her 21st birthday, but it has been lost. The Indians who were on the trail are not the ones to have taken it…there is more to this family and their staff than it first seems…

It’s more interesting than I have described. The narrator at the moment is the butler of the family home. He is a reader of Robinson Crusoe and uses it as a guide to life’s problems. Interesting, I shall have to find out why the infatuation with Crusoe – was there some feud between Collins and Defoe. The story at the moment is concentrating on the family home and the search for the gem amongst the inmates, both above- and below-stairs. A detective novel of sorts…but now the detective has been dismissed from the case. Interesting that the family just hire a police detective to solve the case, but can just pull him from it on a whim. When did that all change?

The narration duties are shared amongst the key characters…and characters they are, quirky and very likeable…it is a good story and it works. All the loose ends are resolved and everyone is happy, or most at least. I was sorry it ended as it was such an enjoyable read.

Well written, and well paced, it does make me wonder at times how they used to teach writers in those days…modern writers could learn a thing or two from these classics. But having said that maybe there was a large amount of rubbish then too, it’s just the good stuff that has survived. With luck the Harry Potters of now won’t survive into the next century.

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