A lost diamond, a suicide, a love story… one-sided, a love story..unaccomplished, a love story..fake and motivated by self interests, a death, , an investigation put to shelf…. All this narrated by 11 different narrators is what Moonstone is!! Moonstone by Wikie Collins is considered one of the finest mystery novels of all time.
Rachel Verinder inherits the Moonstone from her uncle. Her cousin Frank Blake delivers it to her on her 18th Birthday. The moonstone is of great religious importance in India and three Hindu (spelled as Hindoo in the novel!!) priests have decided to recover it. They stalk anyone in possession of the Moonstone, disguised as jugglers. Blake knows this but still manages to give it away safely to Rachel.
Rachel proudly wear the stone to her Birthday Party and all guests are awed by it! She keeps it in her unlocked cupboard and it disappears overnight. Rest of it is investigating the theft/disappearance of Moonstone which is quite interesting!
The novel is narrated by multiple people present in the party or involved with the Verinders’. Longest narration is by the bailiff Gabriel Betteredge and Frank Blake.The events are meticulously detailed, especially by these two narrators. It’s set in Victorian Era of 1848, so the investigation is not hi-tech and the novel is not fast paced. It’s more about reflections of thought process of relevant parties as perceived by the narrators. Everyone observes something different and they rake their memories later to bring it all together.
Some parts are repeated, obviously they all talk about the same few hours, but from a different viewpoint. The book definitely engages the reader, but one needs to have enough patience to overcome the dragging bits of the book (very similar to Sherlock Holme’s novels). Nonetheless, writing is beautiful, something you expect from a classic from that age!
If you have a pallate for mystery novels (who doesn’t???), try this one for a different lingering flavour 🙂
“Your tears come easy, when you’re young, and beginning the world. Your tears come easy, when you’re old, and leaving it. I burst out crying.”
“Every human institution (Justice included) will stretch a little, if only you pull it in the right way.
“This is a miserable world”, says the Sergeant. “Human life, Mr. Betteredge, is a sort of target –misfortune is always firing at it, and always hitting the mark”.”
“see with nobody’s eyes, we hear with nobody’s ears, we feel with nobody’s hearts, but our own
“People in high life have all the luxuries to themselves – among others, the luxury of indulging their feelings. People in low life have no such privilege.