"The Moonstone will have its vengeance yet on you and yours!"
Stolen from a Hindoo shrine by an Englishman, the Moonstone is a large yellow diamond with a curse on it--a promise of "certain disaster to the presumptuous mortal who laid hands on the sacred gem, and to all his house and name who received it after him." Upon his death, the Englishman leaves it to his niece, Rachel Verinder, in his will. It is presented to her by her cousin, Mr. Franklin Blake, on her birthday. Twelve hours later the diamond disappears. What follows is the mystery of the Moonstone.
T.S. Eliot called this novel, "The first, the longest and the best of the modern English detective novels." This mystery is a great example of Victorian fiction. Each section is narrated by a different character who was witness to certain events surrounding the mystery, like the rambling Gabriel Betteridge, one of Lady Verinder's servants, and the tedious Miss Clack, Mr. Bruff, the straight-forward lawyer, and most important of all, Franklin Blake himself. (I enjoyed some narratives more than others, can you tell?) While I didn't love this book as much as I did Collins' The Woman in White, I did enjoy the many characters and the cautious unfolding of the mystery. Needless to say, at 446 pages this book is not a fast-paced page-turning thriller. It moves slow, but it's still a fun mystery. Wondering what really happened to the Moonstone kept me reading for 400+ pages. But then, I really like Wilkie Collins. I can't wait to read his novel, Armadale, next year.
P.S. If you've never read Wilkie Collins before I recommend reading The Woman in White first. It's my favorite (and his best).