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The Moonstone | [Wilkie Collins]

The Moonstone

T.S. Eliot described The Moonstone as "the first and the greatest English detective novel". The stone of the title is an enormous diamond plundered from an Indian shrine after the Siege of Seringapatam. Given to Miss Verinder on her 18th birthday, it mysteriously disappears that very night. Suspicion falls on three Indian jugglers who have been seen in the neighbourhood.
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Publisher's Summary

T.S. Eliot described The Moonstone as "the first and the greatest English detective novel".

The stone of the title is an enormous diamond plundered from an Indian shrine after the Siege of Seringapatam. Given to Miss Verinder on her 18th birthday, it mysteriously disappears that very night. Suspicion falls on three Indian jugglers who have been seen in the neighbourhood.

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What Members Say

Average Customer Rating

3.9 (477 )
5 star
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3.9 (288 )
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4.2 (282 )
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3 star
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2 star
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1 star
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Performance
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  •  
    Neil Chisholm Buninyong, Australia 10-25-12
    Neil Chisholm Buninyong, Australia 10-25-12 Member Since 2011

    "fabric artist and quilter"

    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Kept me guessing"

    This is reputed to be the first ever whodonit mystery written and as a detective novel it was great. It is not now my favourite genre - I have in my time read many of Agatha Christie's and other such mysteries and this is up there with the best of them. However, after listening to A Lady in White I was fully expecting a more gothic setting and as such the book was a bit disappointing.

    A similar format was employed by Wilkie Collins' in that different sections of the book were spoken by different characters such as the butler, the inspector, dinner party guests etc. However, unlike the version of A Lady in White that I heard where there were both a male and female narrator were used, in this Peter Jeffery read both male and female characters. He did a good job but it lacked the drama I expected.

    I did enjoy it, I didn't guess the thief and it was very entertaining. Recommended to those that enjoy whodonits and want to hear the one that started it all.

    2 of 2 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Fara Longmont, CO, United States 11-15-14
    Fara Longmont, CO, United States 11-15-14 Member Since 2015
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    "Some of the best narration Anywhere. Ever."
    What did you love best about The Moonstone?

    Quite apart from having an ingenious plot, this story is brimming with characters you will either come to love or come to love to loathe! Peter Jeffrey's narration is simply brilliant.


    Did the plot keep you on the edge of your seat? How?

    The plot kept me guessing the whole time.


    Which character – as performed by Peter Jeffrey – was your favorite?

    Like the great Cuff, I would go into service and work for Gabriel Betteredge if Peter Jeffrey were playing him. The book is worth the price of admission just to hear Betteredge talk about himself. Miss Clack is deliciously hateful.


    Any additional comments?

    This is a story you can listen to over and over again with the same enjoyment as you had the first time you heard it.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Amy 07-30-13
    Amy 07-30-13 Member Since 2007

    Say something about yourself!

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    "A many-layered treat worth savoring more than once"

    This is a classic for a reason. Despite its impressive length, the listener doesn't want it to end. (Well, this one didn't, at any rate.)

    At its heart, this is a mystery story - the first great detective novel, in fact - centered on the question of the theft of the moonstone. (This layers irony upon irony, as it is stolen no less than four times - and, for that matter, the tale is built on the original theft of the stone by a British officer from its native Indian setting.) Collins skillfully builds the novel upon the foundations of the real-life Constance Kent murder case of 1860, basing the police inspector, Sergeant Cuff, on the living model of Detective Inspector Jonathan 'Jack' Whicher. He also captures some of the burgeoning method and mindset of forensic science through the theories and experiments of his character Mr. Candy.

    What sets this novel apart, beyond its claim to many "firsts," is the remarkable multi-layered texture of the tale. Collins uses a variety of narrators - male and female, highborn and lowly, of various ethnic and racial backgrounds - to convey his story, and he shows remarkable sympathy and sensitivity in writing about the outcast and marginalized characters as well as the mainstream and traditional ones. The Moonstone may be a read as a work of social criticism, an indictment of imperialism and the white man's (or woman's) burden, and a commentary on a crucial moment in intellectual history in which custom, faith, superstition, prejudice, reason, and science were colliding in a particularly powerful way. Even Collins's minor characters and asides are weighty and thought-provoking.

    The Moonstone outsold Great Expectations by Dickens when it was originally published, and it's easy to see why. As a novel - not simply a detective novel, or a Victorian novel, or an English novel - it holds up extremely well to multiple modern readings/listenings.

    Peter Jeffrey's narration is as flawless as they come. He manages to distinguish many characters' voices from each other with seeming effortlessness, and he fills his reading with warmth and humor, dread and pathos at all the perfect places. I simply can't recommend this highly enough.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Katherine Mason, OH, United States 07-02-13
    Katherine Mason, OH, United States 07-02-13 Member Since 2010

    I love to read mysteries, histories, biographies, humor, and Jane Austen.

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    "Inventing a genre"

    I enjoyed listening to this, though I found it a bit slow sometimes. Didn't realize this was basically the first detective story ever written. As a detective story, it seemed a bit thin, but then again it's hard to get everything right when you are inventing a genre! I've also read that Collin's description of laudanum addiction is remarkably accurate. The reader is excellent. For folks who enjoy 19th century literature, be sure to give this one a listen - you will enjoy it.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Janice Sugar Land, TX, United States 12-05-12
    Janice Sugar Land, TX, United States 12-05-12 Member Since 2010

    Rating scale: 5=Loved it, 4=Liked it, 3=Ok, 2=Disappointed, 1=Hated it. I look for well developed characters, compelling stories.

    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Mystery novel's ancestor"

    When reading The Moonstone, it might be useful to remember the time in which it was written, and think of Victorian decor - lots of florals, stuffed cushions, and knick-knacks. The concept of "less is more" simply doesn't exist. That will prepare you for Wilkie Collins' writing style which is also a product of its time. Economy of expression does not exist, but if you can forgive the verbosity and appreciate the characters and the plot, you may enjoy this ancestor of the mystery novels genre. Personally I had mixed feelings - sometimes enraptured by the excellent character development (Mr. Betteridge and Miss Clack being especially well drawn) and then frustrated by repetition and irrelevancies. If I had not listened to it on Audble, because of the excessive descriptiveness I would have either skimmed past the wordier sections or possibly given up altogether. But the excellent reading kept me engaged.

    Judged by todays mystery/thriller standards, it is tame and overly complicated. Lives don't hang in the balance, clues are not left out in the open for the reader to be able to solve the crime along with the characters. If it had been written today with the same overstuffed style, I would rate it lower than a four, but I could clearly see the forerunner of Sherlock Holmes and of the English "cozy" mysteries in this story and appreciated it for what it was. Readers expecting action and thrills will not be so satisfied.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Swashbuckle 04-06-15
    Swashbuckle 04-06-15 Member Since 2014
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    "Beautifully read"

    This book is one of the most beautifully read audio books I have heared in a long time, a great and we'll written story, if a little rambling at times, it's clear why this is considered a classic. However it's Peter Jeffrey who re-envigorates it with such perfect character interpretation.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Nicole 01-03-15
    Nicole 01-03-15 Member Since 2013
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    "Good Story Line but really long"
    Would you recommend this book to a friend? Why or why not?

    No, the book is too long


    Which character – as performed by Peter Jeffrey – was your favorite?

    The humble house servant who like Robinson Crusoe.


    Was The Moonstone worth the listening time?

    no


    Any additional comments?

    not a bad book, just really long

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Jennifer 08-19-14
    Jennifer 08-19-14 Member Since 2013
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    "Quite the Intrigue"
    Would you listen to The Moonstone again? Why?

    I do plan to listen again. It was a fantastically woven story. I have to say, it really had me guessing and reevaluating right up until near the end. There were so many threads to follow, and many interesting characters to try to figure out. It was quite the tangled intrigue. It's almost difficult to talk about without many spoilers, so without divulging, let it suffice that it kept me gripped. I thought I'd been developing a knack for cracking whodunits pre-reveal, but this one was well beyond my powers. As it turns out, this is probably the earliest of what I'd deem a detective novel, and was distinct in character from my usual mystery favorites by the later writers like Conan Doyle and Christie. Some aspects struck me as a bit sensational, too fantastic, like the myth surrounding the stone and deadly foreigners come for revenge and to return their relic... but other parts of the story-line were perfectly down to earth and believable, like the maid's story of unrequited love. Not my usual type of mystery novel at all, but well worth the read.


    Who was your favorite character and why?

    Definitely the detective. I felt rather sorry for Inspector Cuff, how things were turning out, after all of his work and sound theories.


    What does Peter Jeffrey bring to the story that you wouldn’t experience if you just read the book?

    I don't know if I could have tackled this book in print form, it might have been a bit tedious. With the narration, it helped keep track of players, and brought it more to life.


    Was this a book you wanted to listen to all in one sitting?

    Well, I might have if I could, but it was too long, and there weren't enough free hours in my day.


    Any additional comments?

    I recently read the non-fictional Suspicions of Mr. Whicher, which tells the story of a sensationalized murder in 1860 and the investigation and fallout. Remarkably, as I was reading, the thought occurred to me that many of the events, characters, and suggestions sounded familiar, like a plot out of a book- like the Moonstone. "Suspicions" later went on to mention the author Collins and his writings, and how his novel and many other new "detective" stories of the day were drawing from the headlines and that crime. Gave an interesting new perspective. I liked the fictionalized goings-on better, in the end.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Wayne 05-15-14
    Wayne 05-15-14 Member Since 2015
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    "Very interesting characters."

    The audio performance my Mr. Jeffrey was amazing. There are a lot of good audio performers out there. Some are excellent confined to their genre. Mr Jeffrey (who is also a renowned actor) is like a Kevin Spacey of audio. You know he could do anything well.

    The story plot, following the simple theft of The Moonstoon, is dramatized by characters that are so quirky and real we can almost touch them.

    It's amazing the story still works almost 150 years later. A bow to the late great Mr. Wilkie Collins.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Janet Casper, WY, United States 04-06-14
    Janet Casper, WY, United States 04-06-14 Member Since 2012
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    "Intriguing story, fine performance"
    Would you consider the audio edition of The Moonstone to be better than the print version?

    The audio gave a real flavor of the different characters' speech patterns and dialects, and added to their sense of personality.


    Which character – as performed by Peter Jeffrey – was your favorite?

    Mr. Jeffrey did a marvelous job with all the characters. This was vital to this story, since it is told from different people's points of view. Each character sounded totally genuine.


    Did you have an extreme reaction to this book? Did it make you laugh or cry?

    A few characters certainly made me laugh, mostly because they were so totally unaware of their flaws and foibles. This humor made a nice break from the suspense, while adding to the depth of the story. But at the same time, a few characters lead almost tragic lives, and Collins shed light on how hard it is when we feel genuine sympathy but are unable to help.


    Any additional comments?

    A terrific story, with lots of plot twists and cliff hangers from it's original serial format. Although some characters voiced typical Victorian attitudes, overall Collins shared a remarkably modern sensibility, enouraging us to never judge people by their background or appearances.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
Sort by:
  • Ms. Kay Fenton
    East Sussex
    1/1/14
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "Compulsive listening"
    What did you like most about The Moonstone?

    Exciting mystery well read.


    Any additional comments?

    Old fashioned language which still grips. Little bit long winded on some chapters.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  • Martin
    Poulton-le-Fylde, United Kingdom
    1/13/12
    Overall
    "Extremely well narrated but slow in sections."

    Peter Jeffrey is a superb actor the different characters are very plausible and read with a great feeling for the work which was in parts very well written, however there was a section in the book which was soporific and of little value to the plot-so just three from me!

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  • Mr. Brenhden T. Seago
    Bristol, UK
    4/4/11
    Overall
    "My first Audio book"

    I drive a lot so this was a great way to pass the endless motorway hours. The story is slow but excellent and the voice acting is absolutely first class. The only issue I had with this audio book is that the it seems very quiet and lacking in middle and treble so I had to turn it up to max volume whilst turning the bass right down. Overall I would recommend this audio book to anyone who likes likes detective novels and Victorian England.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  • Danuta
    Shell CoveAustralia
    8/14/10
    Overall
    "A relaxing listen"

    I found the narrators voice very soothing and pleasant to listen to. An old classic that is still worth listening to. It may be a little dated but I thoroughly enjoyed this mystery story.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  • Stephen
    Rowlands Gill,, United Kingdom
    3/30/09
    Overall
    "PoMo before the Post Moderns"

    Before the Post Modernists became dated they would have looked to this novel as a early example of much that they set out to achieve. Multiple points of view, shifts in time, location and narrative voice, a juxtaposition between the various narrators, the authorial voice and the reader. All of these elements work?.but at some cost. The cost being some rather lengthy passages in the middle of this novel that seemed to me to take ?us? nowhere and lead us up and down some rather quaint, ivy and dust covered garden paths before leading us back to the Shivering Sands. I?m still at a complete loss as to what exactly Drusilla Clack brings to this novel other than some very funny tract titles

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  • Mirium
    SAFFRON WALDEN, Essex, United Kingdom
    3/24/09
    Overall
    "First-class"

    A first-class reading of an old favourite. The story rambles on a bit compared to modern detective fiction, but when it's writing as good as this, who cares? Peter Jeffrey's voices and accents are spot on.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  • Philippa
    Wells, Somerset, United Kingdom
    2/6/09
    Overall
    "Excellent period piece, brilliantly read"

    The audiobook is convincingly read by one voice but each section is delivered in a different accent and manner to represent the very diverse characters who contribute to the story. The book has a slow moving plot but it is full of authentic period detail and the subtle ironic humour of the author is brillianty brought to life by the reader.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  • John
    FukuokaJapan
    11/20/08
    Overall
    "Fantastic audiobook"

    As everyone says, this is a wonderful audiobook, perfect from every point of view. I'm sure Wilkie Collins himself would have enjoyed listening to it!

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  • Mrs. S. F. Di Milo
    Southern Uk
    3/6/15
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "Excellent story telling"

    What a fabulous tale! I could not help but giggle at the different narrators

    I found the reader very good at altering his characters, and grew fond of Betteridge. miss clack was hilarious! With her kinky distribution of her tracts!

    The mystery unravels wonderfully to a satisfying ending.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • J
    London, United Kingdom
    7/2/13
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "Very well-read, funny, but a bit repetitive."
    Where does The Moonstone rank among all the audiobooks you’ve listened to so far?

    This was a very good audiobook. There is a lot of humour in the novel and it's really more interesting as a comic study on personalities than as a mystery novel, as the mystery does move quite slowly. The reader is very, very good, and is very convincing as different characters.


    How would you have changed the story to make it more enjoyable?

    The novel is overly-long and characters end up repeating things to one another until you wish it would move along. Though I'm not a big fan of abridgements I think in this case it might actually be a good thing.


    Which character – as performed by Peter Jeffrey – was your favourite?

    Gabriel Betteredge


    Was this a book you wanted to listen to all in one sitting?

    This is too long and too slow to really listen to continuously.


    Any additional comments?

    Well-worth a listen, as the characters are very enjoyable, but if you lose interest easily and are generally more interested in fast-paced novels then give it a miss. The reader cannot be faulted.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful

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