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Publisher's Summary

Upon inheriting the Moonstone, a huge and priceless diamond, Rachel Verinder's delight turns to dismay when the gem suddenly disappears. But this is no ordinary theft. Sergeant Cuff of Scotland Yard is called in and immediately suspects an intricate plot. However, not even his powers of detection can penetrate fully the mysteries surrounding the diamond. And as we listen to each character’s version of the events, layer upon layer of drama and suspense build to the final and astonishing denouement of this magnificent, classic English detective novel.

Public Domain (P)2014 Naxos AudioBooks

What members say

Average Customer Ratings

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  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

The very finest detective story ever written

That's not my opinion. That's Dorothy Sayers' verdict, the woman who gave us Lord Peter Wimsey. But more on that later.

I suppose you could read this novel as a critique of British Imperialism: the fabled Indian gem, the “Jewel in the Crown” if you will, becomes the source of scandal, revenge, ruined reputations and general unhappiness. Obviously, everyone is better off without it.

Or you could take the social justice angle. For all his faithful service, Gabriel Betteredge admits that those above stairs have the freedom to express emotions which those below stairs dare not reveal. The fisherman’s daughter, Limping Lucy, goes proto-feminist/socialist when she conceives that a young gentleman of quality has made poor Rosanna Spearman the plaything of an idle hour.

Nah. Why ruin a good thing by going all PC/intellectual/lit-crit? Better to stick with T. S. Eliot. The Moonstone is, "the first, the longest, and the best of modern English detective novels...in a genre invented by Collins and not by Poe". Or Dorothy Sayers: "probably the very finest detective story ever written". Or me: this is one of the most delightful, engaging and engrossing books you’ll ever hear.

As indicated by Old Possum, Poe has his partisans. But whoever wrote the Wikipedia article on Moonstone has it right. Collins introduced all the elements that would become standard fare in mystery tales until, I’m guessing, the advent of the hard-boiled school:

A country house setting
The inside job
Red herrings
Bungling local cops
A celebrated, skilled investigator
A large cast of false suspects
A least likely suspect
A reconstruction of the crime
The final, bravura plot twist

Because this first and best of all detective stories was written in the 1860’s, Moonstone is a fabulous composite. First, you get a full-blooded Victorian novel, with all the attractions the best of that breed of literature has to offer: elaborately crafted writing, intersecting story lines, living characters, engaging observations, wit, pathos, charm. Then, on top of all that, we have the country house, the bungling local constable, the false suspects, the red herrings and a perplexing mystery, one that I bet you’re not going to be able to crack before the final revelation.

As usual, the Naxos recording is superb. The full cast includes some of my favorite readers. And, given the way Collin’s constructed his novels—at least the two I’m now familiar with—a full cast is essential. The story is carried along by sequential narrators each keeping strictly to what they knew at the time of which they write. Each of their narratives deserves a voice actor dedicated to that part, giving it his or her all. As these different testimonies correlate or conflict, echoing and reverberating against each other, we get multiple points of view on almost every major character. The result is three-dimensional portraits that live and breathe.

While I don’t know a lot about Wilkie Collins I do know that he took laudanum (opium) to treat gout. Predictably, the treatment became an addiction and, after the death of his mentor Dickens in 1870, helped grease the skids of a general decline in Collins’ health and the quality of his literary output. In that light, the part laudanum plays in The Moonstone—and the descriptions of the effect of the drug on a man’s senses—make for some particularly solemn listening.

Final note: a story this long and complex is a special challenge as an audiobook. You can’t flip back through the last 300-some-odd pages to refresh your memory on details. But never fear. When previous testimony is alluded to, a note indicates the chapter in which that testimony appears. Don’t know if this was Collins’ doing or if the editors of this audiobook decided to leave us these helpful guideposts, but they are invaluable. Certainly not every point is covered, but the critical ones are.

8 of 8 people found this review helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

Be persistent

Would you listen to The Moonstone again? Why?

I read this when I was a teenager. This production is excellent. You just need to get thru the first 45 minutes, which seems a little tedious at first, but sets the scene and tone for the rest of book, which becomes increasingly engaging.

Well with the investment. Thanks to those who produced it (including Wilkie Collins :)

7 of 7 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
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    1 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

Great book, awful narration

GREAT book, but the second narrator (the old man narrating the part of the servant man) made me stop listening to this audio book, go to the Audible store, and buy the same book narrated by a different narrator. I'm sure he's a man of respect, and respectfully I say that his narration sounds like that of a drunken man. His pace and tone make it imposible to understand what he's saying 70% of the time during his narration, and his super slow pace creates a nuisance that doesn't excite the will in the reader to keep listening.
I wish I could have it refunded...

7 of 8 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars

Slow start but worth it

Would you listen to The Moonstone again? Why?

Yes, as I am sure I have missed some of the character build ups.

What did you like best about this story?

How it ended.

Which scene was your favorite?

When the main character was confronted about the stealing of the jewel by his hopefully future wife.

If you were to make a film of this book, what would the tag line be?

Never trust what you see.

Any additional comments?

Loved this book by the end.

3 of 3 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

Wilkie you sly fox!

Considered the first detective novel it delivers tenfold. Terrific cast. Exciting, frustrating, whodunit! Another winner.

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

I enjoyed this thoroughly - fun mystery

According to Wikipedia, The Moonstone "is considered the first modern English detective novel." Well, Collins set the bar high! It's a mystery where all your possible suspects are present from the beginning, and you can consider that just about anyone could be the one "whodunnit" - and that's the thing. Just about anyone could have, and you could think of a motive for just about anyone, or each one shows some strange behavior (with very few exceptions) and so you keep guessing. It's loads of fun. Some of the characters have enough eccentricities to make them entertaining - whether it is Gabriel Betteredge's love of Robinson Crusoe or Seargent Cuff's fondness for roses and his arguments with the gardener about them. The narration is superb, though I'm not certain that it was better by having multiple narrators rather than one. By having multiple narrators, the same character sounded different in different portions of the book. But each one did a great job, and I enjoyed every minute. Seargent Cuff reminded me a bit of Columbo - maybe the writer of the show was inspired by Seargent Cuff.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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    4 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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    3 out of 5 stars

Full Moonstone Shines!

The narration was well performed and suited perfectly to the form of the story. If you like a lengthy listen to a mystery set in the Victorian Era, this is your cup of tea. The plot is simple, with just enough twists to keep it interesting. however, like the era, the story drags under it˜s own weight in places,

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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    1 out of 5 stars
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    1 out of 5 stars

Terrible narration

Couldn't finish. The narrator is so bad it made me uninterested. Shame, it's supposably good.

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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

A 'sleuthy' mystery and hard won love story

Would you consider the audio edition of The Moonstone [Naxos AudioBooks Edition] to be better than the print version?

Superb narration sets the audio above the book version

What other book might you compare The Moonstone [Naxos AudioBooks Edition] to and why?

Most definitely, The Woman in White, Collins' best known novel.

Have you listened to any of the narrators’s other performances before? How does this one compare?

Why bother if you've found the best?

Was there a moment in the book that particularly moved you?

Franklin Blake's confrontation with Rachel is sweetly, beautifully, brutal.

Any additional comments?

Fenella Woolgar's interpretation of Drucilla Clak (SP) is despicably wonderful.

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

The Moonstone by Willkie Collins.

A facinating tale set in the time of the English reign in India. A story full of mystery and in language of the time of Charles Dickens.
It is a long story with so many people involved it takes you into the far east and into the countryside of England and back to Dickensian London. Wikie Collins was a fine writer. This book is well worth reading. I found it intriuging , a change of pace from todays world of detective novels, which I also enjoy to the fullest.
The readers were excellent. They really heloed draw you into the tale as it goes along.

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  • Harriet Lindsay
  • 10-22-15

Excellent and thrilling novel. Gripping from first to last.

Extremely well narrated throughout with one very very minor error (in my opinion). Betteridge's accent was not noticeably a regional accent which makes sense given his circumstances. However, when it comes to his daughter Penelope her accent, as quoted by 2 of the narrators, is markedly Yorkshire which does not make sense! As I say a very minor objection as her words are only spoken a couple of times. Apologies for being pedantic!

3 of 3 people found this review helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars
  • Steve Brown
  • 08-11-16

Funny, intriguing, poignant

The story is absorbing, but the real joys here are wonderfully drawn characters of the different narrators - especially the obnoxious and un-self aware hypocrite Miss Clack, and the lovable and loyal Betteridge.

Excellently read.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars
  • annie
  • 10-12-15

unexpected delight

What did you like most about The Moonstone?

the performance - each character reading their own 'chapters' added colour and character to the story

Who was your favorite character and why?

Each had their own qualities - though the epilogue 'policeman' was a special delight

What does the narrators bring to the story that you wouldn’t experience if you had only read the book?

As stated - helped engage me in the story

Any additional comments?

Slowish start but I am now a Wilkie Collins convert!

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
  • Nana L
  • 01-09-15

Wonderful

Equally as enjoyable as Woman in White. Great story, language delightful, narration perfect. Wonderful to listen to when wanting to relax.

3 of 4 people found this review helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
  • EFL
  • 12-30-14

The moonstone

Excellent, un-putdownable tale with fantastic performances from all readers, apart from the introduction.
Collins is brilliant. Would highly recommend.

3 of 5 people found this review helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
  • Dee
  • 05-11-18

best recommendation I have had<br /><br /><br />beautifully writt

beautifully written and highly absorbing story. far superior to the woman in white. nothing short of a masterpiece in my view

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    5 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
  • Roly
  • 03-04-17

A Stately Novel

This is a great story - a good mystery, that maintains suspense and with typically in depth Victorian characterisations and a surprising humour . I enjoyed the changing narrations and the detail that this style of novel provides. It's unlikely I would have had the time to read this - other than while travelling and on the move - a big plus for the utility of Audible !

  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
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    3 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars
  • Mrs M.
  • 07-06-15

Slow to start but gets gripping

I found the first few dozen chapters slow-moving; I may well have skim-read a written text, but the story did draw me in nevertheless so it is worth persevering and the ending is perfect.

1 of 2 people found this review helpful

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    1 out of 5 stars
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    1 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars
  • David Bailey
  • 04-13-15

Awful narration!

What would have made The Moonstone better?

Better narrator for second part of story.

Any additional comments?

There sadly comes a time in every actors life when age adversely affects their performance. The voice becomes thin, weedy and gurgled. Diction goes from precise to floppy and in this case a terrible sense of over wetness of the mouth. I don't know if the story or other narrators were any good as I had to stop listening.

1 of 8 people found this review helpful

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  • Helen
  • 08-10-17

beautiful

Great classic story with detective twist. I love Wilkie Collins. Beautifully performed, every narrator was clear (which is important for me as English is my second language) and theatrical. That's the audio book I'll listen again and again.