Review: The Moonstone by Wilkie Collins

du_3lenucai0ygvI never knew that The Moonstone is recognized as the first detective novel. It is that English country house mystery featuring a large guest list of suspects. But it can’t be called typical because it was the first. The novel is very lengthy but the plot holds you with many twists.
But perhaps my favorite thing about the book is Collins’ use of “The Moonstone” itself, that great diamond snatched from a Hindu shrine by the villainous Colonel Herncastle during the Siege of Seringapatam—the 1799 climax to the Fourth Anglo-Mysore War which served to institutionalize English theft under the banner of the British East India Company. It is the second theft of this gem from the Verinder estate that precipitates the events of the novel, but memory of the original crime—and its curse—is never far from the reader, for the Brahmins who wish to return “The Moonstone” to the shrine of Chandra are never far away. At first these shadowy figures appear to be exotic villains, but Collins eventually shows us that the real criminals—both past and present—are the “respectable” English, and he grants his Hindu priests a moving coda. Sure, the ending of the novel is romantic, and exotic. But it is dignified and respectful of other cultures too.

Buy this book on Amazon!


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