The Moonstone, published in 1868, written by Wilkie Collins, is regarded as a one of the finest mysteries, and even today it remains an exciting and worthwhile read.
The title Moonstone refers to a huge yellow diamond stolen by a British officer from an Indian sultan’s treasury. The stone had been placed there after having been previously stolen from a temple of the moon-god. Fifty years later, the officer gives it to his beautiful niece, Rachel Verinder, on her 16th birthday.
Three priests from the Indian moon-god group knows that she is about to receive the moonstone and are in England, ready to murder anyone to bring back the diamond to its original place. But the gem is stolen from Verinder’s room within 24 hours of her receiving it, and the complex, fascinating, and enjoyable plot takes off.
One of the most interesting parts of this novel is the brilliant use of the first-person point-of-view through a series of narrators, who played important roles in the story. Each narrator adds something more and new to the story and sometimes the novel takes such a turn that the reader is just carried off. This is commendable because it keeps the reader going on.
I found out who stole the moonstone along with the characters. It was cool not to know the answer and to have to wait for the other characters to figure it out.
Every character in the book had a distinct personality and a definite purpose in being involved in the mystery. The dialogue is fantastic, although more in the formal style of the 19th century, and of course the humor enables us to laugh with, or at many times, at the characters.
The Moonstone is a wonderful novel, and I’d recommend it to anyone who likes a good puzzle to solve.