Monday, January 2, 2012

The Moonstone by Wilkie Collins

The moonstone is a beautiful yellow diamond the size of a tangerine. It is the symbol of the moon god. The Moonstone is protected by Hindu Brahmins who for generations have been guarding it from invaders and thieves. The Diamond is said to be cursed, whoever lands up with it gets involved in terrible predicaments.

It gets stolen from Tipu Sultan's Palace in India by a an officer of the invading British Army and then lands up in Yorkshire in the lap of the beautiful Miss Verinder who is celebrating her birthday. under curious and mysterious circumstances the diamond is stolen from Miss Verinder's room. Thus starts the hunt for the diamond.

The name of the blog is Classic Mystery Hunt, and this one is truly a classic. It was written in 1868 and since I'm writing this blog in 2012 that makes this book 144 years old. The Moonstone is generally regarded as the first Detective mystery novel. and folks like Dorothy Sayers call it as the "finest detective story ever written".
So is all the hype well deserved?

No. After reading tens of Christie's and Carr's. you can't help but feel that The Moonstone is just plain boring at times. I'm not particularly fond of books that keep digressing from the central theme, and this one just keeps doing that incessantly. The book is very long close to 600 pages, which is almost double the size of any mystery  novel I have ever read. The author tries to fill the pages with stories of the characters which are involved without any relation to the mystery.

There are lot of positives also: the book is written as narratives of a lot of people involved and some of these narratives were particularly interesting especially of Miss Clack who is some what of a christian fundamentalist. Her prejudiced narrative and her Dogmatic opinions were by far the best part of the book.

The Mystery also was not bad but only when the author felt like focusing on it. Some of the revelations in the book were as good as Christie or Carr, like when miss Verinder accuses a person of stealing the moonstone and her reasons behind accusing that person is truly startling. It was one of those moments "like woha I did not see that coming"

All in All I think I would have loved the book had it been my first mystery which unfortunately is not the case.

Happy New Year!

Where can I buy it: any bookstore, it's readily available and pretty cheap < Rs 200

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