The Moonstone (Evergreens) - Wilkie Collins

There stood Miss Rachel at the table, like a person fascinated, with the Colonel’s unlucky Diamond in her hand. There, on either side of her, knelt the two Bouncers, devouring the jewel with their eyes, and screaming with ecstasy every time it flashed on them in a new light. There, at the opposite side of the table, stood Mr. Godfrey, clapping his hands like a large child, and singing out softly, “Exquisite! exquisite!” There sat Mr. Franklin in a chair by the book-case, tugging at his beard, and looking anxiously towards the window. And there, at the window, stood the object he was contemplating— my lady, having the extract from the Colonel’s Will in her hand, and keeping her back turned on the whole of the company.

That blasted diamond.

I had no idea what to expect from this novel. Sure, it is deemed to be the first detective story. Sure, it is a masterpiece of gothic atmospheric writing. Sure, it had its entertaining moments.

However, the large part of this book just dragged. It dragged even more than The Woman in White! And just as in The Woman in White, the ending was a little illogical and over-complicated – an opium-induced hallucination? Collins’ reliance on a deus ex machina solution did not work for me in The Woman in White and it did not work for me in The Moonstone.


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