Who, in the name of wonder, had taken the Moonstone out of Miss Rachel’s drawer? A celebrated Indian yellow diamond is first stolen from India, then vanishes from a Yorkshire country house. Who took it? And where is it now? A dramatist as well as a novelist, Wilkie Collins gives to each of his narrators – a household servant, a detective, a lawyer, a cloth-eared Evangelical, a dying medical man, vibrant identities as they separately tell the part of the story that concerns themselves. One of the great triumphs of nineteenth-century sensation fiction, The Moonstone tells of a mystery that for page after page becomes more, not less, inexplicable.
Collins’s novel of addictions is itself addictive, moving through a sequence of startling revelations towards the final disclosure of the truth. Entranced with double lives, with men and women who only know part of the story, Collins weaves their narratives into a web of suspense. The Moonstone is a text that grows imaginatively out of the secrets that the unconventional Collins was obliged to keep as he wrote the novel.