Friday, February 15, 2013

Evolution of the Mystery Genre

The Moonstone


                                         Wilkie Collins

Rachel Verinder, a young Englishwoman, inherits a large Indian diamond on her eighteenth birthday. It is a legacy from her uncle, a corrupt British army officer who served in India. The diamond is of great religious significance as well as being extremely valuable, and three Hindu priests have dedicated their lives to recovering it. The story incorporates elements of the legendary origins of the Hope Diamond (or perhaps the Orloff Diamond). Rachel's eighteenth birthday is celebrated with a large party, whose guests include her cousin Franklin Blake. She wears the Moonstone on her dress that evening for all to see, including some Indian jugglers who have called at the house. Later that night, the diamond is stolen from Rachel's bedroom, and a period of turmoil, unhappiness, misunderstandings and ill-luck ensues. Told by a series of narratives from some of the main characters, the complex plot traces the subsequent efforts to explain the theft, identify the thief, trace the stone and recover it. This novel and The Woman in White are both free on Kindle as of this date.

Novels by Wilkie Collins

• Iolani, or Tahiti as it was. A Romance (written 1844; published 1999)
• Memoirs of the Life of William Collins, Esq., R.A. (1848)
• Antonina (1850)
• Rambles Beyond Railways, or, Notes in Cornwall taken a-foot (with illustrations by Henry C. Brandling; 1851)
• Basil (1852)
• "Mr Wray's Cash Box" (1852)
• Hide and Seek (1854)
• "The Ostler" (1855)
• After the Dark (1856)
• The Dead Secret (1857)
• A Rogue's Life (1857/1879)
• The Frozen Deep (1857), a play co-written with Charles Dickens
• "A Terribly Strange Bed" (1858)
• "A House to Let" (1858), a short story co-written with Charles Dickens, Elizabeth Gaskell and Adelaide Anne Procter
• "The Haunted House" a short story co-written with Charles Dickens, Elizabeth Gaskell, Adelaide Anne Proctor, George Sala and Hesba Stretton
• The Queen of Hearts (1859)
• The Woman in White (1860)
• No Name (1862)
• My Miscellanies (1863)
• Armadale (1866)
• No Thoroughfare (1867), a story and play co-written with Charles Dickens
• The Moonstone (1868)
• Man and Wife (1870)
• Poor Miss Finch (1872), dedicated to Frances Minto Elliot
• Miss or Mrs? (1873)
• The New Magdalen (1873)
• The Frozen Deep and Other Stories (1874)
o "The Frozen Deep"
o "Dream Woman"
o "John Jago's Ghost; or The Dead Alive"
• The Law and the Lady (1875)
• The Two Destinies (1876)
• The Haunted Hotel (1878)
• The Fallen Leaves (1879)
• My Lady's Money (1879)
• Jezebel's Daughter (1880)
• "Who Killed Zebedee?" (1881)
• The Black Robe (1881)
• Heart and Science (1883)
• I Say No (1884)
• The Ghost's Touch and Other Stories (1885)
• The Evil Genius (1886)
• The Guilty River (1886)
• Little Novels (1887)
• The Legacy of Cain (1889)

Wilkie Collins ( January, 8 1824 – September, 23 1889)

William Wilkie Collins was a prolific English novelist, playwright, and author of short stories. Very popular during the Victorian era, Mr. Collins wrote 30 novels, more than 60 short stories, 14 plays, and more than 100 nonfiction essays. His best-known works are The Woman in White, The Moonstone, Armadale, and No Name. The Moonstone was placed listed #7 on the Mystery Writers of America’s Top 100 Mystery Novels of all Time.

Collins was a lifelong friend of Charles Dickens. A number of Collins's works were first published in Dickens's journals All the Year Round and Household Words. They collaborated on several dramatic and fictional works, and some of Collins's plays were performed by Dickens's acting company.

Wilkie Collins was one of the best known, best loved, and, for a time, best paid of Victorian fiction writers. But after his death, his reputation declined. Today, Collins is being given more critical and popular attention than he has for fifty years. Most of his books are in print - and all are


  1. Found you from the ACFW loop! First of all, I LOVE your blog name! And I've tried to read THE MOONSTONE, as it's truly considered a classic. I think I need to try it again! Maybe THE WOMAN IN WHITE would be a good read, too.

    Interesting post!

    1. Thanks, Heather for checking our my blog. I've downloaded both novels. I'm sure the language of that era make it difficult to read. So many novels, so little time. :)