The Moonstone (Modern Library Classics)

The Moonstone - Wilkie Collins The Moonstone was recommended to me by my fellow fans at wilkiecollins, as a good follow up to my first Collins novel The Woman in White. While I enjoyed this novel immensely and was enthralled by the intricacies of the plot and characters, it didn't capture my imagination to quite the same extent as my first experience with Collins. Rachel Verinder, strong-willed and fascinating as she is, will not make the cut when I come to list my favourite characters of all time -- Marian Halcombe likely will. What The Moonstone showed me, other than the right way to plot a mystery novel, is that the choice of characters names (both here and in The Woman in White) can be a powerful descriptor. When one meets heros named Hartright and Franklin, one simply expects them to be exemplary. Collins' choice of Godfrey Ablewhite is perhaps more ironic, but that very irony makes the choice all the more apt. The best books leave one with questions. As I was reading The Moonstone I accepted the opium theory with all the suspension of disbelief that an author could ask of a reader, but I now wonder about its accuracy. Collins claims, in his introduction, that it is accurate -- according to his consultations with emminent doctor -- just as the legal machinations of The Woman in White were verified by solicitors. It would, however, be foolish to accept such assurances at face value. I have seen modern novelists assure their readers of accuracy, but nevertheless allow glaring errors in their stories. Collins does manage to make his theories plausible, and I would like to look into them further. The Moonstone is a wonderful read, both for the layperson and the mystery novelist. I can understand why it's a classic of the genre.