As the first detective novel in the English language (and my first Wilkie Collins book), I wasn’t blown away by The Moonstone. The mystery surrounding who stole the diamond was certainly a compelling plot that kept me turning pages, but as many others have observed it was the drama involving the main characters that seemed to be the focus of the story. At first, I found this annoying because I didn’t care about anyone or what happened to them. However, as the plot slowly (and I mean slowly) progressed, I became attached to a few characters, especially Franklin Blake, and was satisfied with the book’s ending.
Since The Moonstone was written in the epistolary format, I knew it would be a series of letters and journals by different authors. Gabriel Betteredge’s narrative was so funny and charming right off the bat, I didn’t want anyone else to tell the story. But unlike Dracula which I had read not too long before this book, The Moonstone’s narrators were different in tone and style, and made the story richer and more interesting than if it had been narrated by one character. Mr. Betteredge remains my favourite narrator with the exception of the overkill on the Robinson Crusoe schtick. I agree with Laura from Reading in Bed that I could easily read a whole book narrated by Miss Clack. I was also surprised that Rachel Verinder wasn’t a narrator.
Overall, I enjoyed reading The Moonstone because it had a gripping mystery and several narrators to keep me interested in the story. Looking at the impressive list of literary elements that would become fundamental to the mystery genre, I believe Wilkie Collins deserves a lot of recognition for crafting the first detective novel. However, it is probably the only thing significant enough about The Moonstone that would make me recommend this book.
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And now I will cast the narrators of the book. Who would you cast as your favourite character?
Sergeant Cuff played by Stephen Fry – Ever since he strolled in the garden and began complaining about the roses, I couldn’t get the ever lovable and funny actor out of my head. I think he would be perfect as the sharp and unwavering Sergeant.
Ezra Jennings played by Danny Pudi – No one else could better understand what it’s like to be looked on suspiciously (and even by your own friends!) than Abed from Community.
Mr Bruff played by Brendan Coyle – Who better to play the no nonsense lawyer (with the soft spot for Miss Verinder) than Downton Abbey’s own no nonsense butler.
Franklin Blake played by Paul Wesley – Good guy Stefan Salvatore from the Vampire Diaries can’t seem to help attracting drama in his life (especially with the ladies) and so is the case with our Moonstone hero.
Drusilla Clack played by Alicia Silverstone – Our beloved Cher from Clueless has the save-every-soul passion (and inward snark) like holier than thou, Miss Clack.
Gabriel Betteredge played by Michael Gough – Mr. Gough appeared in five Batman movies before usurped by some guy named Michael Caine. He immediately came to mind from page one of Mr. Betteredge’s narrative.