Wilkie Collins “Moonstone”

England was always famous for its literary riches, and the detective line in British literature was no exception. Everyone knows the great names of Agatha Christie and Sir Arthur Conan Doyle. True lovers of detectives still relish the works of Edgar Allan Poe, although they did not differ with particularly outstanding volumes. But the real progenitor of the detective genre in England must be considered exactly Wilkie Collins, because it was this writer who first used those techniques in literature, which later became fundamental for the entire genre.

Thus, the structure proposed in the book “Moonstone”, is still considered almost the standard for detective novels. It consists of the following stages:

At the beginning of the work, there is murder (or another serious crime), most often in a secluded place, where access for a large number of people is not available. An example is the “Orient Express” Agatha Christie. In the case of the “Moonstone”, the residence of Lady Verinder became the scene of action.

Also at the beginning of the narrative is introduced a narrow circle of people involved in the incident. As a rule, one of these persons is a criminal, it was extremely difficult to suspect from the outset. I think it’s not worth mentioning the name of the criminal, so as not to spoil the expectations of those who are just going to read the book.

In the work is also present the figure of the detective, endowed with the mind of extreme observation and ingenuity. A similar image of detectives and policemen is used in almost all classical detectives: Sherlock Holmes, Hercule Poirot, Colombo, etc. In the work “Moonstone” such was the detective Cuff, who probably could serve as a prototype for all sounded inspectors.

The ornateness of the plot, in which the course of the investigation several times goes in the wrong direction, but in the end leads to a logical conclusion.

What is this book about?

“Moonstone” is considered by many to be almost the first detective novel (Po also wrote in a similar style, but it should be noted that he had mostly short stories). The story consists of a whole series of stories of different actors, united by one adjacent line. Thus, the author removes himself from the novel and allows each character to express his point of view and vision on his own, and the reader, page by page, can conduct “his own investigation” and compare his expectations with what is happening in the book.

As you probably already guessed, in the center of the plot of the novel – the loss of the precious stone – which was stolen during the celebration of an aristocratic British family. To investigate the cases, a professional detective was hired, but a string of plot twists and turns so much that even he does not immediately manage to unravel this riddle. However, I will not disclose all the cards and kill the intrigue.

I just want to notice one feature. The book begins with rather “vigorous” events and almost immediately immerses the reader in the cycle of detective investigation, but already in the middle of the book the impression is formed that the author himself could not sustain the chosen tempo, and in his narrative the sluggishness and inconsistency of the general structure of history begins to be observed. It would seem that the writer so vigorously heated his interest in the loss of the diamond at the beginning of the work, and in the middle of the novel he simply did not know what to write further. Fortunately, all this has a well-grounded explanation near the end of the work, and all the details and details that originally had nothing to do with the case (at first glance), in fact, refer to it in the most direct way.

It is worth noting that the final part of the novel is of particular interest, since an active investigation of diamond theft is resuming, but it is no longer a professional detective, but an ordinary gentleman who wishes, at all costs, to restore his reputation.

But how skillfully Collins managed to finish the chapters of his novel on the highest note – that is, at the most intriguing moment. For reference, the original of the novel was first published in the monthly newspaper of Collins’s friend Charles Dickens. In each issue a new chapter was published, and readers had to wait another month to read the long-awaited sequel. I’m sure you know this feeling! Remember at least how you looked at the last series of “Games of Thrones” and realized that until the next release of this series will have to wait a whole year, or even more. Fortunately, things are different with books!

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