When Wilkie Collins sat down to write The Moonstone the detective novel did not exist as a literary form. His spellbinding tale of romance, theft, and murder inspired this popular genre.
As a writer, Wilkie Collins was a celebrity, paid enormous fees for his novels and friends with all the great literary men of his day. As a man, he was as mysterious as any of his books – secret mistresses and children, a double life that was kept from his public, dire health problems that turned him into a drug addict – all were a part of the life he hid from public gaze.
The Moonstone of the title is an enormous Hindu diamond that waxes and wanes in brilliance along with the light of the moon. When a young English woman inherits the Moonstone on her eighteenth birthday a period of turmoil, unhappiness, misunderstandings and ill-luck ensues. As the fate of the diamond is traced, the enthralling interplay of characters will hook you in.
I first read The Moonstone as a teenager, after an adaptation of it had been on TV. I went on to read a few of his other books, but this one has always been my favourite. What do you think of it?