The Moonstone, by Wilkie Collins opens with a letter explaining the severed relations between a certain gentleman and his infamous cousin Herncastle, who is suspected of pilfering a rare yellow diamond from the sacred temple of the Hindu god of the moon while serving the British army in India. Without proof, the gentleman only divulges his suspicion to his family to explain his behavior. A brief history of the jewel in question follows to capture the reader's imagination and set the stage for the story's main focus; the mysterious and curious happenings surrounding the accursed diamond's entrance, by the will and testament of her late Uncle Herncastle, into the possession, however briefly, of Lady Rachel Verinder, and subsequent investigation of the gem's disappearance.
I must admit that before this novel was recommended to me, I had not heard of Wilkie Collins, but am certainly glad to have made the discovery. Collins wove a delightfully suspenseful narration of individual eyewitness accounts that offer the reader each relevant perspective to follow the case to its ultimate completion. Each account captures the personality and life story of the different writers seamlessly within the narrative of the ongoing investigation. This Broad grew especially fond of the character Gabriel Betteridge through Collins' writing of his witty, honorable, and quirky observations throughout his re-telling. I'm sure each reader will have a personal favorite after encountering the seven distinct egos within Collins' exceptional book.
With smartly developed characters, well constructed sentences, vivid descriptions, and naturally flowing dialogue, The Moonstone was a great pleasure to read. I recommend it highly.