Considered the first full-length detective story in the English language, T.S. Eliot described The Moonstone as 'the first and greatest English detective novel'.
The stone of the title is an enormous yellow diamond plundered from an Indian shrine after the Siege of Seringapatam. Given to Miss Verinder on her 18th birthday, it mysteriously disappears that very night. Suspicion falls on three Indian jugglers who have been seen in the neighbourhood. Sergeant Cuff is assigned to the case and though it looks simple nothing can be taken for granted.
The story is recounted by several narrators including the bemused butler, the love-sick housemaid, the enigmatic detective Sergeant Cuff and the drug-addicted scientist, who in turn, speculate on the mystery.
This enthralling tale of romance, theft, and murder inspired the detective genre. In a sense, Collins wrote the rulebook on detective stories as many features of The Moonstone have become conventions in the literature of others.
Charles Dickens was a close friend and mentor of Collins, and the two collaborated together on drama and fiction. The Moonstone, as well as some of his other work, was first published in Dickens' journals.
Beginning his career on stage, Peter Jeffrey became a recognisable face on British television while enjoying thirty years with the Royal Shakespeare Company as well as working with all the other great British theatre companies. He was soon in demand for television character parts, playing roles in shows such as The Saint (1964-1965), The Avengers (1966-1968) and Doctor Who (1967 and 1978) as well as being involved in many BBC Radio 4 audio dramas such as The Pickwick Papers. Though a versatile actor, he was often cast in roles of authority such as Inspector Carter in Dixon of Dock Green (1966) but occasionally guest starred in comedy roles such as "Napper" Wainwright in Porridge (1975). He continued to act during his final years, with roles in the BBC adaptation of The Prince and the Pauper (1996), The Scarlet Pimpernel (1999) and Where the Heart Is (1999).
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Customer ReviewsMost Helpful
By Joanne on 29-06-08
An absolute gem
Please excuse the pun! This is the best audiobook I have ever listened to. Peter Jeffrey's reading is superb, bringing each character to life - from the trusted family butler Betteridge to the faintly ridiculous religous spunster Miss Clack. In terms of the story - it is superb piece of Victorian derring-do with a spirited young hero and heroine, a conspiracy involving mysterious foreigners, a lovelorn housemaid and opiuos use of laudanum. The writing is witty and sympathetic. The plot is complex, and though perhaps not as tightly plotted as a modern day thriller this would be enjoyed by lovers of detection fiction as well as fans of victorina.
49 of 50 people found this review helpful
By Choosy on 20-01-11
Wilkie Collins' best book, beautifully read by Peter Jeffrey. I had to look again at the description to double-check that it wasn't a dramatisation, so consistent and well-differentiated are his voices. A delight to listen to.
15 of 15 people found this review helpful
Customer ReviewsMost Helpful
By Lucie on 03-01-09
An engrossing detective novel
I was attracted to THE MOONSTONE after reading (Hearing) Wilkie Collins" THE WOMAN IN WHITE. What is fascinating to me is how a book written over 140 years ago can be read eaily without footnotes to explain the significance of the events of the time. The characters and the action brought me into that time period with ease.
I plan to sownload every Wilkie Collins book that is available in Audible.com
22 of 22 people found this review helpful
By Anne on 26-02-10
I probably never would have read this on paper - too old-fashioned, too long - but with it narrated (and done so well by Jeffrey!) I was able to hear the voices of the characters and be entertained by the different perspectives as each one tells the story from their point of view. I thought this was a masterfully crafted story, with parts that made me laugh out loud. Had to be able to concentrate when listening to keep track of the plot and characters.
17 of 17 people found this review helpful