Friday, June 27, 2014

Book of the Month - The Cephalopod Coffe House


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It's the end of the month and that means it's time for the Cephalopod Coffeehouse in which we talk about a book we've read. This month I read The Moonstone, by Wilkie Collins.


 The Moonstone was first published in 1868 and "is generally considered the first detective novel in the English language...Besides creating many of the ground rules of the detective novel, The Moonstone also reflected Collins' enlightened social attitudes in his treatment of the servants in the novel."

The plot is as follows: Rachel Verinder, a young English woman, inherits a large Indian diamond on her eighteenth birthday. It is a legacy from her uncle, a corrupt British army officer. The diamond is of great religious significance as well as being extremely valuable, and three Hindu priests have dedicated their lives to recovering it. Rachel's eighteenth birthday is celebrated with a large party, whose guests include her cousin Franklin Blake. She wears the Moonstone on her dress that evening for all to see, including some Indian jugglers who have called at the house. Later that night, the diamond is stolen from Rachel's bedroom, and a period of turmoil, unhappiness, misunderstandings and ill-luck ensues. Told by a series of narratives from some of the main characters, the complex plot traces the subsequent efforts to explain the theft, identify the thief, trace the stone and recover it.

My opinion: Although this book was written in a style that many people today would find tedious (it's very wordy), I still enjoyed it and found myself up late more than a few nights in the hopes of discovering who stole that pesky diamond and why was Rachel acting like a you know what. This is a perfect book for anyone who likes mysteries, and/or anyone who likes to read the genre. It also paints an interesting picture of the time for any history buffs :)

Have you read this book? Do you like mysteries? I don't read many but I always enjoy them when I do!







20 comments:

  1. I don't mind wordy, as long as the words are strung together beautifully. Have a great weekend and boogie boogie.

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  2. It would be challenging, but I've read enough Dickins, Coyle, and Burroughs, I could handle it.
    Could they pick a better cover for it though?

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  3. I love a good mystery as long as it doesn't make it too easy to spot the thief or killer.

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  4. I don't know the book at all but it sounds intriguing. Actually, it sounds like a good choice for my wife. Thanks for the recommendation!

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  5. I love these kind of period books--having been written so long ago I wonder about the cultural mores that will be present, without the whitewash of today's sensibilities. Very intriguing indeed!

    Thanks for the review!

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  6. I wish I could inherit a large Indian diamond and possibly a small or large, I'm not picky, tea plantation in India too.....

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  7. I've heard of the Moonstone, of course! It's classic! But I have never read it.

    I just finished reading the second Artemis Fowl -- much lighter reading than Wilkie Collins -- and I'm about to dig into Half Bad.

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  8. Wordy would be tough for me. That is the problem sometimes with older novels (Charles Dickens too). But if the plot it is good, I can usually get through it. :)

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  9. I'm familiar with Wilkie Collins from the Woman in White, but I haven't heard of this book. It sounds like a good read!

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  10. Sounds like good reading. Last year I got into reading mysteries again, so I'd be ready for it.

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  11. Considering I made it through many "wordy" books in my undergrad, including several Conrad novels, I think I'll have to check it out sometime. I still read Poe's detective stories as well and thoroughly enjoy them.

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  12. I have read this book, but it's been many years ago. Although I enjoyed it then, I don't know if I'd enjoy it today. Much to my chagrin, some of the books I adored when I was young seem much too old-fashioned and overgrown with flowery words. This one might be worth a re-read, though. Thanks for the recommendation. Good review!

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  13. About 10 years ago, I discovered Gutenberg, Black Mask, and free books. I read a bunch of mysteries and horror and adventures. Many of the plots still hold up, if the language and pacing don't. They're fun though! :)

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  14. I might like reading that. I find the differences between what was published long ago compared to today very interesting. Also the way authors portrayed women back in that era would be interesting.

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  15. Every once in a while someone recommends a mystery, I read it, like it, and wonder why I don't read more.

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  16. Wilkie was very popular once upon a time. I have bad memories associated with him regarding a professor in graduate school who decided that if we didn't like the way he taught the class on the history of English literature (he was a horrible teacher), then we would teach it ourselves. I was assigned to make a presentation on Wilkie Collins. I prepared it, but left before my turn came up and never went back. That's my sad grad school story. Besides being boring, the professor had a speech impediment. When he came to my side of the room, I detested the way he spat on me as he spoke. I should have worn a rain hat. He was 30-something and insisted he could not learn how to use email so it was very difficult to get in touch with him. He also described himself as one of the country's foremost experts on Shakespeare. I doubt a foremost expert on Shakespeare would work at a lousy university for 36k. Sorry to go on and on, but Wilkie got me started. I'll follow you, and I promise to keep my comments more succinct.

    Love,
    Janie Junebug

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  17. Sounds like an interesting, enlightening book.

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  18. I doubt I'd have the patience for this book, but it does sound interesting. Also, how cool to read the first detective novel written in the english language.

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  19. I've never heard of this but I am intrigued! Thanks for sharing about it.
    Nancy at Hungry Enough To Eat Six

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