Said to be the earliest dective/mystery novel ever published (1868) it has a strong plot line and plenty of cliff hangers to keep readers gripped (I guess because it was originally serialised). As I like Victorian prose I found this an enjoyable, and easy read. But I must admit that, despite the cliff hangers, the book failed to really grab me. It’s the kind of book you can read whilst you’re reaching the end of a bottle of wine and feel the next morning, even though your memory may be a little groggy, that you won’t need to re-read any of it.

Getting onto the story, the book is based around the diamond of the title which a British soldier has gained through bloody means in India. Indian guardians devote their life to trying to recapture the stone. The soldier bequeaths the stone to his neice, presuming it will bring diaster in its wake, as revenge for his sister’s estrangement from him. As expected the moonstone does just that, and it all gets engangled with a love story between the two main protagonists.

But the characters never seem to be fully developed, and I found it very difficult to care about any of them; although I did delight in Betteredge who was almost a Dickensian charactature with his Robinson Crusoe and his pipe.

Not as good as The Woman In White I’m afraid.