Published in 1868 as a magazine serial, ''The Moonstone'' by Creator/WilkieCollins is English literature's first detective novel and still one of the best. The story is told by several different narrators who, according to the framing story, have been asked to write down their involvement by the hero.

Lovely young Rachel Verinder receives an unexpected and (to her mother) unwelcome 18th birthday present from her late uncle, the family BlackSheep. Mr. Murthwaite, a famous explorer and one of the party guests, tells Rachel and Mrs. Verinder that the large yellow diamond was stolen from a Hindu idol 20 or 30 years before and that the Indian 'jugglers' who entertain the party are nothing of the kind but, most probably, Hindu priests trying to regain their sacred stone. That very night, the diamond disappears.

Rachel has two suitors, both her first cousins, Godfrey Ablewhite and Franklin Blake, staying in the house. It soon becomes clear that she suspects Blake of being the thief. The detective called in on the case, Sergeant Cuff, on the other hand, suspects Rachel herself, along with one of the maids, who has a criminal background. The true solution proves to be much more complex than either theory, involving several parties, all with their own unconnected motives.

The novel is noteworthy not only for codifying, if not originating, many DetectiveFiction tropes, but for being a compelling work of social critique and examination. The narrators include the butler to an aristocratic house, a penniless spinster with a Vocation, and a doctor who is explicitly of mixed race. These are all characters on the fringe of Society, yet Collins gives them voices and important roles in observing and reporting the story's action. He also touches deftly on themes of imperialism and colonialism, as well as medicine and drug addiction.
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!!This story provides examples of:

* AllLoveIsUnrequited: Rosanna Spearman. Drusilla Clack, it is implied, might be in love with Godfrey Ablewhite -- she sure talks about the "religious fervor" he inspires in her in very passionate ways.
* AndAnotherThing: [[spoiler:One of the Indians]] visits the offices of a couple barristers merely to form an excuse to ask one final question before leaving.
* BabiesEverAfter
* BlackSheep: General Herncastle, Rachel's wicked uncle.
* BrokenBird: Rosanna Spearman of course, but also the unlikeable Miss Clack.
* BookEnds: The prologue and epilogue are set in India.
* CallToAgriculture: Sergeant Cuff retires to cultivate roses.
* ChekhovsGunman: [[spoiler:Dr Candy and Ezra Jennings]]
* CrimeReconstruction: Used to figure out what happened to the Moonstone.
* CringeComedy: Drusilla Clack's chapter, which consists largely of her attempts to self-righteously proselytize at the most awkward and inappropriate times possible.
* GreatDetective: Sergeant Cuff, who is looking forward to a long retirement where he can devote himself to his roses.
* HiddenVillain
* HolierThanThou: Miss Clack
* HopelessSuitor: Rosanna Spearman
* HowDidYouGetIt: The Moonstone is pawned to a moneylender. His first question is "How did you come by this?" and he refuses to lend anything until he's got a truthful answer.
* InTouchWithHisFeminineSide: Mr. Ezra Jennings says to Franklin Blake, "Some men are born with female constitutions... and I am one of them!" (He's crying TenderTears at the moment, and is shown to be emotional and gentle to his patients).
* KidDetective: Introduced in the last couple of chapters, "Gooseberry," a boy with large and prominent eyes, whom Cuff hires to track down a suspect. Cuff speaks very warmly of the boy's innate detective smarts.
* KissingCousins: Both of Rachel's suitors are her first cousins.
* LazyBum: Mrs Ablewhite.
-->My Aunt Ablewhite is a large, silent, fair-complexioned woman, with one noteworthy point in her character. From the hour of her birth she has never been known to do anything for herself. She has gone through life, accepting everybody's help, and adopting everybody's opinions.
* LemonyNarrator: Gabriel Betteridge
* LivingADoubleLife: [[spoiler: Godfrey Ablewhite, who seems to be a generous and courteous philanthropist, has actually been siphoning off money trusted to him for his ward's care, and keeps a mistress in the country.]]
* LoveAtFirstSight: Rosanna Spearman for Franklin Blake.
* MeasuringTheMarigolds: Gabriel Betteredge speaks out against gentlefolk who take up a "natural science" hobby in order to dissect flowers. He asks, "Is its perfume any better, or its color any prettier, when you ''do'' know?" But what he chiefly objects to isn't the science, but the callous and destructive way that gentlefolk pursue the hobby out of sheer boredom.
* NoCelebritiesWereHarmed: Explorer Mr. Murthwaite is clearly based on the adventurer Richard Burton.
* NonIndicativeName: The title, insofar as it refers to a yellow ''diamond,'' and not the [[http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/nova/diamond/images/gp10moonstone.jpg actual gem]] known as a moonstone. Nor is it a stone that comes from the moon, awesome as that would be; it's only sacred to (and stolen from an idol of) some Indian Moon god.
* OldRetainer: Gabriel Betteridge, who refers to his lady and Miss Verinder in the warmest of terms -- far more warmly, in fact, than he refers to his wife.
* PrecisionFStrike: From the senior Ablewhite: "Miss Jane Ann Stamper be ----!"
* QuicksandSucks: The Shivering Sand. Dangerous, but not an impossible trap. It's used by a certain character to [[spoiler:hide an incriminating piece of evidence, using a locked box and a chain, and to commit suicide]].
* RedHerring: Innumerable! Rosanna Spearman is a noteworthy one, an ex-thief who now works in the Verinder house, and who acts awfully suspicious around Franklin Blake.
* RedRightHand: Rosanna Spearman, ex-thief and maid, is a hunchback. Ezra Jennings, who has a dark secret in his past, has piebald hair. [[spoiler: Neither are bad people, and the true villain is handsome and healthy.]]
* ScrapbookStory
* ShipperOnDeck: A Shipping War InUniverse, no less! Early in the book, Betteredge and his daughter, Penelope, butt heads over whether Rachel covets Godfrey Ablewhite's affections (Betteredge's view) or Franklin Blake (Penelope's).
* ShoutOut: Betteridge believes that ''Literature/RobinsonCrusoe'' contains all of the world's wisdom.
* SpiritedYoungLady: Rachel, maybe even a {{Tsundere}}.
* TheStakeout: Probably the earliest example.
* StealthInsult: Sergeant Cuff says to Gabriel Betteredge that he fancies himself to be tender-hearted towards the physically disabled (i.e. Rosanna Spearman)... and then, seeing that as Betteredge is being a little slow on the uptake, Cuff adds that he feels rather tender-hearted towards Betteredge.
* SwitchingPOV
* TakingTheHeat: The two main suspects (both female) turn out to have been independently covering for the same man, whom they both love, after seeing what each believes to be proof that he stole the eponymous gemstone.
* TrueArtIsAncient: Mocked, In-Universe, by Ezra Jennings:
--> "All classical works; all (of course) immeasurably superior to anything produced in later times; and all (from my present point of view) possessing the one great merit of enchaining nobody's interest, and exciting nobody's brain."
* TwistEnding: Another very early example.
* TypeCaste: Collins correctly states that observant Hindus (such as the three priests, who are specified to be Brahmins) lose their caste when they cross the sea/large body of water.
* UrExample: Famously described by Creator/TSEliot as "the first and greatest of English detective novels".
* WhamEpisode: The chapter containing the revelations from Rachel and (posthumously) Rosanna regarding the thief's identity.

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