Saturday, November 30, 2013

The Moonstone Readalong - I KNOW WHO STOLE IT

We're supposed to write up a review for the Moonstone readalong and while I might still write a regular review I think I want to write up something a bit more spoilery so that I can discuss all of my favourite bits and pieces about the mystery instead. So I probably don't really need to say it, but there will be spoilers below. Tread carefully, you've been warned.

And double warned in GIF form
So The Moonstone. I absolutely loved it. I'm pretty hopeless at mysteries at the best of times, I'm almost guaranteed to fall for the red herrings littered along the way, so I really didn't guess it at all. I thought that maybe Godfrey was guilty when he broke of the marriage with Rachel (or didn't put up a fight anyway)  and the lawyer was like "oh hell no, that rascally cur" but I decided that'd be too obvious, surely that was a red herring. But even if I had trusted my gut I don't think I could have forseen the road that Wilkie was going to take. Opium sleepwalking and crimes of opportunity? Recreating the scene of the crime? Godfrey dressing up as a scruffy sailor and keeping a woman in a villa? No, even if I had been sure it was Godfrey I don't think I would have guessed all of those threads.

So did everyone immediately assume Ezra Jennings was involved and then feel absolutely awful when it turned out he was actually a gorgeous and wonderful person? It all seemed so suspicious the way he was popping up and having such outrageous hair and maggots in his head (have I mentioned how glad I am Betteredge came back yet?).

But instead of being in cahoots with the Indians he was actually just a man haunted by his past who was dying (of cancer?) and using opium to hold out for just a little longer. Thanks to this lovely, quiet man Franklin's name was cleared and he was able to finally prove to Rachel that he wasn't the guy who stole her moonstone. Or he was, but he did it for the right reasons and accidentally put it straight into the hands of the man who did want to make some money.

Speaking of Rachel. I might have kept suspecting her long after it was clear she wasn't involved. I just had no idea what was a real hint and what was a red herring, so I just suspected EVERYONE. I even suspected Murthwaite, purely because of his connection to India. Shhhhh I told you I was bad at mysteries.

While I loved the mystery and Jennings re-staging of the house to prove Franklin's innocence, Betteredge's sass during the whole thing was absolutely my favourite part. He was so mean to Jennings (and mostly because of his looks - shame on you Betteredge!) but he was so hilarious I could forgive him.
"I want to know who is responsible for keeping it in a perpetual state of litter, no mater how often it may be set right - his trousers here, his towels there, and his French novels everywhere. I say, who is responsible for untidying the tidiness of Mr Franklin's room, him or me?"
Can we just add Betteredge into every book ever now?
Speaking of happy jigs, I totally did one when Cuff wrote down who he suspected on a piece of paper and got Franklin to hold on to it until the bad guy was revealed. That kind of theatrics is so completely my jam, and so perfect for a cop who retired to grow roses on roses on roses. Bravo Cuff, you've got style.

What else? I loved the epilogue when the Indian was taken back to India. I love the idea that this jewel is so important to their religion that three men would sacrifice everything to bring it back to the people who needed it. It's such a selfless act amongst all of the greed and obsession with wealth that happened back in England. And it's bittersweet, because even though the stone is back where it belongs, these three men are now forced to walk alone until the end of their days, while everyone in England (Godfrey excepted) got their happy ending. I guess it could be argued that for the three Indians this was their happy ending, but it was still sad to me.

Alright, so time to wrap it up. I absolutely adored this book. It was clever, funny, brilliantly written and a ripping good mystery. I can't wait to read more Wilkie, and I'm so glad I finally get to nod along sagely when everyone else brings up their Wilkie adoration. So where do I head next? I guess The Woman in White is the logical choice, but I'm open to suggestions!

*if you want to see what I thought in the first half, head over here.


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