Thursday, February 1, 2024

1000 Books Project 2024 - The Moonstone Discussion One

If you are not reading along, be aware of potential spoilers ahead.

I wasn't sure what to expect upon beginning this book. I have read The Woman in White, which I loved. But this book takes an entirely different tone. I'm reminded of Agatha Christie and other similar mystery authors. I can easily see that Collins could have been influential for many mystery authors. Sergeant Cuff reminded me of a Hercule Poirot/Detective Columbo mashup. His whistling of "The Last Rose of Summer" reminded me of a tactic used by many a detective to "throw them off the scent" so to speak, though Mr. Betteredge seems to have thought of it as more of a tell, indicating that Cuff has had a breakthrough. Maybe it was that too.

I have to mention a couple of passages that make this very indicative of the time it was written. 

In Chapter IV, Mr. Betteredge is speaking with Rosanna and, as she was sitting beside him, his thought was "When you want to comfort a woman by the shortest way, take her on your knee. I thought of this golden rule." Um, that certainly wouldn't fly in this day and age. I know he's a kindly older gentleman, but still. It seems it would be odd to have someone sit on your lap that was not your daughter. As I said, a sign of the time this book was written.

This one was a doozy. In Chapter XVII, Penelope asks her father (Betteredge) to speak with Rosanna. His inner thought again..."But it is a maxim of mine that men (being superior creatures) are bound to improve women..if they can. When a woman wants me to do anything (my daughter, or not, it doesn't matter), I always insist on knowing why. The oftener you make them rummage their own minds for a reason, the more manageable you will find them in all the relations of life. It isn't their fault (poor wretches!) that they act first and think afterwards; it's the fault of the fools who humour them." In my experience, men act first and think afterwards, but I digress. No wonder it took so long to get the right to vote when men had this kind of attitude toward us. Sadly, there are some who would love to go back to this (and some women who wouldn't even care..egads!). Poor wretches indeed! Ugh.

Now that my outrage is out of the way. Ha! I will just say that this is a first rate mystery and I can't wait to read the next section. 

What did you think of the first section? Share any and all thoughts in the comments.

Here is the reading schedule if you need to reference it again. (Click link and scroll down)
I'll be back on February 29 with the next discussion post.

1 comment:

  1. I read this book quite a number of years ago, and I admired its role as a proto- detective novel, but didn't find it as riveting as The Woman in White, which is also a mystery but in the Gothic sensational genre. Your characterization of Sergeant Cuff (Poirot/Columbo) sounds spot on! I'm glad it was Betteredge rather than Cuff who made those thought bloopers about women! Will be nice to read your reactions as you read on.


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