Re: RARA-AVIS: The Moonstone

From: Valerie E. Polichar (
Date: 16 Dec 2003

Richard Moore said,

> Now I
> have to figure out where I would rank Wilkie Collins' THE MOONSTONE among great
> noir novels. It's a fine novel with dark and sinister atmosphere dripping
> from every page.

In fact I think Collins prefigures much of the noir fiction of the 1950s in this haunting exploration of drugs and their relationship with crime. The tone he uses is of his time, of course. THE MOONSTONE was subtitled "A Romance," and was published serially (as were most of his novels), in 1868. Hints of the supernatural pervade the novel, though nearly everything in the end is revealed to have a 'scientific' explanation. It's overwritten in the typical Collins -- and mid-19th-century -- style.

Nevertheless I'd agree that it's a fine and early example of the noir atmosphere in a novel.

I'm a bit of a Collins fan, though I've tended to think of it as 'junk food' reading. Thanks for giving me an excuse to think otherwise.

Valerie Polichar

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