Viewing my task by the light which later experience casts on it, I think I shall act wisely by exercising some control over the freedom of my pen.
I propose to pass over in silence the name of the town in which is situated the prison once confided to my care. I shall observe a similar discretion in alluding to individuals—some dead, some living, at the present time.
Being obliged to write of a woman who deservedly suffered the extreme penalty of the law, I think she will be sufficiently identified if I call her The Prisoner. Of the four persons present on the evening before her execution three may be distinguished one from the other by allusion to their vocations in life. I here introduce them as The Chaplain, The Minister, and The Doctor. The fourth was a young woman. She has no claim on my consideration; and, when she is mentioned, her name may appear. If these reserves excite suspicion, I declare beforehand that they influence in no way the sense of responsibility which commands an honest man to speak the truth....
At a party celebrating her eighteenth birthday, Rachel Verinder wears the stunning yellow diamond she unexpectedly inherited from her uncle, Colonel John Herncastle.
She is not aware that the precious gem, known as the Moonstone, has been missing since it was plundered from a sacred Hindu shrine in southern India where her uncle had served with the British army fifty years ago.
But someone knows the secret of the Moonstone and will go to desperate measures to retrieve it. When it goes missing later that night, suspicions are raised and accusations fly. Could it be a trio of mysterious Indian jugglers seen near the house? Or a love-struck housemaid suddenly behaving strangely? And there is Rachel herself, who becomes furious when her paramour, Franklin Blake, directs attempts to find it.
As divergent accounts reveal more details, the diamond’s recovery is complicated by unexpected twists and turns. Sifting through a compelling list of suspects, the indomitable Sergeant Cuff must find the truth about the Moonstone and its mysterious disappearance.
The Moonstone features 66 black and-white woodcut illustrations throughout.