New York: Harper & Brothers, 1868. First Edition thus. Decorative Cloth. First Illustrated Edition (which Collins thought "very picturesque") and First American Edition of "the first and greatest of English detective novels." (T. S. Eliot) "probably the very finest detective story ever written." Dorothy L. Sayers) Tall 8vo: 223,pp (text in two columns), including two pages of publisher's ads and 66 full-page and vignette engravings on wood by William Jewett. Publisher's original reddish-brown pebble-grained cloth paneled in blind, rebacked with matching morocco, spine in six compartments gilt between raised bands, two green morocco labels gilt. An excellent example, binding tight and little worn (although upper cover has a finger-sized area of cloth that has bubbled, likely caused by damp), text and plates astonishingly fresh and bright. Haycraft-Queen cornerstone. Parrish, p.73-75. Hubin II, p. 180. Wolff 1368a. Barzun & Taylor 872. Near Fine+. Item #BB1438
The Moonstone appeared originally in All the Year Round (London) and Harper's Weekly (New York), and as The Moonstone: A Romance in three volumes (London: Tinsley, 1868). The first American edition was published only a few days after the British edition, which was unillustrated. (Regarding the central importance of the illustrations, see Leighton and Surridge, "The Transatlantic Moonstone: A Study of the Illustrated serial in Harper's Weekly," Victorian Periodicals Review, Vol. 42, No. 3 [Fall 2009], pp. 207-243: "[T]he serial of The Moonstone that reached American readers in 1868 was markedly different from the British text. . . . [T]he Harper's illustrations formed an intrinsic part of the American Moonstone, heightening the text's sensationalism, complicating its already intricate narrative structure, and shifting its treatment of gender, disability, class, and race.") Collins was the first great English writer of detective stories. The Moonstone and The Woman in White are his masterpieces, and have never been out of print. The story of the moonstone revolves around a diamond stolen from a Hindu holy place. On her eighteenth birthday, Rachel Verinder receives the diamond, but by the following morning the stone has been stolen again. Certain plot elements were inspired by events of the contemporary case of Constance Kent. Sergeant Cuff is based on the inspector of that case, coupled with those of the Northumberland Street murders (Collins placed the house to which the murder victim is lured on Northumberland street as well). The story has been filmed at least five times: in 1909, 1915, 1934, 1972, and 1997, attesting to its enduring popularity. N. B. With few exceptions (always identified), we only stock books in exceptional condition, carefully preserved in archival, removable polypropylene sleeves. All orders are packaged with care and posted promptly. Satisfaction guaranteed.