THE MOONSTONE. A Novel. Wilkie Collins.


[a bright copy] With Many Illustrations. New York: Harper & Brothers, 1868. 4 pp preliminary undated ads. Original blue-green cloth.

First American (and first illustrated) Edition of this classic of detective fiction, issued in the same year as the London three-decker. THE MOONSTONE marked the end of Collins's peak period as a novelist: it was preceded by THE WOMAN IN WHITE (1860), NO NAME (1862) and ARMADALE (1866), but was followed by fiction oriented toward arguing for social justice (especially for women, and against the marriage laws that took away their rights). Commenting on T.S. Eliot's opinion of this book ("the first, the longest, and the best of English detective novels"), John Carter wrote

Mr. Eliot is inaccurate in his first adjective, a little rash perhaps in his second, but unlikely to meet with much disagreement over his third. If Poe created the short detective story, Wilkie Collins is the undisputed father of the full-length variety... [THE NOTTING HILL MYSTERY, probably by Charles Warren Adams, published serially in 1862-1863 and as a book in 1865, earns the "first English" honor.]

The American edition includes 66 wood engravings interspersed throughout the text. Many different colors and grains of cloth were used, without precedence; this copy is in blue-green cloth with a pronounced pattern (closest to BAL's "HC" cloth). It is a handsome copy, fine except for very slight fading of the spine and just a touch of wear at the spine ends; the spine gilt remains unusually bright, the endpapers are not cracked, and there is no foxing on the leaves within. Gasson pp 106-108; Parrish & Miller pp 73-74; Wolff 1368a; a Haycraft-Queen Cornerstone. Item #14578

Price: $1,350.00

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