A Five Star Pick
Forgive me if I don’t remember the exact details of this novel—I received it as a gift a few years ago and read some of it while on a plane to Vancouver (with some turbulance). What I do know is that it captivated me, through the writing and the plot. Even the ending has a surprising twist. It is a literary mystery, written by a classic author and if you enjoy books that are set in Victorian England, this can be a gem of its own. In fact, the story revolves around a Hindu jewel that has been stolen from a young and wealthy lady named Rachel Verinder. Unbeknownst to the family, the gem was originally taken from a treasury in India by her greedy uncle, who declared in his will that his niece should receive the stone on her birthday. She is given the present on the eve of her birthday but by the following morning, the jewel is pronounced missing! It is rumored that the diamond has certain powers and if it falls in the wrong hands, there will be unfortunate consequences. When police detectives get involved in the case to search for the missing stone, Miss Verinder hesitates to offer additional information and is even agitated. Told from various characters’ points of view, the mystery unfolds and the case is eventually solved. As India was under British rule at the time, it is fascinating to see how Collins portrays the racist beliefs of some of the characters. It is neat to have different sides of a story explained: everyone has their suspicions of who is at fault, yet the one who is actually responsible is not able to contribute an explanation—for reasons that will come to light when you read the novel. The suspense will keep you interested and the conclusion is indeed satisfactory.