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Introduction

The interactions between different characters in The Moonstone are vital for its status as one of the first detective novels, as the reader is charged with trying to solve the mystery through these interactions.  The book's use of different narrators adds different perspectives through which the reader views this interplay.  As a result, it is important for the reader, not only to know all the characters, but to also pay attention to the specific biases possessed by the characters' that give their narrations.  

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Character Descriptions

Rachel Verinder - Rachel is seemingly the centerpiece of mystery of the Moonstone, as the plot of the novel thickens when the diamond is stolen from her possession. Rachel is an uncharacteristic woman for her time-she goes against traditional Victorian conventions, as her dark features and small stature emit through the pages. However, she still attracts two potential suitors in Franklin Blake and Godfrey Ablewhite. Rachel is prone to temper tantrums and likes to avoid uncomfortable situations.  

Franklin Blake - Franklin Blake is the editor of the collected narratives throughout the novel. It was his decision to ask every house guest their whereabouts and knowledge about the disappearance of the Moonstone. Franklin is loved by the entire Verinder household, especially Gabriel Betteredge. Franklin is well-traveled and considered handsome. 

Lady Verinder - Lady Verinder is the head of a massive house in Yorkshire. She is known for her honesty and fair dealings. She is known to have had a falling out with her brother, John Herncastle, the original Moonstone thief. 

Ezra Jennings - Ezra is the assistant to Mr. Candy, the doctor to Lady Verinder. Ezra is very smart and formulaic in his decision making. He’s deceptively mature-looking for his age, and is known for his height. Ezra, an aspiring doctor and researcher, has been falsely accused of wrong-doings in the past, which results in his loneliness and ostracization. 

Gabriel Betteredge - Betteredge is the house steward of Lady Verinder. His whitty, comical narratives begin the novel, as his infatuation with detective work, Robinson Crusoe, and writing shines through. He is extremely close to every individual in the family, be it household servants or the blood line. As an older man, Betteredge’s sense of humor is well-liked and recognized.

Godfrey Ablewhite
Godfrey is the well-known leader of charity groups in the London area; he’s also the cousin of Rachel. He’s a respected man, known for his good looks, religious mindset, education, and financial standing.

Sergeant Cuff - Cuff is a famous detective from London and is hired to investigate the case of the missing Moonstone. He doesn't look the part of a detective, but his knowledge and persistent questioning prove impressive. He is an extremely professional man who is, by far, the best investigator for solving this mystery.

Miss Clack - Like Godfrey Ablewhite, Miss Clack (niece to Lady Verinder) makes herself out to be a savior of the evil characters who do not practice the Christian faith. She tries to “save” characters by dispensing her Christian pamphlets to them. She makes donations to Godfrey Ablewhite's charities and argues frequently with Mr Bruff. 

Rosanna Spearman - Rosanna is the housemaid to Lady Verinder’s estate and a former thief. She is a quiet woman and is kind to those in the household. She begins to act oddly around Franklin Blake, which fails to go unnoticed by Betteredge and his daughter. 

Mr Bruff - Mr Bruff is the Verinder’s longtime lawyer. Unlike Ezra Jennings, Bruff handles his reasoning for the mystery with very precise, logical tactics. He uses no imagination when uncovering facts. He also holds high esteem for the Indians.

Mr Candy - Mr Candy, Lady Verinder’s doctor, is extremely flamboyant in his pride for his profession. Sadly, Mr Candy isn’t of much help throughout the novel, as he’s exposed to rain, which causes him to fall ill. This leads to permanent forgetfulness and confusion. .

Superintendent Seegrave - Seegrave is another police detective, and he suspects that the servants are to be blamed for the disappearance of the Moonstone. He uses very common methods in his investigation, and it quickly becomes clear that he is terrible at his job. Yet, he’s self-assured that he is, in fact, handling the case the correct way.

Colonel John Herncastle - John Herncastle is the initial thief of the Moonstone, as he steals the gem from the Indians during an English attack.  He ostracizes himself from the rest of his family and becomes bitter toward his sister, Lady Verinder. 

Mr Murthwaite -Mr Murthwaite looks like and respects the Indians. His tan appearance and bilingual nature gives this away. He’s always the respected the Indians and supposes they are innocent throughout the entire investigation. He blends well into the Indian community, and then reports back his information to the English, as a kind of double agent.

Different Narratives

Wilkie Collins’s seminal detective novel The Moonstone was one of the first novels to feature several different narrators.  At the beginning of the story, Franklin Blake explains the format of the novel:

“We have certain events to relate… and have certain persons concerned in those events who are capable of relating them.  Starting from the plain facts, the idea is that we should all write the story of the Moonstone in turn---as far as our own personal experience extends, and no farther. (Collins 21-22) 

The reader must take into account the biases of each narrator in order to get at the meat of the mystery surrounding the Moonstone. 

Franklin Blake

It is necessary for the reader to remember that Mr Franklin Blake is compiling and editing this novel.  Drusilla Clack mentions that Mr Blake vetoes her idea to include some of her religious pamphlets in the book’s text, showing his power as the composer of this tale.  Mr Blake also dismisses Gabriel Betteredge’s assertion that Mr Blake has multiple mindsets from the different countries he’s lived in, but later directly contradicts this dismissal.  As a result, it must be kept in mind that Mr. Blake has potentially read and edited the others’ narratives before working on his own, meaning his bias could well extend from his own narrative into those of others.  As an admirer and close relative of Miss Rachel Verinder, he wants to regain the Moonstone to try to win her heart.  Mr Blake’s jealousy toward his cousin Godfrey Ablewhite-a man that also seeks Miss Verinder’s hand-his history of spending money and traveling, and the resulting ideas and debts he acquires from his travels are all further motivations of his character.  

Gabriel Betteredge

Betteredge is commissioned by Mr Franklin Blake to start up the story because Blake thinks him to be the most involved individual in the earlier part of the novel.  Betteredge easily strays from the topic at hand, having to try no less than three times to delve into the actual tale of the Moonstone.  He is the steward of the Verinder household and has the unique ability to straddle between the servant and upper classes.  As a result, he feels loyalty to his entire household, from Lady Verinder to the lower servants.  When in doubt, his philosophy is to turn to Robinson Crusoe.  He loves this book so much that he can just jump in on a random page and enjoy an escape from his real-life problems.  He also uses the novel like a magic 8 ball at times: as a way to predict things like future courses of action and the arrival of a child into the family.  Betteredge either enjoys puns or is too dimwitted to catch figures of speech.  He states his opinions rather often, even though a good majority of them have no basis in fact.  He rather just wants everyone to get along and is more than content with his place in the household and in life.  He thinks highly of anything English, and whenever Mr Blake acts oddly, Betteredge attributes the behavior to his time in foreign schools.  Betteredge has some sexist tendencies, including both his opinions of and treatment towards women.  He assumes his reader is a married man, likely a descendant from the family he happily works for. 

Drusilla Clack

Although a niece to the wealthy Lady Verinder, Miss Clack doesn’t inherit any of her fortune, which she claims is no big deal, but it obviously is.  Miss Clack is also a hardcore, evangelical Christian and is always talking about saving people.  She clearly has a crush on Godfrey Ablewhite, a love for one of his charities, and a dislike toward all of the other “heathens” in her family.  She especially enjoys arguing with the lawyer, Mr Bruff.

Mr Bruff

Mr Bruff is characterized as a rather boring lawyer that is almost exclusively concerned with business.  He doesn’t have time for arguments with people like Miss Clack, nor for science experiments.  As the family’s lawyer, he takes a chief interest in their finances and the case of the Moonstone.  He also thinks of himself as being pretty smart.  Bruff admires the Indians for the respectful way in which they treated him after he refused to loan them money.  He operates in the most practical manner and can’t take a joke. 

Ezra Jennings 

Ezra Jennings’s contribution to the novel is in the format of a journal, which, unlike the other narrations, is written during the time of events it describes.  Jennings has a displeasing physical appearance, a mysterious bad reputation, and has experienced great trouble in the past.  As a result, he lives a lonely life with little companionship.  He spends most of his time occupied with practical and theoretical medicine, in addition to his writing.  Jennings appreciates Mr Candy, Miss Verinder, and Franklin Blake for their kind treatment toward him.  He is also writing this journal while dying and under the influence of opium, facts that must be considered. 

Sergeant Cuff

The Sergeant, a famous detective, initially gets involved with the case because of Franklin Blake’s father, one of his acquaintances.  He comes back later, out of retirement, as a gesture toward the kindness he received from Lady Verinder.  Cuff is an astute detective that keeps his thoughts to himself and manipulates people so he can receive the information he needs to solve his cases.  His favorite hobby is rose gardening, which leads to him pestering Lady Verinder’s gardener.  Although Sergeant Cuff doesn’t look the part and acts awkward at times (between his love of roses and whistling), he is accurate in all of his predictions regarding the theft of the Moonstone.       

Mr Candy

Mr Candy becomes ill following Miss Verinder’s birthday party and suffers from memory loss for the rest of the novel.  He becomes too ill to take care of his patients, so that duty is left to Ezra Jennings.  Mr Candy gets into an argument with Franklin Blake over the dinner, in which Blake dismisses Candy's trusted medicine as useless.  Therefore, he has a grudge against Mr Blake.    

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