29 August 2012

The Moonstone Part 4 - Cry Because It's Over!


I dunno how Alice decided to break up the readings for this thing, but way to go on that one, lady.

H'okay, so. When last we met - which for me was not very long ago so I won't blame you if you missed my Part 3 post - Franklin had walked out of a fight with Rachel and said he "saw her and heard her no more," and we were all, OMG NOOOOOO!!! Because Godfrey turned out to be a money-grubbing douchenozzle and Rachel deserves someone nice even if she's not Marian.

So Ezra Jennings* comes back into the story with his piebald hair (?!?) and Mysterious Past and turns out to be quite a decent fellow, thankyouverymuch. Admit it - you suspected he somehow was behind all this for a hot second. Those piebald gipsy people are not to be trusted! But mostly because they try to save people from fevers by dosing them with brandy, quinine, and ammonia. How did we ever survive as a species before modern medicine, I ask you? And he has anecdotal evidence that Franklin's actions on Rachel's birthday night are due to opium because, you see, HE takes opium (it's totally medicinal!) so he would know. And he's writing a thingy on how the brain works, which must have sounded like  Fuck yea, SCIENCE!!! to the Victorians but at which I must admit I sniggered quite a lot.

But because this is fiction, they are able to recreate the moment and Franklin does indeed steal a bauble from the dresser and Rachel watches because she'll do anything - anything! - to clear his name, but after re-creating the scene up to the taking of the diamond, Franklin falls asleep on the couch.

So much for THAT theory. It is worth pointing out here that Betteredge has decided he dislikes Ezra Jennings - who has refused to accept the sovereignty of Robinson Crusoe - and so pesters him hilariously throughout. Oh, Betteredge.; I suspect that you and Miss Clack would have had great fun trading quotations from your respective holy books at one another, had you ever met.

But wait! All is not lost! The diamond is still in the bank - and once again the Victorians get the drop on us because we don't really understand pawning things to banks in this day-and-age or how that works, and Wilkie is of very little help explaining this so it must have been one of those Things that Everyone Understands kind of like parliamentary procedure or Bubble Tape gum. Sgt. Cuff has come back from his roses and written the name of the guy he now thinks did the deed on an envelope and given it to Franklin, who isn't supposed to open it until Franklin figures it out himself. Way to be a dick, Cuff.

So they go to the bank and watch the handoff of the diamond but everyone sees something different and they end up in the room of an inn where there is a dark-complected sailor dead in the bed and when his true identity was revealed this is what I said:

And then he turned out to be even MORE of a dickbag than we previously thought - what with the trying to marry people for their money and whatnot - because he was keeping a woman out in the country and giving her jewels and a house all in her name with the money from some kid's trust fund.

So, it was Godfrey all along, and he'd have gotten away with it if it hadn't been for those damn kids Indians! Which in retrospect, I could have picked up on had I not been so excited by the myriad possibilities that Wilkie put before me; it became clearer that Godfrey needed money once he and Rachel broke up. BUT that is the mark of a great writer! Hiding things in plain sight! Distraction and obfuscation! Lady Verinder and Betteredge foreverrrrrr!

Damn, that was a good book. Wilkie Collins, I bow to you.

This book gets 11 of 11 Moonstones**

*NOT the ugliest name in all history. Oh Wilkie, have you forgotten SIR PERCIVAL GLYDE?!?
**Not actual moonstones. And no, that joke doesn't get old.