3 June 2010 | didi-5
Rachel Verinder (Vivien Heilbron) has inherited a yellow diamond known as the Moonstone from her wicked uncle, who obtained it by murder. The Moonstone is sacred to Indians and was taken from the forehead of a god in the temple, and anyone who comes into possession of it is cursed.
When the Moonstone is stolen on Rachel's birthday, everyone in the household falls under suspicion, from her cousins Franklin Blake (Robin Ellis) and Godfrey Ablewhite (Martin Jarvis), her mother Lady Verinder (Kathleen Byron), butler Betteredge (Basil Digham), to servants Penelope Betteredge (Maureen Morris) and Rosanna Spearman (Anna Cropper). And what of the Indian conjurors who appeared at the birthday dinner to show off their tricks? There isn't that much of a mystery here, and the last two episodes show how the theft was carried out, and causes the thief to meet a nasty end. Other cast members include Peter Sallis as Mr Bruff the solicitor, John Welsh as Sgt Cuff the detective, Brian Murphy as Septimus Luker the money lender, and Christopher Hancock as Jennings.
Atmospheric but clearly low-budget, this adaptation runs a little short of five hours, so has some leisure to develop the story. Wilkie Collins' original novel is often called the first detective story, and does weave some twists and turns as the story of the Moonstone theft unfolds. This version is better than the version with Greg Wise which was made in the 1990s, and benefits from some good acting especially from Cropper, Ellis and Heilbron.