T.S. Eliot called The Moonstone the first and greatest of English detective novels. I've held that statement up to the light and looked at it from every angle- and actually I don't see what's wrong with it. If there are earlier examples they've fallen into obscurity and if there are greater examples I don't know what they are. It's the liveliest and most thoroughly entertaining of the four Collins novels I've read, though not perhaps the best. The best is No Name. As always with Collins there's a lot of subversion going on and (something for which he doesn't get enough credit) plenty of delightful social comedy. It may also be the first English novel of any substance to suggest that Empire equals theft.