Does The Moonstone Need a Detective to Solve the Case?

“Whether the investigation is conducted by police or private detectives, its sheer intrusiveness posits a world whose normality has been hitherto defined as a matter of not needing the police or policelike detectives.”

On page 3 of Miller’s article “The Novel and the Police”, Miller notes how the presence of police or private detectives in an investigation assumes a “world whose normality has been hitherto defined as a matter of not needing the police or policelike detectives” (Miller 3). I thought this quote was useful in reading Collin’s The Moonstone, as the predominant detective figure Sergeant Cuff, is dismissed from the case earlier in the novel by Rachel’s mother Lady Julia after Cuff suggested that Rachel was hiding something and still has possession of the stone. Although Rachel herself did not have the stone, Cuff was correct in his assumption that Rachel was withholding information about the case. Later in the story during Jennings’s narrative, Cuff returns to help with the reenactment of Franklin under the influence of opium the night of the moonstone’s disappearance. On the 20th of June during his narrative, Jennings says “I also suggested inviting the Sergeant to be present at the experiment…he would be a valuable witness to have, in any case; and, if I proved to be wrong in believing the Diamond to be hidden in Mr. Blake’s room, his advice might be of great importance” (Collins 407). This quote was interesting to me because Jennings has made great progress on the case since Cuff was dismissed earlier on by Julia. By himself, Jennings drew the connection of the possibility of Franklin being under the influence of opium during the disappearance of the stone. Jennings draws on his own personal experience and knowledge of opium and its effects and assumes that Franklin could have very well stolen the moonstone without knowing it. However, despite this observation that arguably only an opium addict like Jennings could make, Collins makes it clear that Jennings wants Cuff to help during the recreation of the night. Jennings says that Cuff “is a valuable witness to have in any case”, suggesting that all cases should have a detective or “policelike” figure (407).  The previous quote from Miller’s article is interesting to look at this dynamic between Cuff leaving and returning to help with the case, as the re-emergence of Cuff proves to be helpful but also doesn’t seem necessary at the time, given the progress made in the case during his absence. By Jennings emphasizing the importance of the presence of Cuff during the investigation, it places the detective figure as a necessary asset when trying to uncover the truth and begs the question if detectives are actually needed.