The Goodreads suggestions section has become one such source of joy for me. I was searching for good novels in the detective genre when I came across "The Moonstone" by Wilkie Collins.
By the time I reached the end of the prologue, my nerves were already tingling as the build-up for a great mystery novel had been set.
The book is set in 19th century England, although the events in the prologue take place slightly earlier in the faraway exotic country of India. The prologue, ominously titled "The storming of Seringapatnam", describes how an officer of the East India Company comes in possession of a valuable diamond through thievery and murder right after the fall of Tipu Sultan of Mysore. The diamond, originally placed in a statue of the Moon God (hence the name) at Somnath, was sworn to be protected and restored by the priests of the temple at all costs.
Cut to half-a-century later when the said officer has been alienated by his family. To get back at them, the ailing old man leaves the diamond in his will to his niece on the day she turns eighteen. As it happens, the birthday party is also visited by three strange Indian gypsies. Later that night, the diamond mysteriously disappears. The theft, the search for it and the ultimate recovery of the diamond forms the rest of the novel.
Apart from the spine-chilling narrations at various parts in the book, the most interesting feature of the novel is the manner in which various chapters have been narrated by various characters in the book. The author's brilliance in eliciting humour and suspense from the narrators who speak in different styles is one of the highlights of the book.
Widely considered as one of the first mystery novels ever written, "The Moonstone" is a classic which you must read if you like reading Poe, Eliot and Doyle.