Places Discussed

(Critical Guide to Settings and Places in Literature)


*Seringapatam (se-rihn-guh-puh-TAM). Capital of southern India’s Mysore under the reign of Sultan Tipu Sahib in the late eighteenth century. The novel opens with the storming of Seringapatam by the British, during which John Herncastle steals the fabulous sacred Hindu diamond known as the “Moonstone.” As a land of mystics, mystery, and fabled gems, a land known as the “jewel” in the British crown, India provides an appropriate setting for the opening of this mystery novel.


*Yorkshire. Region in northern England in which Lady Verinder has an estate on the shore of the North Sea. Yorkshire provides atmosphere; its moors and the wildness of the North Sea serve as a forbidding and oppressive setting for many Victorian novels, providing loneliness and desolation as a background. The Verinder estate, at some distance from Frizinghall, the nearest town, stands in isolation, adding to the mysterious nature of the novel. There are a few other farms some miles distant, and the tiny fishing village of Cobb’s Hill marks the boundaries of the estate to prevent a sense of total isolation, even though the manor stands alone in its environment.

Echoing the intensity of the plot, the location rapidly changes back and forth from the deserted estate to London. The trips become more and more frenetic, giving a sense of breathlessness to the atmosphere.

One of the most ominous...

(The entire section is 535 words.)