After some 65 years I have read again Moonfleet by J M Falkner, written in 1898. Although I still remembered all the main events, it was as exciting to read as the first time round and I finished the 250 pages in two days.
Young John Trenchard's peaceful life with his aunt in the Dorset fishing village of Moonfleet ends dramatically when he discovers an underground passage leading from some tombstones in the churchyard to the burial vault of the Mohunes under the church. Soon he is drawn into a dangerous world of smugglers and contraband, and the mysterious legend of the Mohune's cursed diamond.
The plot and the narration are very well constructed, with a mixture of gripping descriptions and very touching emotions - all ending happily, of course, despite the killings and the tragic drownings. I agree with the blurb, that the story is 'as exciting to read today as it was when it first appeared in 1898'.
But I now realize that our primary school English teacher Miss Frankel actually read us a very simplified version [ see my post # 60 ]. So the verses which indicate the location of the diamond are much more cleverly compiled in the full text than the simple wording that I remembered; and the language and nautical terms are those of Falkner's times of 1898. But then, my English has improved too. My intention was to give the book to the children of my niece in Seattle and my nephew in Israel - but I now realize that they are still far too young.