[The following text is a note to the author's 4-part essay, "Collins's 'detective business': The Moonstone as a Detective Novel."]

The rise of the detective as heroic literary type depended not only on the creation of a new police but also on important developments in sociopolitical relationships. (Peele's Metropolitan police). According to Dennis Porter by the 1840s a greater diffusion of the nation's wealth into the middle and lower-middle classes resulted in a form of 'embourgeoisement' that led to a more positive perception of the forces of order.(149). Further the new divorce laws resulted in the emergence of private detectives (usually belonging to the middle classes) who stood apart from the police.

Interestingly, Seargent Cuff is not the only detective figure in The Moonstone. The figure of the private detective paved way for the scientist-detective in the Nineteenth century. It is a development that corresponded to the emergence of criminology and forensic science as important new disciplines in the treatment of crime (Ronald R.Thomas, 183). Sherlock Holmes became the prototype of the new scientist-detective. In The Moonstone, Ezra Jennings comes closest to this scientist-detective ideal.

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Victorian  Web Wilkie Collins

Last modified 3 October 2007