The Mystery of Edwin Drood

The Mystery of Edwin Drood

Paperback Classics Library (NTC)

By (author) Charles Dickens, Introduction and notes by Peter Preston, Illustrated by S. L. Fildes, Illustrated by (Phiz) Hablot K. Browne, Series edited by Dr. Keith Carabine

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  • Publisher: Wordsworth Editions Ltd
  • Format: Paperback | 496 pages
  • Dimensions: 124mm x 196mm x 28mm | 318g
  • Publication date: 1 October 1998
  • Publication City/Country: Herts
  • ISBN 10: 1853267295
  • ISBN 13: 9781853267291
  • Edition: New edition
  • Edition statement: New edition
  • Sales rank: 44,643

Product description

Dickens's final novel, left unfinished at his death, is a tale of mystery whose fast-paced action takes place in an ancient cathedral city and in some of the darkest places in nineteenth century London. Drugs, sexual obsession, colonial adventuring and puzzles about identity are among the novel's themes. At the centre of the plot lie the baffling disappearance of Edwin Drood and the many explanations of his whereabouts. A sombre and menacing atmosphere, a fascinating range of characters and Dickens's usual superb command of language combine to make this an exciting and tantalising story. Also included in this volume are a number of unjustly neglected stories and sketches, with subjects as different as murder and guilt and childhood romance. This unusual selection illustrates Dickens's immense creativity and versatility.

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Editorial reviews

Who killed Edwin Drood? Was he, in fact, murdered at all? And who is the very white-haired (and black-eyebrowed) Datchery? Those were the major questions left in mystery when Dickens died after writing only about half of The Mystery of Edwin Drood. And Garfield's attempt at completing the book - hardly the first such - wisely chooses to solve the murder mystery in the most generally accepted manner, the manner clearly indicated by Dickens' notes and conversations: opium addict Jasper is the killer, and he deposited his nephew's body in the quicklime beneath the Cathedral. On other counts, however, the plot turns here are somewhat disappointing. Datchery is not the lawyer Grewgious in disguise nor Helena Landless . . . but an actor-turned-detective working for Grewgious: an awfully mundane explanation. A second murder - of Neville Landless - seems arbitrary, And Jasper's death-cell confession - though based (perhaps too literally) on Dickens' own stated intentions - seems rather more akin to Tony Perkins' schizoid Psycho revelation than to anything that Dickens would have written. As for Garfield's style in the concluding 100 pages - it's an agreeable enough compromise: a modern equivalent of a Dickensian style instead of an imitation. But it must be said that Dickens' other-worldly aura collapses almost immediately in Garfield's chapters: the dark themes are not picked up on; the pace is too hurried (Dickens' own finale would probably have been at least half-again as long); the shifts between past and present tense become noticeably jarring (with Dickens, they're invisible); there's a contemporary flatness to the similes and digressions. All in all, then, this is a tasteful, talented, cautious job of work - good enough to give lucky readers an excuse to read (or re-read) the original, but not (how could it be?) the much-missed second half of a minor masterpiece. (Kirkus Reviews)

Back cover copy

The main issue in the novel is the disappearance of Edwin Drood and the suspicion that he has been murdered. But as intriguing as this central plot are the startling innovations in Dicken's work and the troubled elements lurking within the novel: a dark opium underworld, the uneasy and violent fantasies of its inhabitants, the disquieting presence of old 'Princess Puffer', of the quiet cathedral town of Cloisterham from which people have to escape in order to save themselves--and, at the centre, the menacing figure of Jasper.