The Mystery of Edwin Drood

The Mystery of Edwin Drood

Book - 2004
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Random House, Inc.

Central to the plot is John Jasper: in public he is a man of integrity and benevolence; in private he is an opium addict. And while seeming to smile on the engagement of his nephew, Edwin Drood, he is, in fact, consumed by jealousy, driven to terrify the boy’s fiancée and to plot the murder of Edwin himself.

As in many of Dickens’s greatest novels, the gulf between appearance and reality drives the action. Set in the seemingly innocuous cathedral town of Cloisterham, the story rapidly darkens with a sense of impending evil.

Charles Dickens’s final, unfinished novel is in many ways his most intriguing. A highly atmospheric tale of murder, The Mystery of Edwin Drood foreshadows both the detective stories of Conan Doyle and the nightmarish novels of Kafka.

Though The Mystery of Edwin Drood is one of its author’s darkest books, it also bustles with a vast roster of memorable–and delightfully named–minor characters: Mrs. Billikins, the landlady; the foolish Mr. Sapsea; the domineering philanthropist, Mr. Honeythunder; and the mysterious Datchery. Several attempts have been made over the years to complete the novel and solve the mystery, but even in its unfinished state it is a gripping and haunting masterpiece.

(Book Jacket Status: Jacketed)

Baker & Taylor
Dickens's last--and unfinished--novel introduces an unforgettable array of characters, from the sinister to the comic, and moves to a haunting climax in an atmospheric murder mystery that features the seemingly benevolent John Jasper, a secret opium addict, and his relationship with his newly engaged nephew, Edwin Drood.

Publisher: New York : Alfred A. Knopf : Distributed by Random House, c2004.
ISBN: 9781400043286
Characteristics: xxvii, 284 p. : ill. ; 21 cm.


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Mar 08, 2018

A prime example of Dicken's most excellent prose. Mind you, there's some difficult going for the modern reader, especially in the first part of the book. Convolutions of word order is Dickens fame; to boldly split infinitives, his game. Some of his sentences are virtually indecipherable. In one of the first scenes for example, at the Cathedral Close, given his reference to the habits of crows, it becomes a bit of a puzzle to determine how many people are involved in that dialog. Is it two? Three? Four? The naming of characters is another of Dicken's idiosyncrasies. But in a mystery novel, that can provide some clues. Drood for example probably refers to "Druid"; Rosa Budd, pretty obvious; Mr Crisparkle, a pleasant, sparkly-eyed fellow; the Landless twins, they really are quite poor, literally landless; Princess Puffer, another obvious one; Mr Grewgious, a gregarious sort; Mrs. Billickin , a contrary sort; Mr Tartar, seafarer; Mr. Honeythunder, well meaning bully. The list goes on, every character's name seems to be important in some way to the plot. My favorite minor character is Mr. Bazzard. He's seems to be an accident waiting to happen. A hazard, but in a comical sense. He's introduced in chapter 11, and if you decide to give up on the book early on b/c it seems a little too dense, be sure to at least read chapter 11. It's a hoot. And if you get that far you might as well read further on, there's some gems, plus the plot & language is more linear and dialog more spirited in the last half. Dick Datchery's unusual use of language for example: "I'm looking for lodging. Do you have something catherdrally?" ... lol .. If you're able to tolerate some archaic language, very much recommended. Be sure to have a good dictionary on hand.

BPLNextBestAdults Nov 15, 2011

Charles Dickens' final, unfinished novel is considered one of his darkest works. Presciently, depicting what modern psychologists might now describe as a manic obsession, Dickens' creation, John Jasper is chillingly evil. His secret life as an opium addict is completely at odds with the daytime persona he presents as choirmaster in the fictitious town of Cloisterham. His brooding fascination with Rosa Bud, betrothed to his cheery, unsuspecting and hopelessly naïve nephew, Edwin Drood is creepy and repugnant and compels him to commit a horrible crime.

Lamentably unfinished and written in installments, The Mystery of Edwin Drood was way ahead of its time – foreshadowing and modeling the great psychological thrillers of the 20th century. That Dickens' characterizations remain fresh and wholly recognizable with their all too human frailties is evident in modern day presentations of this work – both in theatre and television.

Jul 11, 2011

Edwin Drood is Dickens's last novel. It is about a young man who mysteriously disappears and the resulting search for him. The best and worst part about this novel is that it has no ending: Dickens died before he finished it. So the reader never finds out what happened to poor Mr. Drood. This makes the novel a true mystery and allows the readers to form their own theories. It also makes the novel incredibly annoying if you're someone who likes to know things for certain. There is a theory out there (based off of a letter Dickens wrote to a friend explaining a new plot that he was thinking about), but there's no definitive answer. However, the parts of the book that made it to paper are fantastic. The writing is wonderful, the characters are very interesting, and the atmosphere is intoxicating. One of the most amazing things about the narrative is Dickens's ability to make a cathedral a constant, brooding presence, even chapters after he last mentions it. Edwin Drood is also a great character and very amusing. The novel is full of suspicious characters, any one of whom could have done Drood in. Or maybe Drood's still alive? We'll never know; however, despite the lack of closure, this novel is definitely worth a read.


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