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The Mystery of Edwin Drood

3.63 of 5 stars 3.63  ·  rating details  ·  6,506 ratings  ·  464 reviews
Charles Dickens's final, unfinished novel, and one that has puzzled readers and inspired writers since its publication, The Mystery of Edwin Drood is edited with an introduction by David Paroissien in Penguin Classics. Edwin Drood is contracted to marry orphan Rosa Bud when he comes of age, but when they find that duty has gradually replaced affection, they agree to break ...more
Paperback, 432 pages
Published May 28th 2002 by Penguin Classics (first published 1870)
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(showing 1-30 of 3,000)
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Cheryl Kennedy
Tomalin's biography of Charles Dickens states that THE MYSTERY OF EDWIN DROOD sold well from the start reaching 50,000 copies. Dickens, sending pages of the manuscript to the printer, put a note to tell him, 'The safety of my precious child is my sole care,' an unexpected image from the most masculine of writers. DROOD has fascinated readers because the mystery of Drood's disappearance was left unfinished and unsolved, and the tone of Dicken's last work deviated from his others with hints of hyp ...more
MJ Nicholls
An incomplete Dickens novel is like a half-finished jigsaw. How do you rate a half-finished jigsaw? This fragment, being Dickens, actually comprises about 1.5/3 of the intended work, but still isn’t enough to want to invest oneself emotionally and intellectually in the characters and plot happenings (for me, anyway). In this instance, it may be wiser to skip the book and head straight for the recent BBC adaptation (much as it pains me to recommend TV over text). Still: not without its usual char ...more
Nancy Oakes
I knew at the outset that Dickens died before he had the chance to finish this novel, but I didn't realize how incredibly frustrated I was going to be because of it! It seems that he was just getting somewhere, and that there was going to be some climactic action coming up shortly, and then poof. No more book. But on the other hand, it was so good getting to that point, and as noted, I am aware that The Mystery of Edwin Drood was unfinished, so I can't say that I was all that frustrated, really. ...more
May 13, 2013 Kyle rated it 2 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: People who are already Dickens fans
Shelves: library-books
I only partially like Dickens, so in my continuing effort to change my ways regarding Mr. Charles, I thought I would read a Dickens book that was only partially finished.

Turns out that idea actually is as bad as it sounds.

I don't really feel like writing a more involved review, so I'll keep it short and sweet: If you already like Charles Dickens, you'll probably like this book (though likely not as much as his other, more complete, work). If you're like me and are largely ambivalent towards Ch
Vanessa Wu
I don't know what made me buy this book and start reading it. The first few pages were torture. I knew the novel was unfinished. At least it would be short. But why even bother at all?

Then gradually there appeared light in the murk. Uncle and nephew, Jack and Eddy, got out their nuts and started to talk about Pussy.

No one does dialogue like Dickens. It is crisp, clear, entertaining and lifelike. Even the way the men crack their nuts adds to the drama.

Dickens is completely unafraid of sentiment.
Glen U
First off, if anybody else but Dickens had written this, I never would have read it. Nobody reads an unfinished novel, unless the value lies in the writer and not in the story. This is a story of a mystery, possibly a murder. Because of the unfinished nature of the book, there are characters that seem superfluous and events that are incongruous. But the writing is superlative. Unlike some of his other works, his writing is a little more sparse. His narratives are still full of grand descriptions ...more
Laurel Hicks
I didn't finish reading this book because Dickens didn't finish writing it. (He died instead, thus creating a real mystery.) As Chesterton wrote, "And alone, perhaps, among detective-story writers, he never lived to destroy his mystery."
This book is a complete enigma, least of all because it remained unfinished at Dickens death and no-one knows the solution to the "mystery" of Edwin Drood's death. (As much as the clues point to Jasper being the killer, I can't help feeling it would be so much more like Dickens to have Edwin return alive ...but it's not important, we'll never know!). There are flashes of the genius writer Dickens was that I know and love, particularly in the relationship between Edwin and Rosa who just can't get ...more
Stacy LeVine
THE MYSTERY OF EDWIN DROOD took me a whopping 10 months to conquer. That kicks the ass of former record-holder MOBY DICK, which took me four.

The tedium that slows MOBY DICK results from the plot amounting to a mere short story. The vast majority of nearly 600 pages constitutes a scientific treatise on whales, which can be testy to the patience of a fiction fan—even a fiction fan with random cetacean obsessions (such as myself). The tedium that slows …DROOD, however, is downright maddening.

This D
Paul Brogan
When Ernie produced this book at the last Gentlemen's Book Club, he took me to one side before the others could muscle in on this little gem. 'Here,' he said, 'I know you'd be interested in this.'

He was right. After all, when we first formed the club, I'd expressed a particular interest in filling the Dickens-shaped hole in my education. Of course, I'd rather had in mind something like Oliver Twist or The Pickwick Papers, but this seemed to me to be as good a place to start as any.

My knowledge o
Ruthie Jones
Aug 22, 2014 Ruthie Jones rated it 5 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: jennifer brinkmeyer
Even his unfinished novel is brilliant! Too bad Dickens died before Edwin Drood was finished, but what better way to go than to leave a captive audience hanging and wanting more! All the speculation and wondering will never reveal what the good author intended, but what is revealed is a glimpse into a novel that is and would have been purely Dickens.

"Their way lies through strange places." ~ chapter 12

"...but no trace of Edwin Drood revisited the light of the sun." ~ chapter 15
Toughest book to rate, EVER. The final novel from a master — but exactly half finished! That makes a five-star rating out of the question, but can I give it four when it isn't otherwise truly great? Well, I did. Maybe I'll change the rating daily (four, three, four, three) for the rest of my life.

"The Mystery of Edwin Drood" opens with three men and a woman sprawled across an "unseemly" bed, two of the men in a stupor, the woman smoking opium, and, emerging himself from a haze, John Jasper, a ma
Four years, many speaking engagements, and a trip to America intervened between Charles Dickens' penultimate novel and his final one, The Mystery of Edwin Drood.
Ever since his involvement in a train accident in 1865 on his return from France, and perhaps even before, Dickens was ailing with a variety of illnesses, some of which were at least aggravated by overwork and his refusal to reduce his schedule. It was thus in 1869 that he began writing his final novel of which the first six of the origi
Jeanette  "Astute Crabbist"
I'll tell you one thing for free-----the ending sucked! :D

I don't know how to rate a book that's only half-written due to author demise. It's not my habit to read unfinished novels. I only read this so I could see Dan Simmons' jumping-off point for his recent Drood novel. Simmons used very little from Dickens' story. There's erratic behavior by an opium user, and some of the characters are similar, but Simmons' book is really his own creation. He focused more on the lives of Charles Dickens and
Dickens didn't finish it, so why should I have to? ;)
Dickens is at the height of his power here. Almost every paragraph is exceptional. It amazes me how he can vocalize each character in their own peculiar ways. You always know who is speaking or thinking. Unfortunately, the book is unfinished, Dickens died at about the halfway point in the story.

Some people do not approve of his characters, especially the young women, who are often portrayed as very beautiful, delicate and unable to care for themselves. The heroes are strong and handsome and of
Ben Loory
Mar 04, 2009 Ben Loory rated it 4 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: people who want to drive themselves insane
Recommended to Ben by: dan simmons
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
How frustrating not to know how Dickens planned to end this! I can think of at least 3 possible ways that the plot could go...

I alternately read this on my Kindle and listened to the Librivox recording, which was excellent! I particularly liked the voices for Deputy and the old woman, but all of them were good.
There is a world weariness to Dickens' final, uncompleted novel although that one of the main characters is an opium addict and most of the action takes place away from the bustle of London would perhaps underline this. Fragments and testimonies exist to hint at what the author intended and these vary little from what we would expect having read the first 300 pages - so there is a lack of dramatic tension and too many of the characters are flagged as being good or bad within a few pages of encou ...more
Jan 02, 2011 Ellie added it
Shelves: fiction
It's sort of horrifying how many books I seem to read at a time. But I started this one 35 years ago & am finally finishing it (which is, I guess, more than Dickens can say!).
Ellie NYC
Free download available at Project Gutenberg.

This was not an easy reading for me, specially for this unfinished Dickens book.
I listened to most of this book on audio, and I think due to the fact that I didn't listen to it for long periods of time, I found it extremely hard to follow. I didn't particularly enjoy the writing style. I am not sure what you call it, but it's almost play-like.

I picked it up in hard copy and read the introduction, finished the Dickens "unfinished" portion, then read most of the play written in the early 20th century to "finish the mystery" (there are several different endings you can find o
Anne Hawn Smith
This book was as good as it was unsatisfying. What can I expect considering that Dickens died in the middle of the book. He stopped writing, had a stroke at dinner and never regained consciousness. At first I wondered what the point would be to reading a mystery that wasn't finished, but it was much more interesting than I thought. It appears that Dickens was half-way through the book when he died, so the scene was set, the characters developed and the major clues laid down. There is fairly wide ...more
Well, I stuck with this over the summer because I wanted to tell you what Dickens probably intended to do with this story had he lived. I read it years ago and have just finished reading it again. There is no spoiler in saying that Jasper killed someone and thinks it is his nephew Edwin Drood. But I don't think so. I had my eye on Mr. Grewgious's clerk Bazzard because he is so self-centered and because he watched Grewgious remove the engagement ring from the safe and give it to Edwin. My theory ...more
I had a moment of euphoria while reading this book, around the fifth/sixth of those great moments where you realize why you love good books. If finished I think it would've made a terrific book, as it is, it's still wonderful. The edition I read included a short introduction by G.K. Chesterton that analyzed different theories for the books end, from the murderer's identity to the strange character of Mr. Datchery to the possibility that Edwin Drood is not dead at all. I was reminde ...more
This is a superb story that is packed with intrigue and conspiracy that begins innocently enough with two orphans whose parents had arranged their marriage before their deaths and their remaining relatives and friends. However it quickly becomes apparent that all is not quite as it seems, culminating in the disappearance of Edwin and the discovering of his belonging where they should not be. Later revelations hint and uncover a few possible conclusions and motives building to what would have und ...more
The story centers around a young man, Edwin Drood, who are to be married to a young girl, Rosa Bud. They aren't in love with each other, but the marriage is an arrangement by their parents. Drood's uncle, John Jasper, is also in love with Rosa. Then, one day, Drood disappears.

What is favorable is that the characters aren't one-dimensional. John Jasper is a really interesting, layered character, struggling with his opium addiction and secret, forbidden love that can never be returned. He is not c
OH. MY. GOODNESS. How is it possible for a book to be so enthralling, so fascinating, yet be so intrinsically frustrating? "The Mystery of Edwin Drood" was Charles Dickens's last book, and it is an exiting, complicated, romantic, dark mystery indeed - made all the more aggravating by the fact that Dickens died halfway through writing the book, leaving the mystery unsolved! The book was published episodically, so half of the book had already been published when Dickens died, leaving his millions ...more
Thom Swennes
Many artistic geniuses continue with their art to the end. Mozart, Schubert and Dickens are just a few examples of artists that left unfinished works. Charles Dickens’ last novel The Mystery of Edwin Drood could have been one of his best stories, if he could have lived long enough to complete it. This tale, as all his works, is colored with a copious number of unique characters with even more inimitable names. (Pussy) Rosa Bud, Reverend Septimus Crisparkle, Neville and Helena Landless, Princess ...more
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Should unfinished works be left untouched? 8 36 Sep 18, 2013 09:18PM  
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A prolific 19th Century author of short stories, plays, novellas, novels, fiction and non-fiction; during his lifetime Dickens became known the world over for his remarkable characters, his mastery of prose in the telling of their lives, and his depictions of the social classes, morals and values of his times. Some considered him the spokesman for the poor, for he definitely brought much awarenes ...more
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