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The Mystery of Edwin Drood

3.66  ·  Rating Details ·  7,938 Ratings  ·  543 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 o
Paperback, 432 pages
Published March 28th 2002 by Penguin Classics (first published 1870)
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Astrida Nuryani The man (John Jasper) looks around him to see whether the woman (the opium den owner/Princess Puffer) is talking to him or not. So the word 'him' here…moreThe man (John Jasper) looks around him to see whether the woman (the opium den owner/Princess Puffer) is talking to him or not. So the word 'him' here refers to Jasper himself. 'Looks about' seems to have a broad sense in Victorian era grammar, since Herbert Pocket of Dickens's "Great Expectations" also says it all the time, and for him it means "looking for a job".(less)
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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
Vanessa Wu
Mar 06, 2012 Vanessa Wu rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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.
May 13, 2013 Kyle rated it it was ok  ·  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
Sep 16, 2015 James rated it really liked it
What a great book - and what a great shame for us (and him!) that Dickens never lived to complete it. Despite all the suggested answers to 'the mystery' and all the desperate attempts to 'complete' this novel - we will never know...what came next....

The version I read has the transcript of a 'trail' held in London / Covent Garden in 1914 to attempt to establish to guilt or otherwise of the main suspect - quite rightly, the 'judge' (G K Chesterton) ruled, after a long long hearing that all were
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."
Stacy LeVine
Jul 11, 2015 Stacy LeVine rated it liked it
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
Feb 17, 2010 Alex rated it really liked it
Shelves: victorian
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
Paul Brogan
Aug 31, 2012 Paul Brogan rated it really liked it
Shelves: classic
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 it was amazing
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
Mary Lou
May 11, 2016 Mary Lou rated it it was amazing
The five star rating is not for Drood alone - how does one rate half a mystery? - but is my way of honoring Charles Dickens with a Lifetime Achievement Award. Only J.K. Rowling and Terry Pratchett have come close to bringing me the pleasure I get from reading a Dickens novel, and I feel sure that both of them were heavily influenced by Mr. Dickens.

While other Dickens novels have had mysteries to solve, Drood seems to have more of a "whodunit" flavor than, say Bleak House. Regrettably, we shall
Julie Davis
Apr 07, 2016 Julie Davis rated it really liked it
I saved the last book for last, mostly because I knew it was half finished and it would break my heart not to know what happens. I combined actual reading with listening to the fantastic David Timson narration.

It was interesting that Dickens was telling a single-strand tale. This was probably because he planned to make it half the length of his usual novels. So it was much more like A Christmas Carol than Bleak House.

It was also interesting that we can see who the murderer is but we are left unc
Feb 09, 2010 Tim rated it really liked it
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
Jun 30, 2016 James rated it really liked it
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
Glen U
Jul 01, 2015 Glen U rated it really liked it
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
Of course I knew it was incomplete before I started it; even those who have never dared a Dickens novel know that Dickens died leaving the mystery unsolved. But, having only read three Dickens novels (A Christmas Carol, David Copperfield, and Bleak House), I felt I had a good grasp on Charlie and his style to merit making this my fourth Dickens book.

I was wrong. I probably should have gone with Great Expectations or another of the titles sitting on my bookshelf.

Dickens' trademark eccentric cari
Feb 10, 2010 Mahlon rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: read-2010
Dickens didn't finish it, so why should I have to? ;)
Jan 08, 2013 Sam rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: classics, mystery
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
Oct 29, 2011 Jim rated it it was amazing
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 really liked it
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.
Marts  (Thinker)
May 06, 2010 Marts (Thinker) rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: Fans of Charles Dickens novels
Shelves: classics, e-books
Hmm... an intersting read, as usual Dickens gives a thorough description of his characters. But, mystery, is it really a mystery? Based on the related state of affairs from, lets say, the text's 2nd installment, chapters four to nine, the reader can effectively draw specific conclusions. In essence, Charles Dickens unfinished novel, the last part of which was written on June 8, 1870, tells the tale of Edwin Drood though it sort of focuses on his uncle Jasper and gives full details of all the oth ...more
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Fascinating. The mystery is that this unfinished novel was ever published. Perhaps, like the recent publication of Harper Lee’s Go Set a Watchman earlier work, it was due to the avarice of the publishers rather than merits of the manuscript. Dicken’s last work, he may have been unable to complete the story because it was so dreadful.

The few flashes of Dickens’ insight and storytelling break through the gloom only emphasize how far Dickens was “off his game.” We can only hope that, the revised f
Oh what sadness! To come to the end of the story and know that it can never be finished. I confess I debated not reading it for that very reason. I knew I would feel this way: cheated, lost, frustrated, mourning for author and his creation.

And yet, as with all Dickens' stories, the characters are memorable, the dialogue witty and the situations all too familiar. This master of human nature recorded for all posterity Victorian England in all its eccentricities, vices and whimsies. I love him. I s
Vienna Goates
Aug 03, 2015 Vienna Goates rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I enjoyed this more than I thought I would, given the fact that it's unfinished. I thought it would be all set-up and the unsolved mystery would be irritating, but it wasn't too laborious and the fact that we'll never know what really happened to Edwin Drood is actually super fascinating to me. I love Dickens, though, so I wonder if readers who aren't as enthusiastic about him would like this book. I think if you are a Dickens fan, it makes for a fun read and interesting debate and conjecture.
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.
Jun 12, 2016 Jacob rated it really liked it
Another grad school read (Victorian Horror), so If I Had to Write About This Book: a couple of things stand out. It's an unfinished work, so that's usually a target-rich environment for drawing all sorts of conclusions with various levels of support and plausibility, though I think that's been done. One of the appendices talks about the opium trade in England, and how the attitude toward the drug was changing (from "Hey, it's a painkiller, give it to your colicky baby!" to "Wow, people will do j ...more
Aug 10, 2014 Rob rated it liked it
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
Tabi Card
Sep 01, 2016 Tabi Card rated it it was amazing
Shelves: to-re-read
This is one of the biggest reasons I need the Doctor to take me on a TARDIS adventure, so I can ask Dickens the ending of this story!!!

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Charles John Huffam Dickens (7 February 1812 – 9 June 1870) was an English writer and social critic. He created some of the world's best-known fictional characters and is regarded as the greatest novelist of the Victorian era. His works enjoyed unprecedented popularity during his lifetime, and by the twentieth century critics and scholars had recognised him as a literary genius. His novels and sho ...more
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“I loved you madly; in the distasteful work of the day, in the wakeful misery of the night, girded by sordid realities, or wandering through Paradises and Hells of visions into which I rushed, carrying your image in my arms, I loved you madly.” 49 likes
“How beautiful you are! You are more beautiful in anger than in repose. I don't ask you for your love; give me yourself and your hatred; give me yourself and that pretty rage; give me yourself and that enchanting scorn; it will be enough for me.” 13 likes
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