Gerald Sinstadt's Reviews > The Mystery of Edwin Drood

The Mystery of Edwin Drood by Charles Dickens
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's review
Oct 27, 2011

bookshelves: fiction-general
Read from October 24 to 29, 2011

This half a book: Dickens died before he could complete it. A summary of the plot is widely available (try Wikepedia), so let us take that as read. The mystery truly has no solution though there may be a variety of plausible beliefs. Personally, I am happy to remain in ignorance. The disappointment is less in not knowing the outcome as in the loss of what has all the makings of a novel to stand with the best of Dickens.

Setting aside the main protagonists, there is great joy to be had from a rich gallery of characters in supporting roles. Miss Twinkleton, boarding school mistress, is established early: "Miss Twinkleton here achieved a curtsey, suggestive of marvels happening to her respected legs, and which she came out of nobly, three yards behind her starting-point." Later, in London, the verbal war between Miss Twinkleton and the formidable Mrs Billikins (of no known forename) is the author at his comic best. Mr Grewgious, the lawyer, and Bazzard, his mutinous clerk and aspiring playwright; Thomas Sapsea the pompous auctioneer; Durdles, the alcoholic stonemason; Septimus Crisparkle, the gentle, kindly minor canon; all linger long in the memory.

Dick Datchery is an enigma, possibly destined to be a major player in unravelling the mystery. He enters late in the tale we have but this, alas, is known to be only the half of it. Others have tried to patch on an ending, but it is best left as it is - as no small achievement for a master story-teller.

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Comments (showing 1-2 of 2) (2 new)

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message 1: by James (new) - added it

James Piper There's a Dickens' title I'm not familar with.

message 2: by Gerald (new) - added it

Gerald Sinstadt You should try it. I'm halfway through and loving it.

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