Goodreads helps you keep track of books you want to read.
Start by marking “The Mystery of Edwin Drood” as Want to Read:
The Mystery of Edwin Drood
Enlarge cover
Rate this book
Clear rating
Open Preview

The Mystery of Edwin Drood

3.66  ·  Rating details ·  9,446 ratings  ·  690 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 2002 by Penguin (first published 1870)
More Details... edit details

Friend Reviews

To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up.

Reader Q&A

To ask other readers questions about The Mystery of Edwin Drood, please sign up.
Popular Answered Questions
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)

Community Reviews

Showing 1-30
Rating details
Sort: Default
Sep 24, 2012 rated it liked it
This is a group read with the following people: myself. Yes, this has got to be the loneliest group read I have ever participated in.

The novel is an unfinished mystery from a classic of English literature. In the unfinished form my edition has around 230 pages and the actual mystery happens at 66% of the book length. Thus if I say what exactly the mystery is for all practical purposes it would be a complete spoiler. However from the title is can be deduced the mystery is connected to one of the
Simona Bartolotta
Apr 03, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 1800, in-english
REREAD 12/2017: Seriously, there are so many clues in here. My head hurts. Happily, though.


“And yet there are such unexplored romantic nooks in the unlikeliest men, that even old tinderous and touchwoody P. J. T. Possibly Jabbered Thus, at some odd times, in or about seventeen-forty-seven.”

The Mystery of Edwin Drood is contained in a book I'm currently reading in Italian, namely La verità sul caso D. (in English The D. Case or The Truth About the Mystery of Edwin Drood) by Fruttero an
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
Bionic Jean
Mystery and detective novels are one of the most popular genres, but have you ever wondered who wrote the first mystery novel?

The Mystery of Edwin Drood first published in 1870, is certainly one of the earliest, although not the first. That privilege is due to a work in German published in 1819, and entitled “Das Fräulein von Scuderi” by the Prussian author E.T.A. Hoffmann. This influenced what many consider the first true mystery short story, “The Murders in the Rue Morgue” which was written by
Glenn Sumi
More like 3.5 stars, but having read many Dickens novels, this isn't one of his best.... so I'm rounding down to 3

I came to The Mystery Of Edwin Drood, Dickens’s last and unfinished novel, by chance.

Earlier this year I’d read The Last Dickens, Matthew Pearl’s novel about the mystery surrounding Dickens’s final book. Pearl’s literary thriller involved murder, opium addiction, autobiographical elements about Dickens’s American speaking tour and affairs, international publishing rights, “bookaneers
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
Dec 14, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Otra vez me veo en la tarea de reseñar libros inconclusos sin ser muy específica y, a la vez, sintiéndome ridícula por no serlo. El misterio de Edwin Drood tuvo la mala suerte de quedar trunco por el fallecimiento de Dickens, a pesar de que luego muchos aventuraron el nombre del asesino (¡imposible no hacerlo!). Dickens dejó justo ese espacio para rellenar, en la parte en donde todo parece encaminarse hacia el nombre del culpable y después… el abismo. No hay nada. En esta edición, al menos, añ ...more
May 15, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
La scomparsa del giovane Edwin rimarrà per sempre un mistero perché Charles Dickens è scomparso lasciando incompiuto questo romanzo cupo e fumoso, illuminato da situazioni comiche, ambientato nella città inventata di Cloisterham, tra cattedrali, cripte, cimiteri, collegi per signorine, lussuosi palazzi e quartieri malfamati. Mentre si può intuire come avrebbe potuto concludersi, la storia si gusta soprattutto per la maestria di Dickens nel creare i personaggi e nel scegliere i loro nomi: l’inqui ...more
Simona Bartolotta
I'm starting to feel it's a little unfair of me to rate these aspiring conclusions to The Mystery of Edwin Drood, because I've known for a while now that none of them will be quite there. Leon Garfield's has the merit of being not boring and probably close in plot to what the original would have been. Anyway, it's still extremely fascinating to see how different authors have reimagined the same story.
Vanessa Wu
Mar 06, 2012 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.
Jul 21, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Another lovely Dickens, though unfinished. His style is grandiose. He really mastered it in this unfinished book. The irony is to the point. His characterisation is superb... What to say more of a wonderful piece of writing by so great an author... Minor point ... unfinished?
Mar 27, 2015 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
Frustration or Fascination?

Reading Dickens’s last novel, The Mystery of Edwin Drood can be a source of both frustration and fascination, for the one reason that is far more easily explained than borne – that Dickens died while he was midway in writing the story and that he did not leave any notes allowing us to draw conclusions as to how the mystery of Edwin Drood’s disappearance – we do not even know for sure that he has been killed – will be cleared up.

The story in a nutshell: We have a young,
Jul 09, 2017 rated it really liked it
Dickens begins Drood with a notable variation on the rhetoric of, say, "Fog Everywhere..." in Bleak House. "Then follow white elephants caparisoned..." is a fantastic portrayal, avowed to be an invasion of a fantastic consciousness. Dickens' prior intimacy with his characters has been limited to the "I" narrative, his portrayal of other characters depending largely on his command of their words in dialog and his descriptive rhetoric in landscaping the situation. The author ruptures narrative dis ...more
Apr 14, 2013 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
Sandra Bašić
Šteta što je Dickens umro prije dovršetka knjige, ostaju otvorena pitanja...
Bionic Jean
Please link HERE for my review of this intriguing book, which would almost certainly have rated 5 stars, had it ever been completed by Dickens.
Stacy LeVine
Mar 07, 2009 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
Aug 18, 2013 rated it it was amazing
When I was young and foolish I skipped The Mystery of Edwin Drood because Charles Dickens never finished it, and how could I read anything and not know how it ended? But that foolishness then allowed me now, forty years later, to "discover" this new (to me) Dickens text, and to read it from the beginning with the question, What is Dickens setting up here? Indeed, my own expectation is that in the first half of a book the Problem has been announced and all the main characters (their motives and f ...more
Dec 04, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Well, it is rather hard to evaluate a book when it is yet to be completed, but this book will not be concluded, so I must judge it not by its cover, but rather by its incomplete promise.

This book marks a fresh style for Dickens. While all his books have some mystery in them, they are not mystery novels as such. Here, however, we do have a mystery as our title tells us. In the early going Dickens develops a wonderful tone with the fictional cathedral town of Cloisterham and offers a grand openin
Will not be rating this for obvious reasons—it’s unfinished.
Paul Brogan
Aug 31, 2012 rated it really liked it
Shelves: classic
When Ernie produced The Mystery of Edwin Drood at the last Gentlemen's Book Club he took me to one side before the others could muscle in. 'Here,' he said, 'I knew 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. I'd rather had in mind something like Oliver Twist or The Pickwick Papers, but this seemed as good a place to start as any.
My knowledge of this particular book wa
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
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."
Mary Lou
May 11, 2016 rated it liked it
How does one rate half a mystery?

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 never know whodunit... or if a murder was even committed (I'm not convinced!). Despite this frustration, we're treated to the delightful Mr. Crisparkle and his mother; the prim and proper Miss Twinkleton; the candid Mrs. Billickin; and the particularly Angular Mr. Grewgious - all wonderfully quirky and lovable. We'r
Ruthie Jones
Feb 11, 2012 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
Ahmad Sharabiani
The Mystery of Edwin Drood, Charles Dickens
رمان ناتمام: «معمای ادوین درود» یا «اسرار ادوین درود»؛نویسنده: چارلز دیکنز؛
Feb 09, 2010 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
Feb 02, 2010 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
Oct 29, 2008 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
« previous 1 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 next »
topics  posts  views  last activity   
Around the Year i...: The Mystery of Edwin Drood, by Charles Dickens 1 11 Mar 12, 2018 07:06AM  
The Old Curiosity...: The story in illustrations 6 10 Dec 06, 2017 10:45AM  
The Old Curiosity...: MED, Chp. 17 - 20 55 13 Dec 04, 2017 11:56AM  
The Old Curiosity...: MED, Chapters 1 - 5 91 21 Nov 17, 2017 08:30AM  
The Old Curiosity...: Reading Schedule, and Preliminary Observations 79 31 Oct 30, 2017 12:59PM  
Less tolerant of Dickens style as I get older? 1 2 Sep 03, 2017 10:48AM  
  • Framley Parsonage (Chronicles of Barsetshire #4)
  • The Haunted Hotel: A Mystery of Modern Venice
  • Charles Dickens
  • Esther Waters
  • The Trumpet-Major
  • Felix Holt: The Radical
  • Treasure Island and The Ebb-Tide
  • Sylvia's Lovers
Charles John Huffam Dickens was a writer and social critic who 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 short stories enjoy lasting popularity.

“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.” 54 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.” 14 likes
More quotes…