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The Mystery of Edwin Drood

3.67  ·  Rating details ·  10,924 ratings  ·  852 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)
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Astrida 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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Average rating 3.67  · 
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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
Ahmad Sharabiani
The Mystery of Edwin Drood, Charles Dickens

The Mystery of Edwin Drood is the final novel by Charles Dickens. originally published in 1870. Though the novel is named after the character Edwin Drood, it focuses more on Drood's uncle, John Jasper, a precentor, choirmaster and opium addict, who is in love with his pupil, Rosa Bud.

Miss Bud, Edwin Drood's fiancée, has also caught the eye of the high-spirited and hot-tempered Neville Landless. Landless and Edwin Drood take an instant dislike to one an
From time to time, I like to revisit the classics. In 1870, Charles Dickens died from a stroke in the middle of writing The Mystery of Edwin Drood. The book was never finished, and there weren't a lot of details in any notes or conversations for anyone to fully know his intentions for the ending. Readers were left with an open-ended story and have to decide for themselves. Years ago, the book was converted to a script and performed on Broadway. I meant to buy tickets but got distracted and never ...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
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
Simona B
Apr 03, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: in-english, 1800
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
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
Joey Woolfardis
In cloisteresque Cloisterham, John 'Jack' Jasper lives with his ward and nephew, Mister Edwin Drood, and teaches music to Drood's own betrothed-the beguiling Rosa. Meanwhile, arriving at Cloisterham, the Landless twins, Neville and Helena of exotic advantage, cause a disruption to the quiet and monotonous lives of those in this Cathedral City.

Charles Dickens died before he could finish this novel. He wrote twenty-three chapters, each one carefully planned and written before giving it to be publi
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
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
Jul 14, 2020 rated it liked it
Shelves: overdrive, audio
A few years ago I saw a musical based on this story. The audience selected a different “murderer” at each performance and it was much more charming and fun than the book. Although there were some amusing passages, I found most of the book tedious. The fact that it was unfinished was the thing that interested me most about the book.
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?
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.
Medhat The Book Fanatic
With words filled with utmost wit and dark humor, Charles Dickens has created an atmospheric gothic tale that creeps into love and jealousy & hatred and envy.

This is the first time I get into Dickens, and while I faced some minor issues with this book, I cannot wait to go back into the magical words of this brilliant writer.

As some are unaware of, The Mystery of Edwin Drood is Dickens' last and unfinished work. With the lack of notes about how the novel ends, we are left with our imagination to
Simona B
Mar 27, 2018 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: in-english, 1900
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. ...more
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
Deliciously creepy and funny in turn, with a pervasive and palpable sense of foreboding. I'd have liked more, but in a perverse way it might be less intriguing if everything were neatly tied up. ...more
Tristram Shandy
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,
J.M. Hushour
Jun 26, 2020 rated it it was ok
Dickens is a treasure, but he does have his misses. I think especially of the abysmal The Old Curiosity Shoppe or the hellish, grating Barnaby Rudge. Unfortunately this, his final and thankfully incomplete novel, falls solidly in the 'miss' category. Dickens is a master of language, but has an occasional tendency to become overwrought and lost in his own fancy of language, something that happens here throughout. The bland characters are all stock Dickens types and the real mystery is how could n ...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
Stacy LeVine
Mar 07, 2009 rated it liked it
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
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. ...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 Ataua
Jun 03, 2021 rated it really liked it
It has taken me almost a lifetime to get around to reading the unfinished “Drood’ but I have finally done it and am so glad I have. Rather than feeling disappointed at the lack of an ending, I found myself opened up to the many possible endings that have been suggested since the author's death. It may not be the best Dickens, but it's still well worth reading. I enjoyed it. ...more
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
Mar 15, 2019 rated it it was amazing
I’ve begun The Mystery of Edwin Drood by Charles Dickens. It is the last novel Dickens wrote and he never finished it. It was due to be serialised in 12 monthly instalments beginning in April of 1870. Dickens completed six and died of a stroke the 9th of June, 1870. His death was both sudden and unexpected.

Why read read an unfinished work?

Well, what we have of the novel is magnificent. He was at the height of his powers and had he lived Drood would certainly have been one of his finest works.
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
Jun 19, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Fun, spooky, atmospheric, comedic and haunting, all rolled into one. I recognize Dickens' style in the creation of curious and entertaining characters, but this story had a somewhat unique feel for me. It seemed to embody different emotions than I've become accustomed to in his works. Tragic that this was never finished, but then again, it's almost perfect that it happened - the mystery left behind just adds to the mystique. I enjoy thinking of all the different possibilities Dickens may have ha ...more
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
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topics  posts  views  last activity   
Catching up on Cl...: The Mystery of Edwin Drood 7 38 Mar 11, 2020 05:51AM  
Goodreads Librari...: Please add cover 3 23 Dec 31, 2019 06:19AM  
The Old Curiosity...: The story in illustrations 6 13 Dec 06, 2017 10:45AM  
The Old Curiosity...: MED, Chp. 17 - 20 55 14 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 35 Oct 30, 2017 12:59PM  
Less tolerant of Dickens style as I get older? 1 3 Sep 03, 2017 10:48AM  

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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.


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