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The Mystery of Edwin Drood (Hardback)

Charles Dickens' Unfinished Novel and Our Endless Attempts to End It

P&S History > British History > Victorian History P&S History > Literary Figures P&S History > Social History

By Pete Orford
Imprint: Pen & Sword History
Pages: 203
Illustrations: 32
ISBN: 9781526724366
Published: 3rd July 2018



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When Dickens died on 9 June 1870, he was halfway through writing his last book, The Mystery of Edwin Drood. Since that time, hundreds of academics, fans, authors, and playwrights have stepped forward to present their own ideas of how this unfinished book should end.

Step into a century and half of Dickensian speculation, detection and bickering to see how our attitudes both to Dickens and his last work have developed. From early responses by his contemporaries that tried to cash in on an opportunity to finish Dickens’ book, through to the dogged attempts of the detectives in the early twentieth century to prove Drood to be the greatest mystery of all time, on to the earnest academics of the mid-century who aimed to reinvent Dickens as a modernist writer, and ending in the glorious irreverence of modern continuations, the history of Drood is a tale of just how far people will go in their quest to find an ending worthy of Dickens.

Whether you are a life-time Drood fan, or new to the whole controversy, this book will guide you through the tangled web of theories and counter-theories surrounding this enduring literary enigma. From novels to websites, musicals to public trials, academic tomes to erotic fiction, the one thing that can be said with certainty is that there is no end to the endless inventiveness with which we redefine Dickens’ final story in our quest to solve a 150-year old mystery.

As featured in

History Revealed

As featured in

Dickens Quarterly

As always, Pen & Sword have done a fine job with the illustrations, particularly the highly original work of Alys Jones.

A fine book for anyone with an interest in Dickens in general and Drood in particular.

Read the full review here

Hellbound, Steve Earles

Who killed Edwin Drood?
Pete Orford on the trial of John Jasper, ruined by prominent literary types

Read full article from the author here

The Times Literary Supplement

Article: Book questions how Charles Dickens' unfinished novel 'The Mystery of Edwin Drood' would have ended as featured by

Medway Messenger (online) – words by Sean McPolin

In this book, Pete Orford guides you expertly through very nearly 150 years of labyrinthine theorising and speculation and bickering and detecting - and, ultimately, fun. Whether it’s discovering the identity of Jack the Ripper or the murderer of Edwin Drood, thinking is good for the brain, even when you know the solution never will be forthcoming!

Ripperologist, June/July 2018 – reviewed by Paul Begg

As featured 'Behind the curtain'

The Oxford Times, 9th August 2018

As featured in

The Bookseller, 6th April 2018

About Pete Orford

Pete Orford is a lecturer in English, and Course Director of the MA in Charles Dickens Studies run by the University of Buckingham in partnership with the Charles Dickens Museum in London. He has written several articles on Drood in addition to numerous conference papers, public talks and a special exhibition at the Charles Dickens Museum. On top of all this he runs The Drood Inquiry (www.droodinquiry.com), an interactive exploration of Drood and the numerous possibilities for its end that asks the public to vote for their preferred conclusion.

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