I really enjoy Dickens' later works when they became darker and he came under the influence of mystery writers (like Wilkie Collins). This had the potential to be (in my mind) one of Dickens' best if not the best novels. It is very dark and brooding from the get-go and the mysterious death of Edwin Drood is not long in coming and with a host of characters who could be legitimate suspects. It's hard to find the motivation to pick up a book when you know it ends in the middle of things with nothing resolved. For a long time I asked myself, 'why bother?' Eventually I did pick it up after I'd made my way through Dickens but craved more...even if it meant an unfinished work. If you liked Bleak House and Our Mutual Friend you'll like this. If you're more into the humorous or picaersque early Dickens (Pickwick Papers, Martin Chuzzlewit, Old Curiosity Shop) you might not get into this. Read it for Dickens more than for the story. Or maybe you'd like to join the still vigorous debate over theories over who dunnit.
Certainly not one of Dickens's best, but you have to wonder what he would have done with it had he lived. I read the edition completed by Leon Garfield, which provides a completely predictable, but at least stylistically consistent, ending. This completion is in accord with G.K. Chesterton's comment that there really isn't that much mystery about Edwin Drood.
I tried very hard to like this & to finish it. Alas, I did not.
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