by Douglas Grudzina
Charles Dickens, arguably the best-known author in the English language, died on June 9, 1870. The evening before, mere hours before he collapsed with a stroke, he completed the sixth installment of what was to be a twelve-installment novel, The Mystery of Edwin Drood. He left no notes, no outline, no preliminary drafts of the remaining six installments. He confided his plans regarding how he intended to end his mystery to no one.
He did offer to reveal the ending to Queen
The first five installments had already been published; the sixth would be in print soon; and readers on both sides of the
No one knew, and literary pirates and plagiarists were more than willing to provide answers and realize hefty profits from “the Chief’s” death.
This is the background against which Matthew Pearl’s third novel, The Last Dickens, is set. Trying to save his business and solve the brutal murder of one of his employees, Dickens’s American publisher travels to
The Last Dickens comes out in hard cover on Tuesday, March 17. It’s a great read, and I’d recommend it to my students for a number of reasons. First of all, there’s a hard-to-put-it-down story of murder, theft, and intrigue; and characters so vividly drawn that sometimes you want to hug them, and sometimes you want to slap them. Then there’s the rich view of the nineteenth-century world that
To accompany the planned 2010 release of the paperback edition of The Last Dickens,
Matthew Pearl’s first novel, The Dante Club, is available from our catalogue and on our web site, as is his edition of the Henry Wadsworth Longfellow translation of The Inferno by Dante Alighieri, which lies at the heart of that blood-chilling serial-murder mystery.
And again, The Last Dickens will be available Tuesday, March 17th. It's well worth your taking a look at.