Sunday, October 4, 2009
Boston, 1870. When news of Charles Dickens sudden death reaches his struggling American publisher, James Osgood sends his trusted clerk, Daniel Sand, to await the arrival of Dickens’s unfinished final manuscript. But Daniel never returns, and when his body is discovered by the docks, Osgood must embark on a quest to find the missing end to the novel and unmask the killer. With Daniel’s sister Rebecca at his side, Osgood races the clock through a dangerous web of opium dens, sadistic thugs, and literary lions to solve a genius’s last mystery and save his own-and Rebecca’s- lives.
I was really interested to read this book for several reasons. First, I have always wanted to read Dickens, but have felt intimidated by the size of his works. Secondly, I never realized that he died before finishing The Mystery of Edwin Drood and that there was all of this interest in how the story would end or if missing chapters were somehow hidden. And thirdly, because I love a good mystery centered in and around anything English. This book did not disappoint me on any levels. At first the reading was very tedious and slow going, but once I started to get the characters all figured out and had a feeling where the story was headed, my reading pace picked up. I thought Pearl did a fantastic job of weaving real characters with fictional ones. I loved reading about the cutthroat ways of the publishing houses in America during this time. Makes reading seem a little bit dangerous!! The only distraction for me were the chapters that had to deal with Frank Dickens. I honestly thought that they could have disappeared altogether and wouldn't have been missed. But remember, this is just my opinion. Overall, this was a well-written mystery that had its share of twists and turns and in the end I was satisfied.
A big thank you to TLC for having me host this book today and to Matthew Pearl for his writing skills!!!