- Buy this product and stream 90 days of Amazon Music Unlimited for free. E-mail after purchase. Conditions apply. Learn more
The Mystery of Edwin Drood (Completed by David Madden) Paperback – 1 Oct 2011
- Choose from over 13,000 locations across the UK
- Prime members get unlimited deliveries at no additional cost
- Find your preferred location and add it to your address book
- Dispatch to this address when you check out
Special offers and product promotions
Customers who viewed this item also viewed
Customers who bought this item also bought
Enter your mobile number or email address below and we'll send you a link to download the free Kindle App. Then you can start reading Kindle books on your smartphone, tablet, or computer - no Kindle device required.
To get the free app, enter your mobile phone number.
Customers also shopped for
There was a problem filtering reviews right now. Please try again later.
On the plus side, Madden opts for the wholly convincing premise that Jasper killed Drood, and devotes the second half to the "nailing" of the murder and murderer. He clearly knows the Dickens original backwards, and everything he writes is grounded in this grasp of detail. He is an erudite writer, and can make allusions to Shakespeare and the Bible just as naturally as Dickens can. He is an elegant stylist and his parodies of Dickens are often amusing, if without quite the ebullience of the original.
But he is not a (great) novelist. There are very few surprises in the second half, and the happy ending is interminable. The plot device where Helena and Neville overhear the truth and then head to Cloisterham separately to confront Jasper is almost farcical. And the killing off of Jasper so long before the end is a major error that Dickens would never have perpetrated - it would have been the end of the magazine subscriptions.
Dickens entered (for him) uncharted waters with this work - who knows what he would have done with it if he had lived? The later development might even have been a sad failure, as the detective episodes in Bleak House are. For me, the recent BBC adaptation which, being conceived for a very different medium, was able to cut loose in a way that Madden does not permit himself pointed the way forward as to what to "do" about this magnificent torso of a novel.
The characters are recognisably `Dickensian' (for want of a better word), with their comic names: Crisparkle - the perky, sporty minor canon; Honeythunder, the pompous philanthropist; Grewgious, the rather crusty lawyer; the Landless twins, orphans adrift from their land of origin - you get the picture. I think readers of Dickens buy into this kind of naming system, or don't. I'm comfortable with it, as I tend to like relatively outlandish names in novels. As ever, Dickens takes his time in setting up the various characters' relationship to the story, and does it very well, in my opinion. There is a great deal of comedy among the general darkness of the tale, with Mr Grewgious and, later, London landlady Mrs Billickin often getting the best lines. A reader doesn't have to accept these comic interludes as true representations of `London characters', just as great comedy. Portrayals of `types' in Dickens is usually a focus for critics, and this book will be no exception for those who like to do that. Yes, Rosebud can seem a bit of a twee representation of blushing womanhood - though she is spirited in her response to Edwin as their relationship develops - as is her teacher Miss Twinkleton, but at least Helena Landless weighs in from the Girl With The Dragon Tattoo corner to show herself as well able to handle herself in the situation that has been forced onto her, and those around her.
Stylistically, first of all, I found David Madden's completion of the book to be seamless; no ungainly modernisms creep into his narrative, and he keeps the characters on course at all times. He continues any characterisations that beg for it - such as those in the running jokes centring on Grewgious and Mrs Billickin - and plausibly develops the others; Crisparkle, Jasper, Grewgious, Tartar, Durdles, Deputy, the ludicrous Messrs Honeythunder and Sapsea, all perform their parts in the story just as Dickens, I believe, would have wanted them to.
The story is completed skilfully and expertly - I haven't chased up any alternative endings, so don't know how it compares to other writers' completions. My one criticism is that the end section (once the matter of Edwin's disappearance has been cleared up and solved) is a little long, but it is relieved by some great comic moments and by the beautiful, understated prose style.
I'd recommend this version to anybody who is a fan of Dickens, and would be surprised if they were disappointed in it.
Several people have taken up the challenge of completing this book including David Madden. Apart from scant testimony from close friends and family, the only clues left as to how Dickens wanted to finish his story are contained in the half-written novel.
In the first few chapters the reader is introduced to a number of characters including Edwin Drood and his uncle, John Jasper. Jasper who is an opium addict is madly in love with Drood's betrothed, Rosa Bud. Then one night during a bad storm Drood disappears, never to be seen again. What exactly has happened to him? Well, that's for you to find out.
David Madden has done a really good job of completing this book. He has kept pretty much to the same style as Dickens. I thought he packed a lot into the second half and there were a number of surprises. I knew what was bound to happen but didn't quite expect the end result, although you can look at it in two different ways.
I really enjoyed reading 'The Mystery of Edwin Drood' although I did personally find it a bit hard going at first, but I was determined to carry on with it and I'm really pleased that I did. This is definitely a book to savour.