Top critical review
It gets there - Eventually
on 25 March 2015
For me, this is not among the best of Dickens' works, but overall still a good read. The typical strands within the overall tale turn this into a Victorian version of a soap opera; all are linked in a chain of course, but not all of the strands are vital to what most would take to be the basic premise (this is very hard to identify if its possible at all). There is also the problem of the first 20% or so of the book, being punctuated by a strange summary style of delivery. It is also hard to sum up as so much goes on, and features so many characters - some central, some almost central and a fair few make-weights. But let us try. . .
A body is dragged up from the river, there then follows investigations and inquiries with regards to identification and cause of death. At the same time we are introduced to the usual Dickensian crew: the almost nightly gathering of rich idle loafers and their haughty ladies, and of course, a fair smattering of the poor and destitute, with some folks what we would now call middle class pretending to be richer than they are - or at all. Although their parts in the tale play out separately, ie, mostly within their own sphere, the classic Dickensian trait of all strands at least connecting if not fully coming together, slowly, slowly takes place as the story (at times, painfully) progresses. At the same time, each character or group of same, develop their own stories, not linked to the one thing which does bind them, albeit tenuously in many cases.
I have still given this a fair to good rating though - three stars. This is because if one can persevere the unfortunately at times mind-numbing opening chapters, a great read really does develop, after of course accepting that not all said strands run anywhere near parallel for the bulk of the tale.