Paging Jessica Fletcher! Edwin Drood needs you!
I am about two thirds of the way through ‘The Mystery Of Edwin Drood’ and it’s beginning to annoy me that Dickens just up and died before the end, so there will be no resolution. There are great sites and investigations, continuation books and theories, but really, what is needed is a visit Jessica Fletcher. And to be honest, some kind of detective throughout the book would have been nice, simply because I like the feeling of safety and ensured justice that having Jessica, Poirot, Marple, etc, on the case, gives me throughout a book/wonderful TV show.
The most notable continuation story was apparently written by Charlie D himself, when he channelled an American called Thomas James, who was a printer (rather conveniently, as opposed to Charles channelling a midwife/bus driver/show jumper) and an ending was self-published. Sir Arthur Conan Doyle read it and said it was great, and very likely to genuinely be the work of Dickens’ ghost, but then Doyle was also publicly fooled by two Yorkshire girls with paper fairies. It’s a good job Doyle isn’t about now, Photoshop and clickbait ads claiming to make him look 30 years younger would be constantly distracting him. However, I do wish the Cottingley Fairies had been real. Proof of fairies would make me happy everyday, for the rest of my life. Thomas James’ book was generally disregarded, though, one of the many reasons being it was heavy on Americanisms, that Chuck would have not used.
While most theories point to John Jasper, will never be 100% sure. Earlier drafts show Dickens changed the end of ‘Great Expectations’ for sad to happy very late in the process, so he could have gone anywhere with Drood. Here we see Jasper post-seizure (possibly brought on by guilt) while Mr Grewgious decides to warm his hands before attempting the recovery position.
And finally, although I know I will get to the end unsatisfied, I am still enjoying this books, as I suspected almost immediately and the internet then confirmed that ‘Cloisterham’, the fictional location, is based on Rochester, somewhere I used to live. This has given me some very clear pictures of the locations, but with hairdressers and estate agents removed. Although talk of searching and dredging the river alarmed me, as it was a shabby old house boat I lived on, and the Medway is tidal, wide and muddy, and the thought of searching for evidence there very daunting. I hope they had good wellies.