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Charles Dickens's final, unfinished novel is in many ways his most interesting. A highly atmospheric murder mystery, it foreshadows both the detective stories of Conan Doyle and the nightmarish novels of Kafka.
Set in the apparently innocuous town of Cloisterham, the story rapidly darkens with a sense of impending evil. As in all of Dickens's greatest books, the gulf between appearance and reality drives the action.
Central to the plot is John Jasper, who in public is a man of integrity and benevolence, while in private he is an addict who frequents opium dens. While seeming to smile on the engagement of his nephew, Edwin Drood, he is so consumed by jealousy that he terrifies the boy's fiancee and plots to murder him. Despite being one of its author's darkest books, Edwin Drood bustles with the sort of memorable minor characters who populate all his stories: Billikins, the landlady; the foolish Mr. Sapsea; the domineering philanthropist, Mr. Honeythunder; and the mysterious Datchery.
Several attempts have been made to complete the book and solve the puzzle, but even in its unfinished state it remains a gripping and haunting masterpiece.