Customer Reviews for

The Last Dickens

Average Rating 3.5
( 97 )
Rating Distribution

5 Star

(17)

4 Star

(36)

3 Star

(27)

2 Star

(8)

1 Star

(9)

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Most Helpful Favorable Review

3 out of 5 people found this review helpful.

A good read!

This book is everything I have come to expect from Matthew Pearl. Publishers Weekly was way off base saying that it "fell short" of the standards set by Simmon's "Drood." I could barely get through "Drood" and wished I hadn't tried when I finished it.....this book I c...
This book is everything I have come to expect from Matthew Pearl. Publishers Weekly was way off base saying that it "fell short" of the standards set by Simmon's "Drood." I could barely get through "Drood" and wished I hadn't tried when I finished it.....this book I can't turn the pages fast enough. It is filled with good solid characters and a story that does not drag on in the least bit. Very suspenseful and entertaining.

posted by 2manybooks2littletime on March 20, 2009

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Most Helpful Critical Review

5 out of 5 people found this review helpful.

The plot is quite good, but it was extremely poorly delivered.

On June 8, 1880, Charles Dickens suddenly dies. When the news reaches Boston, his American Publisher, Boston's Fields and Osgood & Co., is placed in jeopardy. Through them, Dickens had published six installments of his latest novel: The Mystery of Edwin Drood. With ...
On June 8, 1880, Charles Dickens suddenly dies. When the news reaches Boston, his American Publisher, Boston's Fields and Osgood & Co., is placed in jeopardy. Through them, Dickens had published six installments of his latest novel: The Mystery of Edwin Drood. With the novel unfinished, the struggling Boston publishing company is in jeopardy of being taken over by the New York Publisher Harper and Brother.

Mr. James Ripley Osgood, and Miss Rebecca Sands are sent to England to look for clues to see if they can find any leads as to how Dickens was planning to finish the novel. Miss Sand's brother, Daniel, was killed as he was sent to the harbor to receive the last installment of the novel.

Danger and intrigue abound throughout the journey. As they attempt to uncover real life mysteries hidden by the unfinished novel, Osgood and Rebecca find themselves fighting a dangerous web of publishing houses thugs, drug dealers (opium was legal in those days). They soon realize that solving the puzzle is a matter of life and death, and the key to stopping a murderous mastermind.

This is in essence the plot. However, after a brilliant debut with The Dante Club, Mr. Pearl's first novel, he has followed with two disasters. The Poe Shadow, and now The Last Dickens.

The problem with Dickens is first of all that Mr, Pearl has chosen a universal point of view to tell us his story. Few writers can get away with that, and Mr. Pearl is not one of them. Within chapters you get lost trying to figure out who's talking.

The second problem with the book, and related to the first is the incredible number of characters. At one point i had to stop and start writing who was who. Not only that, but in the middle of a chapter Mr. Pearl decides to update us on something that happened way back. There are changes of scene (from India, to America to England) and flashbacks that come and go and create such a tangle that he had lost me by the second "installment".

Finally, the tedious detail and research are quite boring. By the last installment when we FINALLY untangle and discover the truth--i felt like: who cares.

This could have been a great novel if Mr. Pearl had chosen a better editor. The plot is quite good, but it was extremely poorly delivered.

posted by carlosmock on March 25, 2009

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  • Posted March 25, 2009

    more from this reviewer

    The plot is quite good, but it was extremely poorly delivered.

    On June 8, 1880, Charles Dickens suddenly dies. When the news reaches Boston, his American Publisher, Boston's Fields and Osgood & Co., is placed in jeopardy. Through them, Dickens had published six installments of his latest novel: The Mystery of Edwin Drood. With the novel unfinished, the struggling Boston publishing company is in jeopardy of being taken over by the New York Publisher Harper and Brother.

    Mr. James Ripley Osgood, and Miss Rebecca Sands are sent to England to look for clues to see if they can find any leads as to how Dickens was planning to finish the novel. Miss Sand's brother, Daniel, was killed as he was sent to the harbor to receive the last installment of the novel.

    Danger and intrigue abound throughout the journey. As they attempt to uncover real life mysteries hidden by the unfinished novel, Osgood and Rebecca find themselves fighting a dangerous web of publishing houses thugs, drug dealers (opium was legal in those days). They soon realize that solving the puzzle is a matter of life and death, and the key to stopping a murderous mastermind.

    This is in essence the plot. However, after a brilliant debut with The Dante Club, Mr. Pearl's first novel, he has followed with two disasters. The Poe Shadow, and now The Last Dickens.

    The problem with Dickens is first of all that Mr, Pearl has chosen a universal point of view to tell us his story. Few writers can get away with that, and Mr. Pearl is not one of them. Within chapters you get lost trying to figure out who's talking.

    The second problem with the book, and related to the first is the incredible number of characters. At one point i had to stop and start writing who was who. Not only that, but in the middle of a chapter Mr. Pearl decides to update us on something that happened way back. There are changes of scene (from India, to America to England) and flashbacks that come and go and create such a tangle that he had lost me by the second "installment".

    Finally, the tedious detail and research are quite boring. By the last installment when we FINALLY untangle and discover the truth--i felt like: who cares.

    This could have been a great novel if Mr. Pearl had chosen a better editor. The plot is quite good, but it was extremely poorly delivered.

    5 out of 5 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted January 16, 2011

    Poor; don't waste your money

    Poorly written; boring characters

    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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