The Back of the Book: Boston, 1870. News of Charles Dickens’ death reaches his American publisher.
James R Osgood had been expecting the arrival of the latest instalment of The Mystery of Edwin Drood, now Dickens’ last work, to arrive shortly. Suspicious of ruthless, thieving New York publishers, Osgood sends his trusted young cleark, Daniel Sand, to meet the shipment.
When Daniel’s body is found by the docks, the true cause of his death unknown and the manuscript nowhere to be found, Osgood must embark on a transatlantic quest to unearth the rest of Dickens’ mystery and solve another of his won. Danger and intrigue abound as Osgood is assisted by Rebecca Sand, Daniel’s sister and bookkeeper to the company, who wants to help clear her brother’s name.
Arriving in Britain, Osgood and Rebecca visit Dickens’ home in Kent, where his possessions are about to be auctioned off; they plunge into the world of London theatres, the seedy, dangerous streets of the East End and its opium dens, and the tight circle of family and admirers around the world’s most famous author.
Very soon they find themselves pursued by assailants and entangled in a sinister game in which the plot of Dickens’ fascinating final mystery and a real life collide. Understanding Dickens’ lost ending becomes a matter of life and death, and the hidden key to stopping a murderous mastermind.
The Last Dickens is an intricate, fast-paced and stylish literary thriller.
NotJustLaura’s Review: This book failed to get my attention and I gave up about 25 pages in. I found it dark and pedantic and didn’t feel any sympathy for the characters I met. I’m a bit disappointed as it was highly recommended on the Books on the Nightstand podcast but, hey, you can’t win ’em all!