The Disappearance of Edwin Drood

Ready for our next Christmas mystery?

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The Disappearance of Edwin Drood by Peter Rowland

Background:

So you might recall me reviewing the classic, unsolved mystery, The Mystery of Edwin Drood by Charles Dickens two years ago. This book is one author’s attempt at trying to finish the unsolved mystery.

In 1870, Charles Dickens wrote the book The Mystery of Edwin Drood which involved the disappearance of a young man Edwin Drood. Before Dickens could finish his work, he succumbed to illness and died. This created an unsolvable mystery that has driven many people crazy.

AAAAHHHHH

  • In 1870, Robert Henry Newell published his version of the story, transporting the tale to America and more a parody than anything else.
  • 1871-1872, John Jasper’s Secret: The Sequel to Charles Dicken’s Mystery of Edwin Drood, was published by Henry Morford.
  • In 1873, Thomas Jane wrote his version of the ending and was praised as the “true version” for a long period of time as many believed him when he said that he had channeled Dickens’ actual spirit in writing.

Very suspicious

  • In 1935, Universal came out with the film Mystery of Edwin Drood, starring Claude Rains as John Jasper and David Manners as Edwin Drood.
  • In 1980, The Mystery of Edwin Drood was published by Leon Garfield. In his book every loose end is wrapped up by his introduction of several new characters.
  • In 1985 the musical Drood, aka The Mystery of Edwin Drood, came out. In this the audience is able to vote on who they think the killer should be. It was revived in 2012.
  • In 1992, Peter Rowland wrote The Disappearance of Edwin Drood, in which years after the incident a very old John Jasper asks Sherlock Holmes and Dr. Watson to solve the case.

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  • In 1993 The D. Case or the Truth About the Mystery of Edwin Drood by Carlo Fruttero and Franco Lucentini was published with the most famous literary detectives attempting to solve the mystery. It features Agatha Christie’s Hercule Poirot, Sir Arthur Conan Doyle’s Sherlock Holmes, G.K. Chesterton’s Father Brown, and more.
  • In 1993, A&E distributed the film The Mystery of Edwin Drood, starring Robert Powell as John Jasper and Jonathan Phillips as Edwin Drood.
  • In 2005, the Doctor Who episode, The Unquiet Dead, has Dickens and the Doctor fighting aliens, causing him to end the novel with the Gelth being the murderer.
  • In 2012, The Mystery of Edwin Drood: Part II, The Solution, by David Saunders was published. He believes that not only is John Jasper a red herring, but that there is another murder that has been overlooked.
  • In 2012, BBC produced a two episode mini-series that took a lot of liberties with the book in it’s portrayal. It made John Jasper secretly Edwin’s brother not uncle, and Ned & Helen the half siblings of both Edwin and John Jasper.

So we can see that lots of people try, but let’s see how Rowland did.

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Thoughts Before Reading:

I picked this book up at a library book sale as it sounded interesting. Charles Dickens meets Sherlock Holmes?

Seriously?

Sherlock Holmes solving an unsolvable mystery?

It sounded perfect, but let’s see how it turned out?

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Synopsis:

This book takes place during The Return of Sherlock Holmes, after “The Adventure of the Empty House.” Sherlock Holmes has been recalled to life after the Reichenbach Falls episode.

So Sherlock Holmes has been sent quite a bit of correspondence from a man who is searching for his missing nephew.  This man is John Jasper, the one from The Mystery of Edwin Drood.

There is one thing that is very important to look at. The Mystery of Edwin Drood came out in 1870, while The Return of Sherlock Holmes, came out in 1905, that is a 35 year difference.

Hmm…

With 35 years this means it is a “cold case” or “murder in retrospect”. But don’t worry, Holmes can handle anything with his masters of observation.

Holmes and Dr. Watson head off to meet John Jasper and hear the case. John relates what happened in the original book. Edwin “Ned” Drood was his nephew who he raised after his father and mother; and later grandparents died. Edwin was engaged to a Rosa Bud, but secretly broke off the engagement.

Hmm…

Two siblings came to live in the area, Neville and his twin sister Helena. Edwin and Neville had gotten into an argument over Rosa. They supposedly patched up over their Christmas dinner, but then Edwin and Neville took off to look at the storm.

That night Ned was never seen again. Many believed that Neville did something to him but there is no proof. Jasper cannot stand  not knowing and asks Holmes to find the body.

Holmes agrees to take the case, but notices something that will make things harder; Jasper has Alzheimer’s.

As Holmes and Watson head off to Cloisterham, only to hear that that Jasper has also disappeared. Now they have to find the missing nephew and uncle.

Holmes and Watson look into Jasper’s old home and find his diary of which he wrote of the incident that Neville and Edwin fought and his fears of what might happen next between them.

They also read about Jasper’s secret love for Rosa and that whole love triangle.

The two are invited to the Deanery for Christmas dinner, where they meet the Crisparkles. After living with the family as a ward, Mr. Crisparkle and Helena fell in love and have been married this past 30 years. Her brother ended up much unhappier. He had to leave the area as he was always seen in suspicion, Rosa refused his advances, and he died alone and unhappy.

How sad

Sherlock Holmes tracks down Mr. Grewgious, Rosa’s lawyer, and found out that Jasper is not in a home, but is residing in an asylum. He escaped to find Holmes, but has been found and put back.

They also find out that Rosa married Lt. Jack Tarter; YES! what I wanted!

Before Holmes can set out to research more on this case he has to solve “The Adventure of the Dancing Men” and “The Adventure of the Solitary Cyclist”.

After those two cases, Holmes and Watson continue their investigation and discover some beautiful paintings by the painter, Edmond Dupont.

It was so obvious here what happened. Edwin took off either faking his death or didn’t realize everyone thought he was dead and changed his name to Edmond Dupont, to become a painter instead of his parent’s dream of engineer.

In the end it turned out that I was correct; Edwin became Edmound and was unaware of what happened with Neville. He later met up with Rosa after the death of her husband, and the two fell in love. I did not like that as I hated Rosa.

Ugh

Jasper had been planning on killing Edwin when he drugged the stonecutter, but Edwin took off before he put the plan into effect. His guilt and drug induced state made him think he killed Edwin and he has been feeling guilty ever since.

The mysterious stranger Datchery that everyone has wondered who he was, turned out to be a friend of the lawyer.

That’s it?

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Thoughts After Reading:

It was okay as it was a fan novel and tried to give you what he thought the fans wanted.

Giving a happy ending, no murder, certain characters together you wished; etc.

I hate it

But it was just okay. Cute, a one time read, but not more than that.

And Rosa and Edwin getting together in the end was a disappointment as I hated Rosa.

For more on Edwin Drood, go to The Unsolvable Mystery: The Mystery of Edwin Drood

For more Sherlock Holmes, go to The Red Headed League

For more altered classics, go to The Dashwood Sisters Tell All: A Modern Day Novel of Jane Austen

For more Christmas mysteries, go to A Farewell To Yarns

For more retrograde mysteries, go to A Duty to the Dead

For more missing persons mysteries, go to Emilie and the Sky World

For more not-in-a-series mysteries, go to The Undoing of Saint Silvanus

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Dust to Dust

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Dust to Dust (Kovac and Liska Mysteries #2) by Tami Hoag

Thoughts Before Reading:

While I enjoyed the character of Kate in Ashes to Ashes, I thought the dynamic of Officer Kovac and Liska was just dynamite. I think Hoag realized this too, and that’s why she switched to making the rest of the series about them.

And while I did enjoy this book, let me warn you it is not for the faint of heart. It can be graphic at times in descriptions and language. Of course I won’t be in my review, but if you decided to read it afterwards, you were warned.

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Internal Affairs Minneapolis Officer Andy Fallon was found dead in his home from hanging himself. One word was left on the mirror, Sorry.

Where is the treasure?!

Was it auto-erotic asphyxia  gone wrong?

Or a suicide, sorry, being the note?

As his father is considered a hero, shot and injured in the line of duty; and most knew that Andy was gay; the department heads decide it is better to qualm any gossip by ending the investigation quickly and moving toward a funeral.

However, this doesn’t sit right with Officer Kovac. Even though it isn’t in his jurisdiction, he decides to start looking into the death for Andy’s father, Mike Fallon. Mike was Kovac’s mentor and he feels he owes it to him to discover the truth.

Liska agrees to their “uninvestigating” and as they begin digging, cracks start to form. They uncover multiple suspects, coming from both the police department and internal affairs.

But the department is not pleased with this investigation as they want this whole case to “go away”. With Captain Ace Wyatt leaving Minneapolis for Hollywood, and Mike having been through so much already; everything would be better if it was just left alone.

But that’s not Kovac and Liska’s style, and as they decide to root out the truth, they discover that Andy was looking into the case of when his father was shot.

WHAT!

Could this two month old death have anything to do with what happened over twenty years ago?

I wonder…

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Thoughts After Reading:

Once again Hoag hits it out of the park. She created an interesting and suspenseful story that keeps you on the edge of your seat to discover whodunit.

So we as a reader know from the beginning that Andy was murdered. While some books it can be annoying or feel too drawn out waiting for the other characters to reach this realization, the way Hoag wrote it just intensified the rest of the book as we all eagerly read to discover which of our potential suspects was the killer.

While I figured out most of the resolution, Hoag still had a few twists I didn’t see coming.

For more Kovac and Liska Mysteries, go to Ashes to Ashes

For more retrograde mysteries, go to A Duty to the Dead

For more suicides as a cover for murder, go to Catering to Nobody

For more mystery reviews, go to Murder and the First Lady

 

Jenna’s Journey

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Jenna’s Journey (A Greek Island Mystery #1), by Julie Ryan

Jenna is a middle-aged woman who has just realized that after all her years of marriage she and her husband the two want very different things, that she hates her job, and that she wants to live her dreams.

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She decides to flee from foggy England, to sunny Greece, taking the ultimate vacation.

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As she enjoys her vacation tour, she is accidentally mistaken as a mule for an antiquity smuggling ring, and finds herself at the top of the ruthless leader’s hit list.

Uh-oh

Uh-oh

As Jenna unknowingly walks down a path of danger she becomes the object of two men’s attention: the handsome, Greek, Nikos and the attractive, British Tom. While both men seem nice and interesting, Jenna is not sure whom she can trust; is Nikos really as nice as he seems or just looking for another tourist to add to his accomplishments? Tom seems to have picked Jenna out from the beginning of the tour, but while seeming like a great guy there is definitely something he is hiding. But what? Is anything in Greece really as it seems?

Very fishy

Twenty years later, Jenna’s daughter Allie visits Greece to put to rest the ghosts of her mother’s past, but is she prepared for what she will find out?

Interesting

Pair that with a cold case crime, and a detective that is intent of solving the murder.

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Thoughts After Reading:

Unfortunately, this book was not quite all it promised to be.

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While it does involve a mystery and international smuggling scheme, that is actually a rather small plot point in the scheme of the novel. The smuggling is brought in, and deeply captures the reader’s attention as they wonder about what will happen next; but it is quickly stalled, forgotten, and sewn up with a bow in the end.

Come on, Mack

Come on.

What the novel really turns out to be is a story of a women going to a foreign place, finding a foreign lover, and learning “about herself and what she what she wants to do with her life”, ending up with said lover and living in that foreign country. Now that type of story isn’t bad, but I was sorely disappointed as from the summary I expected something quite different.

It's not what was promised.

It’s not what was promised.

The character of Jenna was interesting and enjoyable as I thought the author presented a realistic character in a woman disappointed with life and making a change, yet still doubting herself and leaving the familiar. I also thought the way the she fought with herself over whether to leave her husband or return to work things out was also done well.

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Jenna has serious problems with her husband, and his emotional abuse, but at the same time still remembers the good they had together and wonders if she may be reacting too quickly.

Interesting

The only thing that I could not stand was the way the author wrote the Jenna and Nikos’ romance. In the book, Tom is a sweet, nice, handsome guy from England with a great job in antiquities. It seems as if he isn’t being one hundred percent honest about his job, but maybe he is just trying to sound more interesting.

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However, Jenna finds him so questionable and wants to avoid him as he is “too interested” in her, meaning there must be something wrong with him. But the equally enigmatic Nikos is viewed “more honest” by Jenna and the man she decides to go away with.

Come on, Mack

Author if you want your heroine with the sexy, Greek guy; just be honest and say that is why. Don’t try and convince your reader it is about his “personality” or something, when we can see right through that, you want the “exciting” one.

seriously

The Allie part of the story doesn’t have that much of an impact on the novel, being more of a footnote than anything else.

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The same goes for the detective, who is given a great build up of character, but the author lacked in the follow through, having hardly doing any detecting but having the answer just given to him.

horrible

I didn’t really enjoy this story and would give it two out of five stars.

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For more book reviews, go to Where Are You Now?

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In other news, this is my 100th post! Yay!

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